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10 Effective Ways to Appreciate Employees in 2024

By May 1, 2024 May 5th, 2024

Have you ever been blindsided by a resignation letter from a newly hired employee, barely six months into their role?

It’s a surprisingly common issue and one that can significantly disrupt your business, increase turnover rates and repeatedly drag you back into the recruitment cycle.

Consider this: How well did they integrate into your company culture?

Did you notice any signs of disengagement once their initial 30, 60, or 90 days of onboarding concluded?

It turns out, consistently making your team feel valued is the secret to retaining them longer.
A recent study found that companies with dedicated appreciation programs have 31% lower turnovers. Share on X

This shows a clear correlation. Therefore, it’s crucial to foster a culture where appreciation is a daily practice. This goes beyond the onboarding phase and involves more than just a simple ‘Thank you’.

But no worries—you won’t have to do all the legwork. We’ve compiled the most successful ways to appreciate employees (both creative and unconventional) to show they genuinely matter.

So, let’s get started!

 

1. Recognition Programs

“Building a Culture of Appreciation”

Recognition shouldn’t be an afterthought; it must be ingrained in your company’s operations. Formal recognition programs send a powerful message: We notice your contributions and value what you bring to the team! 

a. Implementing a Peer-to-Peer Recognition System

BonuslyGiving employees the power to recognize each other fosters community and builds stronger connections between coworkers. This doesn’t have to be complex—even simple shout-outs or virtual high-fives can significantly impact, especially when celebrating those everyday wins! Because at the end of the day, when recognition comes from peers, it can feel more authentic and meaningful.

Pro-Tip: Tools like Bonusly streamline peer-to-peer recognition, allowing employees to send points or awards with personalized messages celebrating colleagues.

Ordermark reports that 85% of its employees receive recognition monthly from their peers through Bonusly!

 

b. Annual Awards for Various Categories of Achievements and Contributions

Stadium

Those big project wins and work anniversaries – deserve more than a generic email! Annual awards are a significant way to show employees appreciation for their good work. They give everyone something to aspire to, show your team that their challenging work matters, and let them know you’re invested in celebrating their successes.

Pro-Tip: Stadium streamlines awards, making it easy to create recognition moments that resonate. Customize rewards, automate the anniversary process, and even compile those heartfelt team tributes into personalized MemoryBooks.

 

c. Creating a Wall of Fame for Notable Accomplishments

Value-Victor

Remember those generic employee of the month certificates?

Perhaps not, because only some people read them, mainly if the same template has been used since 2019.

A Wall of Fame is where your team’s legendary moments get their spotlight: imagine snapshots of that epic project launch party or the hilarious team meme that went viral. This is about building a shared story where everyone can see their contributions, the wins, and the laughter that makes your culture one-of-a-kind.


2. Feedback and Growth Opportunities

“Show You’re Listening”

Even though your employees love delicious snacks (and who doesn’t?), feeling heard and valued is powerful. Create a culture where feedback flows both ways, offering creative ways to show employee appreciation – that’s how you show you’re serious about making their work experience rock while they still enjoy tasty snacks.

a. Regular One-on-One Check-ins Focused on Career Aspirations

Do you recall that time when your manager asked about your dream project?

That spark of recognition can be a significant motivation! For instance, regular one-on-ones focused on aspirations go beyond task updates, showing you’re invested in helping your employees build a career they love. At the same time, you fuel their drive and let them know you’re in their corner, ready to support their growth.

 

b. Acting on Feedback Received in Surveys and Discussions

Asking for feedback is only the starting point, as real change happens when you take action! Share updates on changes sparked by employee input, or explain the “why” behind decisions. This proves listening is tangible – it creates a culture where employees feel their voices shape their workplace.

Pro-Tip: Platforms like Leapsome transform feedback from a once-a-year survey into a continuous conversation. Their instant feedback, public praise, and analytics tools help you gather actionable insights and visibly respond to employee needs – turning feedback into a powerful driver of positive change.

With Leapsome, we’ve seen amazing improvements. The initiatives we identified from the survey results decreased our turnover by 12.2%, increased our survey participation rate to 82%, and made people more productive and excited to come to the office.” Natasa Kovacevic, People and Culture Manager.

 

c. Encouraging Participation in Decision-Making Processes

Want a team full of problem-solvers? Get their input on decisions like new tools or project direction.

This approach will empower them instead of just telling them what to do. When employees feel they have a say in decisions that affect them, it increases engagement and ownership, as studies prove they are 23 times more likely to strongly agree that they would recommend their organization as a great place.

Besides, you might be surprised by the fresh perspectives and innovative ideas they bring!


