15 Employee Appreciation Ideas You Can Use Today

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by viperk's , last updated on

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It’s no secret that appreciation is one of the best ways to motivate your employees to work harder—and be more committed to your company.

When it comes to showing employees you appreciate their hard work, budgets are typically a concern for employers. However, great employee appreciation ideas don’t have to break the bank.

This list identifies 15 ways that even large companies can effectively appreciate their employees—some of which costs little to nothing and can be implemented today.

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Are you ready to create a happier and more motivated workforce at your company? We’re here to help ensure your employees never want to leave with these 15 tips.

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1

Connect With Your Employees - Support a Cause They are Passionate About

One way to connect with the millennial-dominated workforce is to inquire about what charitable causes they are passionate about. It shows you appreciate more than their hard work—you appreciate them as a human being, too.

Step 1: Spend some time consulting with your team.

You’ll want to figure out which causes are near and dear to their hearts. If you’re a large company, try creating two or three focus groups to limit your scope.

As a suggestion, I recommend narrowing your preliminary list down to the top three causes the majority of your team wants to support. For example, most of your employees likely care about animal welfare, heart disease and finding a cure for cancer.

Step 2: Do your research.

Start by using CharityNavigator, an American independent charity watchdog organization that evaluates charitable organizations in the United States.

How to use Charity Navigator:

Step 1: Go to charitynavigator.org and enter the charity or cause you would like to support. Click search.

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Step 2: Click on a charity to learn more details, such as where the charity is based and what causes it supports.

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Step 3: Put together a breakdown of the charity’s expenses. You can locate the following financial charts by scrolling down to the box that says “Financial Performance Metrics”.

One thing to note: Program expenses are calculated based on the charity’s average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

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You’ll want to pay attention to how much money each charity uses for its stated cause instead of for marketing, fundraising and overhead. This will help you create a list of charities that you and your employees will feel confident in contributing to.

Step 4: Take a look at the charity’s social media following to gauge how they interact with the community. Are they present? Do they effectively market their cause? What types of resources does the charity offer to its community?

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Step 5: Repeat steps 1 through 4 for each of the top three causes decided upon by your team. For instance, you can do a search for “Animal Welfare” just like you did for American Heart Association.animal welfare.png

However, with a cause as opposed to a charity name, you’ll have to do a little more refining when you get to your search results page. I recommend sorting by rating, as there are a lot of regional and local animal charities.

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To keep it simple, choose three charities to support based on your research—one under each cause.

Lastly, you’ll want to decide as a company how you would like to go about raising the money. Do you want to hold a fundraiser? Do you want to donate out of pocket? Do you want to hold an in-office bake sale among the team? The possibilities are plentiful!

Supporting a cause that your employees support is a great way to not only contribute to a good cause but help the whole team feel a sense of ownership with the company. It’s a win-win for all.

2

Give Employees a Break With Board Games to Keep Them Engaged

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon on a Friday, and I am struggling to stay engaged. I know you are, too.

Wouldn’t you love if your boss said, “It’s Friday. We’re all tired and ready for the weekend. Let’s ditch work and do something fun today”?

Yeah, me too.

Hosting a board-game competition is one of my favorite ideas for “Fun Friday”. The good news is you may already have all the supplies you need at your home—or collectively as a team—to get started.

Setting Up "Fun Friday"

Step 1: Appoint a “Fun Committee”

To keep things organized, I would start by appointing a “Fun Committee” or a select few employees to be in control of implementing this program. As an added bonus, putting this task into the hands of your employees will also show your appreciation and trust.

Step 2: Start brainstorming

Once this team of leaders has been established they can begin brainstorming. Keeping in mind my two Fun Friday suggestions, I would first start by taking stock of available board games among the fun committee. When considering which board games to bring in for the staff, don’t forget that you’ll need to include games that allow for multiple players (read: Cranium, Apples To Apples, Scattergories, Clue).

