In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we thought we would share 13 employee appreciation ideas to surprise and delight your staff and help you to cultivate an attitude of gratitude!
13 Employee Appreciation Ideas
1. Foster an environment of praise
At Red Carpet Learning Systems we are constantly giving each other praise, positive feedback, and kudos. Why? We aren’t in competition with each other – we are a team! When one person excels, we ALL win. Encouraging co-workers to give each other props fosters an environment of mutual respect, appreciation, and teamwork.
2. Food, glorious food!
It’s no mistake that Thanksgiving is celebrated by gather around a table set with delicious food. Abundant and tasty food is something that people inherently feel thankful for. Show your gratitude to your staff by treating them to lunch now and then, bring in bagels and fruit for a breakfast meeting, bring in cupcakes just because! You can even get creative by speaking with the restaurants and food trucks close to your office and getting special coupons and deals for your employees.
3. Public Praise
Have great things to say about a staff member? Praise them privately and in public. Recognize them on social media, in your newsletter, or an employee-wide email.
4. Take a mental health day together
Did your team just finish a stressful project? Take a mental health day together! Go on a hike, or spend the day at a spa. Visit an art gallery, or spend a few hours at your local bookstore together. Celebrate your accomplishment by treating yourself to time off together. And speaking of time off…
5. Give Unexpected Time Off
In addition to regular vacation time, reward your employees by giving them time off when they least expect it. For instance, if you notice that your employee has been doing excellent work, you can say, “I really appreciate the extra effort you’ve been putting in. To say thank you, I would like you to take a three-day weekend this month. You choose the day!” Or if you know that your staff member is taking personal time off to attend their child’s soccer match or dance recital, reward them by not deducting the time from their paycheck.
6. Gift Cards and Tickets to Favorite Places
Got a member of staff who is never without a cup of coffee from Starbucks? Or is an employee a real bookworm? A gift card to Starbucks or their favorite local bookstore is a great way to show your appreciation. Other ideas: movie or theater tickets, tickets to local sporting events or concerts, tickets to see an author speak, or even unscratched lottery tickets!
7. Cleaning Services
Your staff has worked overtime all week. They’ve spent more time at work than they have at home. And now, the weekend is finally here – and they’re going to spend the whole time tidying and cleaning their homes. Whomp Whomp. Why not give them the gift of a clean home and time with their family, by giving them a voucher for a professional cleaning service. Or, if your staff member spends lots of time in their car for work, have their vehicle professional cleaned.
8. Invest in Their Business Education
Show that you are invested in your employee’s future with your company by paying for their continuing education. Send them to a business retreat, or a conference such as our Leadership Culture Conference.
9. Bring Your Child / Pet to Work Day
Family is important! Get to know your employees’ family members and pets by having a special day when staff can bring them to work. And it’s much easier to take more interest in your employee’s children and pets when you have met them!
10. Ask what they would like
Sometimes it’s great to surprise employees, while other times it’s awesome to give them exactly what they want. So don’t be afraid to ask!
11. Get creative!
Is someone celebrating 5 or 10 years working with your company? Surprise them with a painted portrait or caricature. Fill their office with balloons! Make a montage video of everyone in the company saying happy birthday. Turn the break room into a nightclub and dance to their favorite tunes – have fun!
12. Commuting costs!
Gasoline money, parking fees, train or bus tickets – commuting can add up! Reimburse staff for some of their commuting expenses.
13. Recognize Accomplishments Outside of Work
Your staff members are volunteers, makers, artists, bloggers, etc. They are doing fun and creative things in your community. Recognize and celebrate their accomplishments. It will strengthen your relationship with your staff and the community.
No matter the size of your company and your budget, there are so many ways to show gratitude to your staff. We hope these 13 employee appreciation ideas to surprise and delight inspire you to do something special for your staff. Commit to doing one of the above suggestions in the next month and report back here to tell us how it went!
Donna Cutting, CSP is the Founder and CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, a consulting firm through which she and her team help leaders in a variety of field engage their team members to deliver exceptional customer experiences. She is the author of two books on the topic, including the most recent 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. Register for her complimentary webinar on Internal Customer Service: Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Staff here.