3. Team Building Activities

“Strengthening Bonds”

When you read “Team Building Activities,” what comes to mind? Weekly water coolers with that recurring theme?

Perhaps the first thing is how Allan from Marketing shared how he fell in love with his profession, which ignited everyone else to share their story. Its true purpose is shared experiences, genuine laughter, and camaraderie that make tackling challenges more fun. Inside jokes implicitly inspire collaboration and create conditions where everyone feels part of the team.

Let’s not forget that we spend roughly one-third of our life working, so make it worthwhile.

a. Organizing Retreats with Team-building Exercises

Best-Corporate-Scavenger-Hunt-Companies-For-Team-Building

Retreats offer a chance to recharge through trust and connection long after everyone’s back at their desks (also countries!).

Whether it’s a beachside problem-solving session, a mountain hike that sparks cooperation, or a culinary competition to unleash creativity, these experiences are game-changers to show employee appreciation. Even in a remote setting for those who can’t travel, like joining the fun with virtual escape rooms, online mixology classes, and other activities that prove team-building knows no boundaries!

 

b. Hosting Themed Virtual Hangouts for Remote Teams

sourced-cocktails-virtual-happy-hour

We are all familiar with that 4 o’clock Friday Happy Hour where only the same three people join because, of course, many are wrapping up their weekly tasks or are not even aware of what’s new with the Happy Hour.

Let’s face it: Zoom meetings don’t exactly scream “fun,” mainly if they haven’t changed in a while.

So, spice up those virtual hangouts with themes! From costume contests and trivia nights to online cooking competitions, these informal get-togethers help remote teams connect personally and inject some laughter into the work-from-home routine.

 

c. Planning Local Day Trips or Experiences

outdoor-team-building-activities

Embrace the change of seasons and step outside the office! From summer picnics and outdoor adventures to cozy winter markets and creative workshops, local day trips offer year-round opportunities for connection and team building.

These shared experiences create lasting memories, foster rapport, and let everyone shine in new ways. Plus, remote teams can occasionally benefit from in-person meetups in nearby locations, strengthening bonds beyond the screen.


4. Celebrating Personal Milestones

“Beyond the Workplace”

Imagine the whole office throwing Andrea a baby shower party! Celebrating milestones, from birthdays and weddings to first home purchases, is a fantastic way to show appreciation to employees and acknowledge that their lives outside work matter. This translates to a happier, more engaged workforce, creative ideas, and vital collaboration.

a. Surprise Celebrations for Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Significant Life Events

Goody-Card-Message

How about a surprise lunch featuring their favorite takeout, an office-wide round of applause for their marathon finish, or a custom-designed card celebrating a work anniversary?

These thoughtful gestures show your investment in recognizing their unique achievements and honoring them as individuals and are a decisive way to show appreciation to employees.

Pro Tip: Celebrate every milestone with ease! With the help of Goody, you can plan customizable rewards (gift cards to their favorite spots, donation options for their chosen cause, or even extra PTO!) without breaking a sweat.

 

b. Personalized Gifts Catering to the Employee’s Hobbies or Interests

Stadium-Swag-Store

Let’s SEE people first: Sarah, the graphic designer, getting excited about those new art supplies, or Michael, the sales rep, eager to use his gift certificate for a weekend fishing trip.

Those aren’t random gift cards but a very intentional way of saying, “I see you as an individual and support your passions.” This fosters a happy workplace where everyone feels seen and appreciated.

Pro Tip: Stadium is one of the best platforms to support you in this personalized gifting journey, whether supporting Sarah’s love of crafting with a curated art kit or fueling Michael’s outdoor adventures.

“Love being able to try new things that you will not find at your local grocery store and tons of other cool product ranging from electronics to outdoors equipment. Very user friendly and amazing customer support.” – Glen M, RightWorks Tech Support Specialist, has taken full advantage of the platform with excellent results.

 

c. Company-wide Acknowledgment of Personal Achievements

Going beyond the cubicle walls to acknowledge personal wins is more than a feel-good gesture. By publicly recognizing those achievements, you showcase your team’s dedication and diverse talents.

This encourages shared pride, inspires others to excel, and strengthens the bond between employees and the company. It’s a win-win that builds a motivated and high-performing team.


5. Professional Development

“Invest in Their Growth”

Employees with set career goals engage with learning 4x more than those who don’t set goals. In 2024, companies supporting employee learning and AI skills growth are more likely to experience business innovation and development, creating a positive feedback loop.