If your company has the means, you may decide to purchase a handful of board games to eliminate any issues with damaging employees’ personal property or losing parts and pieces.

Step 3: Decide which games to bring in

Next, the fun committee will decide which games to bring in. I would opt for two to three choices to allow for variety. Some of your employees may like one board game but not the other. To sweeten the competition, pick up game-winning trophies for each board game you purchase. Whoever wins will earn bragging rights and gets to keep the trophy at his or her desk.

Step 4: Create a sign-up sheet

Prior to creating this sign-up sheet for employees, the fun committee should also decide two things: What time employees will be allowed to forego working and how many Fridays a month the team would like to institute “Fun Friday”.

I recommend creating this sign up sheet via Google Sheets to make for easier sharing among the team. For the sake of explanation, let’s say you decide to end the work day at noon and end work at 4 o’clock (as an added Friday bonus). Trust me, they will appreciate that, too.

On this Google Sheet, create a column for each board game you’ve chosen to bring in for the team. In each row, depending on which time you choose to start the fun, create one hour block increments (i.e. 12 pm to 1 pm; 1 pm to 2 pm; etc.)

Step 5: Create an e-vite

Design Your Invitation

Once you’ve put together your Google Sign-up Sheet, I recommend using a website like Canva to create an invitation to Fun Friday. Before you get started, I suggest signing up with Google or Facebook to speed up the design process.

Step 1: Go to www.canva.com and click on the “Features” drop-down menu in the top lefthand corner.

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Step 2: Within the drop-down menu, select “Email Invitations” and then click on the green box to start designing your email invitation.

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Step 3: After clicking the green box, you will have access to Canva’s dashboard with several designs to choose from. Choose one that you like.

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Step 4: Customize your design. You can change the text, elements like shape, size and color and the background by navigating through the left-hand column once you’ve selected your design.

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Step 5: Download your email invitation.
Upload it to your email and include a link to the Google Sign-up Sheet within the body of the email.

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Step 6: Craft your email and invite employees to Fun Friday and see who signs up!

Now your email invitation is ready to go. It’s time to enjoy the down time with your team! You may also want to encourage employees to bring a dish or snack as part of a potluck. This doesn’t take much coordination, so just open up the floor to whoever wants to contribute!

3

Publicize Employee Appreciation on Your Company’s Social Media Channels

Employing social media to show your employees you appreciate them is a highly visible and low-cost way to show support.

Did I mention it also shines a positive light on your company? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

And before you get all worked up about where to start, take a deep breath and relax. I’m going to walk you through an easy-to-follow employee appreciation plan for your social media channels.

Step 1: Choose a platform

Due to its reach and variety of users, I recommend starting off with Facebook as a platform to communicate employee appreciation.

Step 2: Choose a format

Many companies have chosen to use video to share employees’ stories and interviews. But you can also keep it simple and share photos via Facebook. Here are two ideas for what these videos and photos could include:

  • A video of an employee sharing his or her career path and how they ended up working for your company (If you decide to go this route, I recommend writing an introduction to the video thanking your employee for their dedication); or
  • A series of photos of employees who you would like to recognize and reward (One suggestion would be to create protocol for on-the-spot recognition of certain behaviors witnessed, such as an employee helping another employee with training).

No matter which format you decide—whether it’s one of these two or something different—make sure you tag the employee’s personal Facebook so that recognition can expand beyond the company to friends and family.

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You can apply these same tactics to appreciating employees on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. If you decide to use Twitter as a means of expressing gratitude for your employees, I would create a unique hashtag for your company (i.e. #viperksCares).

In case you’re at a loss of words, this article from Baudville shares 33 employee appreciation messages you can use—or massage to make your own.

4

Implement a Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program to Encourage Appreciation

In the last three Trends in Employee Recognition  survey reports by WorldatWork, peer-to-peer programs have ranked as the third most common type of recognition program among employers.

And why are they working?

Because it’s all happening in real time, just like everything else in this world.

Implementing a peer-to-peer program has many benefits, such as instilling team spirit, promoting openness and transparency and motivating your employees to do great work. Not sure where to start?

Here are four easy steps to follow that will help you get the most out of your peer-to-peer recognition program:

Step 1: Define your program goals

Your goals may include increasing employee happiness through recognition, boosting sales, developing leadership skills or improving attendance. The program should be structured around meeting those goals as well as exemplifying the company’s values and culture.

For example, your company may want to create a system that allows salespeople to recognize and appreciate one another for their work toward getting a new account.

Step 2: Involve your employees

If you want your team to be on the same page and support this program, I recommend putting together a team of 10 to 12 employees to help evaluate prospective programs—and make sure they have a range of job titles.

Step 3: Evaluate programs

This is where you decide what kind of program you would like to implement. For instance, I am a big fan of YouEarnedIt, a cloud-based employee recognition and reward program.

To learn more about the program and how you can apply it to your business, I recommend watching the 55-second product tour video, which you can get to by clicking the “Product” drop down menu in the top left hand corner and selecting “Product Tour”.

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One thing to note: YouEarnedIt does have a cost to implement. It’s different for everybody, depending on what services you want to use and the size of your company.

For companies who wish to build something from the ground up that is cost-effective, there are plenty of in-house programs you can build from scratch. For instance, you could create a “Wall Of Recognition” where employees recognize one another. To sweeten the deal, you could even do a gift-card drawing every Friday.

Step 4: Evaluate the role of rewards

If your program will include monetary incentives or other tangible rewards, set clear criteria for receiving them. Without such conditions, people might game the system just to get rewards.

When evaluating the role of rewards, you should also assess what kind of rewards you would like to give: time off, monetary rewards, gift cards, extra vacation time, free lunch, to name a few.

Peer recognition can mean a lot to people because it often comes from the heart. Managers are expected to provide feedback and recognize employees. Peers are not obligated to, so it makes for a great way to foster appreciation within your company—from a manager and a peer perspective.

5

Motivate Your Employees With Flexible Schedules

People with adaptable work environments tend to have healthier habits and may be more productive and efficient when they work. That’s why it’s a great idea to allow for flexible scheduling as part of employment because your employees will appreciate the time they have to devote to self care, family and friends.

But make sure you’re transparent about what flexible means at your company, especially if you use flexible scheduling as a way to differentiate your company during the interview process.

Before deciding which flexible work arrangements you would like to integrate at your company, consider the following questions:

  1. What is the problem you are solving? (For example, flex location can help cut down on real estate costs if you downsize office space, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every company.)
  2. What do your employees want? (Use focus groups or a sample survey to try and figure out what it is your staff needs. Involving your team also helps to get their buy in.)
  3. What can your management team support? (One of the most common factors in the failure of flexible work arrangement programs is lack of manager buy-in. Offer enough options but not so many that it becomes unwieldy for managers to keep track of employees.)
  4. What flexible work arrangements is the work itself conducive to? (You want your program to improve workplace productivity, not hamper it. Consider allowing different departments to have different flexible options, based on what their work type suits best.)
  5. What will your flexible work arrangement program affect? (Implementing flexible work programs will affect other HR functions. For instance, you may have to implement new management techniques for full-time teleworkers, or change your benefits package now that you’re allowing part-time work.)

When you’re going through this list, make sure you’re choosing options that best suit your organization and that you are creating boundaries and guidelines that both employees and managers feel comfortable with. I recommend starting out with a pilot program to test out your options and see how employees respond. Once you’ve tested the waters, you can see if your program needs tweaking.

Allowing for flexible work schedules shows your employees you trust that they know when they are at their best. It’s also a great way to attract and retain top candidates who are looking for a better work/life balance.

6

Bring In a Monthly Luxury Service to Show Great Appreciation

We often think of luxury services such as massages or pedicures as a “treat” and not something we do on the regular. For that reason, it’s a great idea to consider hiring a massage therapist or manicurist to come in for a day of pampering each month.