Investing in your team’s growth shows appreciation, empowers employees, builds a skilled workforce, and cultivates a supportive culture for unlocking full potential.

a. Sponsorship for Courses or Workshops

Host an Inclusion Workshop

Fund those skills upgrades! Sponsoring relevant courses or workshops gives your employees the power to master in-demand skills, gain industry-recognized certifications, and step confidently into new roles. This translates to increased innovation, better problem-solving, and a team ready to tackle future challenges.

 

b. Providing Books and Resources for Skill Enhancement

Professional Development Courses

Knowledge is power! Curating a library of industry-leading books, articles, and online resources gives your team the tools for continuous learning. This enables a culture of self-improvement, allows employees to explore their interests, and keeps them at the forefront of their field.

 

c. Setting up Mentorship Opportunities with Industry Leaders

Unlock their potential with mentorship! Connecting your employees with experienced mentors fosters valuable knowledge transfer, provides career guidance, and inspires them to reach new heights. This leads to greater confidence, expanded networks, and accelerated career progression.


6. Flexible Work Options

“Valuing Their Time”

A typical scenario for a team member needing flexible work options is having young children. Offering flexibility empowers them to balance morning school drop-offs with hitting their deadlines. This trust and support enhances well-being, productivity, and overall job satisfaction while building loyalty and attracting new talent.

a. Offering Remote Work Days or Flexible Schedules

Remote workerEntrust your team with the flexibility they need, whether remote workdays, compressed hours, or adjustable start/end times. These options allow employees to manage their responsibilities better, reducing stress. They facilitate autonomy and trust while still achieving business goals.

 

b. Implementing a 4-day Workweek Trial

The four-day week has gained much traction in recent years, and by experimenting with it, your company is not only demonstrating its commitment to employee well-being but leveraging the benefits such a model has: increased productivity, improved focus, and increased employee satisfaction. This forward-thinking approach can attract top talent seeking innovative work environments.

 

c. Encouraging Mental Health Days

Recognizing the need to recharge and reset reduces burnout, increases focus, and creates a culture where employees feel sustained in all aspects of their lives, transforming your team into a healthy and resilient team.


7. Wellness Initiatives

“Caring for Their Well-Being”

Invest in your team’s well-being, inside and out! Supporting mental and physical health initiatives reduces stress, boosts energy levels, and creates a happier, more productive workplace, which demonstrates you care about their overall well-being — not merely their output.

a. Subscriptions to Wellness Apps or Gym Memberships

Early Morning Gym SessionOffering subsidized subscriptions to meditation/mindfulness apps, fitness platforms, or gym memberships promotes healthy habits, relieves stress, and shows you care about their wellness journeys. This empowers employees to prioritize both physical and mental health.

 

b. Wellness Challenges with Rewards

Motivate your team to prioritize well-being with celebratory shout-outs for healthy habits and recognition for achieving wellness milestones. This is a terrific way to show employee appreciation virtually, especially for remote workers. It also cultivates a positive environment where employees feel supported and uplifted in their well-being journeys.

Pro-Tip: Companies like Motivosity make recognizing behaviors easy, celebrating individual milestones, and offering rewards that support employee well-being and align with your program’s goals.

“Motivosity has been a phenomenal tool for my teams…It has been a valuable way to increase engagement, build relationships, and provide a fun perk for doing excellent work.”  – Melissa, WGU. A success story showcasing the value Motivosity brings to your workforce.

 

c. Providing Healthy Snacks and Meals

HealthyMe Living Snack BoxFuel their focus with healthy options! Providing nutritious snacks and meals at the office reduces those mid-afternoon energy slumps, demonstrates a commitment to well-being, and creates opportunities for social connection around food.


8. Public Recognition

“A Spotlight Moment”

Wouldn’t seeing your coworkers’ photos of their incredible project success in the company newsletter make you proud? Publicly acknowledging contributions raises confidence, promotes shared achievement, and motivates others to strive for excellence.

a. Employee of the Month Awards with Creative Twists

Rotating themes, peer nominations, and unique award ideas. Revamping the traditional “Employee of the Month” into a fun way to recognize individuals and keep things fresh. Plus, it keeps the ball running for others to take it the following month.

Pro-Tip: Make employee recognition simple, frequent, and meaningful with NectarHR! Their platform allows you to incentivize shout-outs with Nectar points, highlighting employees who exemplify your core values.

A whooping 94% of customers have seen an increase in employee engagement. For instance, Lisa L., Onboarding Manager, shares: “Nectar improves culture and creates a sense of positive team momentum in the workplace.”

 

b. Highlighting Achievements in Company-Wide Newsletters

Company_newsletter-ShoutoutTurn your company newsletter into a celebration hub: spotlight recent wins, completed projects, and employee shout-outs. This will showcase individual contributions and inspire the team.

 

c. Social Media Shoutouts Celebrating Personal and Professional Milestones

recognizing employees on social mediaLet the world share in your team’s success: public shoutouts for promotions, certifications, work anniversaries, or even personal achievements create proud employees and learn how to show appreciation to coworkers. Amplify the celebration with branded hashtags like #TeamWins or #EmployeeSpotlight!


9. Personalized Thank You Notes

“The Power of Words”

You have most likely received a “thanks for your hard work” email before, but even with good intentions, a more thoughtful, personalized note of appreciation must be in order; it is like finding a surprise gift in your inbox—it makes your day and reminds you that your contributions matter.

a. Handwritten Notes from Management

handwritten-note

In our digital world, a handwritten note feels extra special as a tangible token of appreciation. Recognizing employees’ hard work fosters stronger bonds between team members and leadership.

 

b. Video Messages from the Team

Tribute-Video-Gifts-For-ManagersIn the TikToks, Shorts, and Reels era, recording short and sweet appreciation videos will take you a long way (especially with your younger employees). These heartfelt shout-outs add a touch of fun and authenticity to the workplace.

 

c. Customized Thank-you Emails with Personal Anecdotes

Like acknowledging a specific situation when the employee’s work shined: “I was so impressed by how you creatively solved that issue with the client presentation last week. It saved the day!”.

A personal touch leaves a lasting impression.


10. Unexpected Rewards

“Small Gestures, Big Impact”

Sometimes, the little surprises mean the most, those that fall into no-cost employee appreciation ideas.

Unexpected rewards and unique gifts brighten employees’ days, letting them know their hard work is noticed and reminding them they’re appreciated in a way they didn’t see coming. Bulk gift/reward options also offer convenience and variety for larger teams or special occasions.

a. Surprise Days Off or Early Releases

Happy-Hour-Office-Birthday-Party

How about an unexpected early out? An afternoon off or a company-wide “Summer Friday” allows recharge and shows you care about their work-life synergy so that they can spend more time with their family at the end of the week.

 

b. Gift cards to Local Restaurants or Online Stores

Caroo-Digital-Gift-CardGive the gift of choice! Gift cards let employees treat themselves to something special, making the reward feel personal and showing you support their interests.

 

c. Custom Company Swag Tailored to Their Tastes

Curating a selection of high-quality items that reflect employee preferences makes this reward extra meaningful and shows you pay attention to what they like.

Pro-Tip: You can delight your team with easy-to-use surprise rewards! Swag.com offers curated, high-quality swag, streamlined ordering, and global shipping—perfect for sending unexpected treats to employees, clients, or prospects.

“Thank you so much for your help. Ordering was effortless since we already had everything in our profile. I would recommend to other companies who are looking for an easy, seamless experience.” –  Katie C., from TaskRabbit, shared her smooth experience with the platform.

 

Conclusion

These unique recognition ideas have made a solid case for showing appreciation to employees in a personalized way, especially if you want to retain your top performers and attract stars to your hiring pipeline. You know what they say: word of mouth is more effective than tons of money invested in marketing campaigns.

This ripple effect, fueled by the best ways to show staff appreciation, turns your employees into your brand ambassadors.

They’ll rave not only about those cool perks you offer (reward points, gym memberships, delicious snacks, etc.) but also about the priceless impact you make by connecting with them at a human level, beyond the roles and the 9-5 schedules to a holistic and meaningful employee experience!

So, start exploring those impactful ways to show appreciation and watch your company culture thrive!


People Also Ask These Questions About Ways To Appreciate Employees

Q: What are some cost-effective ways to show appreciation to employees?

  • A: Explore methods like public recognition, flexible working hours, personal development opportunities, and simple thank-you notes that acknowledge individual efforts and contributions without significant financial investment.

Q: How does regular employee appreciation impact company culture?

  • A: Regularly appreciating employees can foster a positive work environment, boost morale, and enhance engagement. It encourages a culture of recognition and respect, leading to increased loyalty and reduced turnover.

Q: Can employee appreciation improve productivity?

  • A: Yes, acknowledging and rewarding employees for their hard work can significantly boost their motivation and productivity. Feeling valued can energize employees, leading to higher quality work and more efficient performance.

Q: What are some creative ways to appreciate remote employees?

  • A: Utilize digital tools to send e-cards, host virtual celebrations, or provide online vouchers. Regular shout-outs during virtual meetings and flexible scheduling are also effective ways to show appreciation from a distance.

Q: How often should a company show appreciation to its employees?

  • A: While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, a regular and consistent approach is key. This could be as simple as weekly acknowledgements in team meetings, monthly rewards, or annual awards ceremonies. The goal is to ensure appreciation is an integral part of the organizational rhythm.

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