We already associate these types of services with appreciation and celebration, and as an employer, your employees will feel the same: That they’re being appreciated and celebrated.

Let’s decide that you’re going to bring in a massage therapist for your employees. Here’s one way you can go about setting everything up.

Step 1: Ask around

Before you begin researching a massage therapist, it’s a good idea to ask your employees if they have any recommendations. It will stir up excitement and also show that you value their input.

You can do this by sending a company-wide email, or if your office is small, just ask around. Striking up a conversation may also give you additional insight into how your employees feel about the appreciation idea and whether or not it’s a good one.

Step 2: Do your vetting

Once you’ve gathered intel from your employees, it’s time to go to Yelp to research other possibilities—and check out massage therapists who came highly recommended.

You want to keep your eye out for a few things:

  • Will they travel?
  • What are their credentials?
  • Do they specialize in sports massage or medical massage (preferred)?
  • What do others have to say about their services?
  • What is the hourly cost?

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Step 3: Set a budget

When it comes to massage therapy, you definitely get what you pay for. Since this is a service you’ll be providing for your employees on a monthly basis, I would highly recommend making an investment in a good massage therapist—and keeping him or her long-term.

Step 4: Pick a day

You may want to choose a day at the beginning of the month, or you may want to give your employees a break halfway through the month. Either way, get something on the calendar so you can move on to next steps, which is design a flyer to publicize the event.

Step 5: Design a flyer

To spread the word about this employee appreciation event, I encourage you to design a flyer to post around the office (break room, bathrooms, hallways, etc).

You’ll want to include a time, date and location on the flyer. Make sure you also include that the massages will last for 15 minutes that way more people will have a chance to experience this wonderful show of appreciation.

You can design your own flyer using Canva.com or you can hire a designer if you don’t have one in-house. If you do hire a designer, be sure to have them send you the photoshop file of the flyer that way you can make text changes if need be—and use it for later events.

7

Give Your Employees More Family Time With Friday Summer Hours

When I worked at a previous employer, we had a policy where between Memorial Day and Labor Day, employees were allowed to choose three Fridays to have the afternoon off. I always appreciated this gesture because it allowed me to spend more time with my friends and family during the summer months.

This is an easy and inexpensive way to appreciate your employees—and it takes little effort to implement. Of course you’ll need to create a policy, so here’s how you can come up with some guidelines.

Step 1: Decide on frequency

As an employer, you may want to allow for Summer Fridays all summer long, or you may choose to go the route my previous employer did—three afternoons off between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Step 2: Get approval

If you’re the person who makes major decisions, you don’t need to get approval per se. However, you will need to inform human resources of the policy you’ll be putting into place. Putting this kind of policy into place will definitely change how human resources manages scheduling.

This policy works best if your employees are salaried. However, there are still ways to make it work for hourly employees.

Step 3: Create guidelines

Depending on your company size, you’ll want to ensure that half your office doesn’t take off the same Friday. While Summer Fridays should apply to everyone, there has to be some kind of rule regarding how many people can be out in a given department. In other words, the show must go on.

The primary reason you should offer summer hours is because it gives your employees more time to recover from work-related stress and shows that you value the work-life balance, something that’s important to today’s evolving workforce. You will not only prevent burnout, you’ll boost productivity.

8

Cater Lunch Regularly to Encourage Employee Conversation

The purpose of offering catered lunch should never be to squeeze productivity out of your team. It will actually make your team less productive in the short term. However, the result will build a company of people who care more about each other and the community. And it’s an easy way to show your employees you appreciate their hard work.

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Here are two ways providing free meals for your employees will increase productivity all the while showing your gratitude.

  1. You create a lunch culture: Food brings people together, thereby promoting collaboration, brainstorming and socialization among your team. Offering lunch also encourages your employees to stop eating at their desks and isolating themselves from other departments. According to the Hartman Group, some 62% of professionals eat lunch alone at their desks—and this study was from 2016.
  2. You have an opportunity to encourage healthy eating: Did you know that the World Health Organization found that with the right lunch ingredients, you can boost brain power by as much as 20%? (i.e. avocado, blueberries, salmon, spinach) The right balance of ingredients will give your employees a productivity boost when they get back to their desk. You may also open your team up to new foods they have never eaten before.

Providing meals are also a great way to show you value your employee without increasing taxable income. According to the IRS, you can exclude the value of meals to an employee’s income if 1) they are furnished on your business premises and 2) they are furnished for your convenience.

In certain circumstances, you can also provide occasional meals and snacks to your employees as they fall under the De Minimis Meals clause. But there is actually a non-tax return on investment to a free meal.

In summary, you will not only boost morale by offering this perk; you’ll also boost your company’s bottom line.

9

The Power Of “Thank You” Will Delight Your Employees

At this year’s SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, the running theme during most of the panels I attended was to never forget the power of a thank you.

And guess what? It doesn’t cost you a thing to tell your employees thank you. A thank you goes a long way, especially if it’s personalized and done on the spot, not because a specific goal was achieved.

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Here’s a list of ideas for telling your employees thank you:

  • Tell them in person: There’s nothing more personal and telling than a face-to-face discussion. Your employees will appreciate the gesture more than you know. I’m willing to bet they will tell someone about the event—and how it made their day.
  • Send a thank you card to their home: Taking time to write a card and send it to your employees’ home shows you really appreciate whatever it is that they did. It takes time to write the card, pull up their address and go to the post office box to mail it.
  • Leave a thank you card or note on their desk: This idea is pretty straightforward. Make sure you explain in your note your reasons for writing the note. I encourage you as a boss to make it personal.
  • Leave a post-it note on the employee’s computer: On-the-spot recognition and appreciation is becoming a mainstay. We get everything else in our life in real time; we should be appreciated based on our day-to-day contributions.

Before you hand over that thank you, or say it out loud, make sure you acknowledge why you’re grateful for your employee because it can have an even more powerful impact. For example, saying, “Thank you for working on the weekend,” is great and recognizes the action of the individual, but adding, “You really helped us complete a project on time,” is even more powerful because it highlights the reason the action was important and reinforces the positive behaviors you want to encourage within the company.

10

Allow Your Employees to Work From Home For a Set Amount of Days a Month

In theory, you know that allowing your employees to work from home is a win/win for both the team and the company. However, you have to have a policy in place for managing expectations. That’s why I recommend that you choose a set amount of days each month that your employees are allowed to work from home.

For example, you’ll need to be prepared to accept that your employees may not be available during a given amount of time due to personal matters (i.e. a doctor’s appointment, kid’s school event, family event, an aging parent’s appointment).

You have to trust that your employees are getting their work done, even if they’re not always around on these work-from-home days. After all, you’re opening up this policy so they can have a better work/life balance, and that means time for doctor’s appointments and taking care of other errands that can’t be done while working.

If you’re ready to take a step forward with this show of appreciation, here are a few steps to follow:

Step 1: Reassess job responsibilities

As a manager, you should never assume that your employees will already know what to do when given work at home privileges. It’s a good idea to consider tweaks that can be made to your employees’ job responsibilities that will enable them to work just as efficiently at home.

For instance, if your company has an intranet and internal communications tools, ensure that your employees will be able to connect from home. Many companies use internal communication programs like Office Communicator or Slack to address day-to-day tasks. You don’t want your employees to not have access to that tool, otherwise it could stunt their productivity.

Step 2: Schedule check-in meetings

Depending on your capacity, I would recommend scheduling quarterly meetings with your employees to discuss any potential troubleshooting. This should be done on a department basis so that employees can bond together over internal issues.

Doing these check-ins will also help you assess whether the work-from-home perk is working and how it can be improved if not.

Step 3: Trust your employees

Ultimately, the one thing that is the most important with this program is to make sure you’re not questioning your employees’ use of time. You gave them this freedom. Allow them to use it however they want (while still getting their job done).

However, if you notice performance starting to dip, I suggest you have a one-on-one conversation with the employees who are having issues. They may have something bigger going on at home that could be affecting their job, and if that’s the case, it’s best to show compassion. Treating your employees like family is going to solidify that appreciation even more.

11

Create a Speaker Lunch N’ Learn Series With Your Employees for Their Personal Development

If you’re part of the workforce today, chances are you’ve heard of a “Lunch N’ Learn” (or an event with a similar name). These types of events are typically held for training and development purposes. 

In order to encourage participation, employers will offer free lunch; to encourage further participation, I recommend allowing your employees to choose who comes in to speak—or what kind of training they want. If you put the power in their hands, it’s a great way to show you appreciate and value your employees’ input, all the while giving them an opportunity to grow and develop in their careers and personal life.

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Typical Lunch N’ Learn programs include:

  • Cross-training: Cross-training involves teaching employees who were hired to perform one job function the skills required to perform other job functions. For example, you may want to train your accounting staff on how to help out with human resources. In this instance, you would have the director of human resources lead a Lunch N’ Learn.
  • Product training: These types of discussions can help all employees better understand the product differences if your company offers many different products and services.
  • Employee-led professional development: Give your employees an opportunity to learn about the responsibilities of other departments. Do you have someone in IT who could teach a course in programming basics for those who are interested in learning? What about an employee in accounting who could explain how financial forecasting works?
  • Personal development: Lunch N’ Learn programs does not have to strictly be about business. I’m a firm believer in offering non-work related learning opportunities in topics ranging from painting to drawing to wood carving or poker playing.
  • Life skills: Many companies are starting to offer more life skills teaching opportunities for employees. For instance, you may want to consider bringing in a guest speaker who can talk about personal finances or how to get in shape. 

A Lunch N’ Learn program offer an opportunity for your employees to improve employee engagement and involvement in the company in an informal manner. And as you know, employee engagement is at the center of a happy workplace.

Here are a few things to avoid when setting up your program: 

  1. Make sure that you do not make it mandatory to participate in these Lunch N’ Learn sessions. Your goal is to have your employees say to other employees, “You should have been there. It was awesome!”
  2. Don’t pick boring topics—and make sure there are a variety of subjects and offerings to ensure employees want to participate. Like I mentioned above, a good way to do this is to survey employees about what kinds of things they would like to learn.
  3. Don’t schedule too many of these events or you’ll risk annoying your employees who value their lunch period as a time to run errands, get out of the office or exercise over lunch.
  4. If you have remote employees, make sure they are able to participate too or you’ll risk alienating these employees.

These types of programs are usually less formal and less structured than traditional training events, which is why it’s a great way to show your employees you appreciate their hard work. You’re not only investing in their development, but you’re also providing them with a free lunch and interesting topic to learn.

12

Celebrate Your Employees With an Awards Ceremony

Employee service awards are the most common forms of recognition given in the workplace today, and while these serve an important purpose, it’s crucial to keep your recognition program fresh and exciting with new ways to celebrate. Instead of recognizing years of service, I suggest coming up with “fun” awards for recognizing your employees. 

For example, if you have an employee who always picks the best lunch spots, award them with a “Best Lunch Chooser” award. Or perhaps you have a team member who always knows the answers to trivia questions, so you want to give him or her the “Wikipedia Award”. Get as creative as possible. This is a great way to not only show your employees you pay attention in the office; you show employees you value their contributions on a personal level, not just what they deliver from a job perspective. 

If you typically have an end-of-the-year awards ceremony, it’s perfectly fine to align these awards with your traditional awards. However, if you want to create a separate day to dedicate to fun appreciation activities and handing out these awards, here’s how to set it up. 

Step 1: Appoint a leader

You will want to have someone in charge of this event who can handle the logistics of ordering the awards, organizing the event and informing employees. 

As with any awards ceremony, it’s best for recognition to come from the top—in other words, the managers or C-suite executives should be the ones to recognize these employees and share with them their reasoning upon announcing. 

Step 2: Schedule the event

You’ll want to get something on the schedule as soon as possible so you can reserve the time on employees’ calendars to ensure attendance is plentiful. And remember, it’s not the length of the ceremony or amount of employees who are recognized that makes an impact; it’s your enthusiasm, warmth and sincerity when doling out these awards.

Step 3: Order lunch

If you want the team to come help you recognize other employees, you’ll want to treat them to something, too. Since not every employee will be recognized (unless your office is small), you’ll want to give others the incentive to show up and show their support for their fellow colleagues. Often times, it’s as simple as providing free food. I know that’s what gets me to participate! 

Step 4: Order awards

It’s up to you how you want to go about ordering awards. If you’re trying to do this event on a budget, you can order certificates from Paper Direct.

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If you want to order physical trophies for employees to display on their desks, check out Trophy Depot. They have plenty of options to choose from.

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When you’re choosing these awards, make sure you steer clear of offending employees. You don’t want this to become a human resources issue, so let’s keep everything light-hearted.

Step 5: Choose recipients

Like I mentioned above, it’s best to make this an effort among managers and C-suite executives. One way you can ensure that each employee gets consideration is to pool opinions on recipients from each department within your company.

However, you can also show your employees you value their input by opening up an anonymous suggestions box for nominations. To do this, I would create a ballot box and slips of paper with a space for the employee’s name, department and award you’re nominating him or her for.

Awarding employees for fun things really brings a sense of community and family to the company. When everyone feels like part of the team and part of something bigger, they’re more likely to stick around and work toward a common goal.

13

Set Up a “Welcome To Work” Station to Greet Your Employees

It’s always a great day when you walk into work and notice someone has brought in donuts or bagels. Why not make it a point to do it for your employees regularly?

Setting up a “Welcome To Work” Station for your employees is a great way to show appreciation and encourage positive energy first thing in the morning (or afternoon, depending on the crew). And make sure you do this special welcome station at random, not as a result of achieving a specific goal—do it just because you want to be kind to your employees.

Before deciding what to include on your station, you’ll first want to secure a table or cart to house all the supplies. If this is something you plan on doing weekly, which could be a great program to implement, I recommend investing in a cart where you can store supplies each week.

Morning Station

Here’s a list of things you can include on your “Welcome To Work” station for the morning crew:

  • Coffee
  • Orange juice
  • Muffins
  • Fruit
  • Bagels
  • Bottled water
  • Yogurt
  • Granola bars

For the morning, make sure you don’t forget to offer cream, sugar and other condiments that go with your offerings, such as cream cheese and butter for bagels. You’ll also want to invest in paper plates and cups, utensils and napkins. You can reuse these for the afternoon crew and for the following week’s welcome stations should you have that much left over.

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Afternoon Station

Here’s a list of things you can include on your “Welcome To Work” station for the afternoon crew:

  • Coffee
  • Bottled water
  • Soda
  • Bite-sized sandwiches (make sure you include a vegetarian option)
  • Granola bars
  • Veggie tray
  • Fruit
  • Bags of chips
  • Potato salad
  • Macaroni salad

Once you’ve put together your welcome station, now’s the time to create a few signs or banners to welcome your employees. Or you can buy a pack of stickers with encouraging sayings to hand out to your team. Phrases like, “We appreciate all that you do” and “We value your contributions and hard work” are both great sayings to include on your station. In fact, it’s also great to say these phrases out loud as employees approach the station. Even a quick “Good morning!” will do, too.

14

Set Up an Employee Appreciation Program—and One That Includes Discounts

When implementing an appreciation program at your company, it can be easy to draw up a formulaic “tier” for recognizing employees, as it avoids confusion among management and employees. However, “selling” recognition by coming up with a checklist of things employees need to do to be recognized and rewarded could rub some employees the wrong way, especially millennials.

It’s best to have a program that ensures your managers know it’s imperative they recognize their team for a job well done. Then, weave in “on-the-spot” kudos to show your employees you notice the small things they do as well, such as staying later on a Friday or completing a project before a deadline. 

There are several programs out there for you to choose from, but viperks is the perfect all-in-one solution. 

Employee-only, discount shopping platforms like viperks offer an easy (and cost-effective) solution to help drive loyalty and appreciation at your company. 

Believe it or not, millennials are more likely to see the importance of financial wellness programs than workers who are 50+ (91% versus 82%), according to Harris Polls. This helps employees stretch their paycheck by providing an exclusive online shopping experience guaranteed to be cheaper than Amazon. It’s purpose is to save your employees time and money, thereby improving their financial well-being.

Creating an employee appreciation program on viperks:

viperks is easy to use and simple to launch. All you have to do is follow these steps: 

Step 1: Schedule a guided tour of the viperks platform. 

Step 2: Provide your employees’ names and email addresses, your company’s mission/vision/core values and logo with company colors to your viperks’ customer experience manager.

Step 3: Sit back and in two to three days your private online company store will be ready to launch. viperks creates all the launch announcements with instructions on how employees can activate their free accounts. 

set-up-account-2.png

It’s as simple as that... 

The best part is, there’s no on-going administrative work that you need to worry about.

15

Empower Your Employees by Offering Growth and Training Opportunities

Linking your employees to opportunities for growth is a great way to show your employees appreciation and respect for their professional development. According to Mercer, 78% of employees said they would stay with their current employer if they felt they had a career path, and not just a job. Keeping this statistic in mind, it’s a good idea to also allow your employees to choose what kind of projects they want to work on—cross-training, public speaking, product training or perhaps trade show best practices.

By putting the power in your employees’ hands, you may even discover new talents for different segments of your business, which will pay off for the both of you in the long-run as you cultivate a workforce of well-rounded employees.

Outside of showing appreciation for your employees, offering growth opportunities to your team benefits your company in the following ways:

  1. It helps attract and retain quality employees: Employee retention is a huge challenge (and expense) for employers. Having a great development program in place can make all these things less of a burden by building loyalty, increasing your reputation as a good employer and attracting good people who are looking to better themselves.
  2. It helps you create promotable employees: Having a solid employee development program in place trains your current employees for possible promotions from hourly worker to management. It also shows you which employees have the aptitude for such a promotion.
  3. It helps keep your employees engaged: We’ve all been there. When you’re bored at work, it’s a recipe for disaster. Bored employees can also create other disenchanted employees. Offering opportunities to grow and develop is a way to keep those employees engaged.
  4. It helps you save and earn money: Point blank, employee development has the potential to increase sales and output. Not to mention, giving employees opportunities creates happier employees, which means they’re going to do better work for your company in the long run.
  5. It keeps your eyes on the future: Your team should always be developing, and that means you should always be investing. You should be asking yourself what kind of leadership your company will need, what will your customers need from your employees and what industry changes might be expected.

Now It’s Your Turn

It’s worth mentioning that this show of appreciation should be available to all employees who would like to take advantage. If you don’t open up these opportunities to the entire team, you risk losing certain employees who want to grow, too.

No matter what appreciation idea you decide to try on this list, you’re guaranteed to put a smile on your employees’ faces. If you have an idea you would like to add to the list, please feel free to comment below.  

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blog author

Eric Golubitsky

Eric brings 18+ years of entrepreneurial experience. Eric founded S.M.I.L.E. Inc. in 1998, which was a Consumer Electronic Pro Top 100 home automation provider and was recognized as the #1 fastest growing company in NE Ohio by CWRU Weatherhead School of Management in 2003. As an Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" finalist in 2005, Eric's accomplishments have been recognized multiple times including the Consumer Electronics Association's national "Mark of Excellence Award." Eric is also a 5 year member of EO (Entrepreneurs Organization).