Starting your employee appreciation journey won’t only improve the health, wellbeing and happiness of your staff – it will have great benefits for the whole company!
How sad is that 😢
72% of employees said that they would work harder if they were appreciated with a comprehensive employee appreciation program. Improving company culture through employee recognition and appreciation has been proven as one of the most important factors in driving workplace engagement, productivity and employee retention. But without that appreciation, it’s likely your employees aren’t reaching their full potential – and we don’t blame them!
Some companies are seriously slacking on their employee recognition ideas.
Now is the time to level up your recognition program!
Being recognised for a job is a great indication you’ve done something correct and when employees feel that their work is appreciated, they will feel more positive about their role and the company as a whole. Everyday businesses are coming up with more creative ways to give recognition and rewards to their staff, and you wouldn’t want to be the company to fall behind.
To get started you might already be thinking…
What are good ways to recognise employees?
What type of recognition do employees want?
That’s why we’ve decided to give you a helping hand. (Let us do the hard work for you, so you can become the office hero 🦸♀️ 🦸♂️).
We’ve put together a list of employee recognition ideas that your staff will actually love, because nothing says ‘I appreciate you’ quite like getting random monetary bonus for something you did months ago that you can barely remember. So it's time to get stuck in and start taking employee recognition seriously with these great recognition and rewards suggestions.
30 Best Employee Recognition Ideas and Examples Your Staff Will Love
1. Update your company website with a ‘Meet the Team’ page
This low-cost initiative is a great way to involve the whole team and create a more wholesome company culture.
A lot of companies might opt to share their senior team on the website but giving space to each of your employees shows you truly appreciate their contribution and are proud to have them on board.
It also gives them a point of reference to share their involvement in the company to their peers and family and friends alike!
If you're looking for some inspiration you can check out our Meet The Team page to find out what we get up to when we're not helping employees get the recognition they deserve.
2. Shout out employee achievements on social channels
Recognising an employee for their work is great, but you could supplement employee appreciation and recognition by sharing their achievements on your social media channels.
You could do this by posting their success story when it happens, or if you have a staff member who has been performing well consistently, you could ask them if they'd like to have their picture featured within your social media channels or email newsletters.
This is a great employee recognition idea that will reward them for their hard work, remind them that they’ve contributed to the wider company achievements whilst also giving you more content to share across your different media platforms. Winning!
3. Encourage peer recognition
Peer-to-peer recognition has been found to be 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.
Peer recognition is a great way to break through any hierarchal oversight and encourages employees to regularly and freely recognise good work when they see it.
Peer recognition can also help strengthen employee relationships and build a great team rapport. It can also boost confidence amongst your employees and encourage them to strive for success at all times – not just when the boss is watching! 👀
Encouraging peer recognition should be incorporated into daily work life to boost a positive workplace culture.
4. Celebrate staff birthdays!
Make employees feel appreciated on their special day.
Host a team lunch with balloons and nibbles and encourage everyone to come together. This is a great way to make them feel appreciated outside of work life at the same time as reminding them that you pay attention to each member of staff.
You could even offer your employees a paid day off for their birthday as a way of recognising the work they do for the organisation. Here at Thriving Box Co we pride ourselves in going the extra mile so all of our employees receive a paid day off for their birthday and there are many other companies offering this like Virgin Media, a large company already offering this perk successfully with great reception from their employees.
5. Celebrate work anniversaries
Any excuse for more cake, right?
A work anniversary is a brilliant way to show an employee their journey in the company has been great for everyone. It’s also a thoughtful way to reward employees alongside their peers and colleagues while connecting their role to the wider company goals and values. Employee rewards for anniversaries could include all the team members, but take the time to get to know them first so that you know their preference. It might be better to share this kind of celebration on your social media channel as well.
6. Bring your pet to work day
So you might have missed the official ‘Bring your dog to work day’ this year (It’s normally at the end of June 🐶) but that doesn’t stop you from putting a smile on all your animal-loving employees’ faces!
Bringing your dog to work has been found to reduce stress levels within the workplace, both for the owner and the rest of the office members. It’s also linked to a having a calming effect, making working hours more relaxed, enjoyable and productive. Introducing a bring your pet to work day can really boost morale amongst employees and help create a more positive work environment.
7. Pet-ternity leave
We understand that not everyone is a massive animal fan, but the chances are pretty high that you have employees that are!
Recognising this by offering a week off when one of your employees gets a new puppy or kitten is an incredible way to personalise your employee appreciation and show you understand that for many people, pets are just as important as other members of the family. A new puppy can be a lot to take one, and very few employers take this into consideration. Offering this kind of recognition will have your animal-loving employees boasting to everyone about how much you’ve shown you care.
8. Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day
Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated across the globe on the first Friday in March and it’s there so you never forget about employee recognition!
Employee Appreciation Day aims to recognise employees around the world and encourage organisations and businesses to join in in celebration of recognising their employees hard work and making them feel more appreciated. It could be the perfect opportunity to encourage peer recognition and get employees involved in coming up with their own recognition ideas.
It’s also an opportunity for companies without a recognition program to do better and improve their employee recognition. Being an official date in the diary, there really isn't much excuse for a bad recognition and rewards system!
You can make your celebrations as big or as small as you want – another reason for a party! Wahey!
9. Offer development and training opportunities
Supporting the growth and development of your employees could hugely impact your employee retention rates and dramatically reduce any weakness within the company.
As the world changes and evolves, it would be silly if your organisation stayed exactly the same – right? Of course! Employee recognition in the form of investing in your staff’s professional development is vital for team retention because it establishes a sense of value within the company and fosters loyalty and appetite for skill development.
Including training in your recognition program gives employees a sense of empowerment and allows management to inspire and ignite people’s imaginations. Companies that engage in employee growth and possible learning opportunities will greatly impact future employee performance and dedication.
10. Employee Wall of Fame
This low-cost employee recognition format is a simple and efficient way to recognise those who have carried the organisation.
They give a nod of the head to honour the past and present achievers who have done a lot for the organisation as a whole. Public appreciation for those who have gone above and beyond on a job, task or for their entire role within the company can potentially influence longevity to other employees within the brand. This could be a small achievement or something bigger and carried out in such a way that everyone get's recognised so nobody feels left out from employee recognition.
A wall of fame is also a fun way to introduce new employees to the company culture of recognition and show them the work they do won’t go unnoticed. This could work as a brilliant incentive for them to work hard and strive for success in the business.
An entire wall dedicated to the appreciation of employees is also a fun and engaging way to brighten up the workspace too! Involve employees in this process as much as possible – maybe set up an exciting photoshoot day for it and have them dressed in branded merch for their image to be put up on the wall. This kind of public recognition could also encourage peer recognition which is great for building a positive company culture.
11. Employee recognition parking programme
Aside from the parking spots already reserved for blue badge holders, some companies might opt for an employee recognition parking programme as a unique and rewarding system.
It can be hard to think of employee recognition ideas that your staff will actually appreciate, but this will be sure to please a lot of your car driving employees.
This kind of employee recognition could be done by allocating one or two of the ‘good spots’ to be issued out an employee that has been working especially hard. You could do this by getting employees to nominate each other for the prize to get them involved in the recognition program or using it as a reward for a certain task or project. Whichever the reason, earning yourself a coveted parking spot is a great way to encourage self-belief and confidence that employees are doing a fantastic job.
12. Work walks
Trading your office desk meetings for a walk and talk is a subtle but effective form of employee recognition that will do wonders for the health and wellbeing of your team.
Recent studies have shown that walking and stretching your legs can encourage creativity. Swapping your desk view for something more scenic for an hour out of the working day can provide inspirations as well as improved problem-solving abilities. The average worker sits for roughly 9 hours a day which is roughly 6 hours longer than we should be sitting. So let's get out of the office chair and get moving!
Walking meetings are a great form of employee recognition that will encourage and support activeness amongst employees while giving them some fresh air and sun light.
13. Employee yearbook
This fun and entertaining employee recognition system can help capture your company’s positive workplace culture and make it easy and simple for on-boarding.
Corporate yearbooks are all about the fun and silly element to employee appreciation. You can ask your employees to contribute, and you might find that you already have a group who are desperate to be on the yearbook committee.
You could ask the team to send in a photo for the yearbook or get some fun props and set it up yourself. Either way, get creative with this one and let it be an accurate reflection of your company’s work culture.
14. Shadowing opportunities
Setting up opportunities for shadowing can give your employees the chance to learn more about each other’s roles and develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of the whole company.
This is a straightforward way to recognise employees who could be setting a good example while letting other employees learn new skills that they might have been interested in. It can also help build bonds and stronger relationships amongst employees which could really improve team cohesion. Shadowing can reward employees who have gone the extra mile and boost employee engagement and the overall employee experience.
You can find out more on how to improve team cohesion in the workplace here.
15. Mentoring systems
One way to make new employees feel recognised and appreciated from the get-go is to assign them a mentor with someone on the team.
This could either be someone who does the same job or similar, or it could be someone else in the company who can show them around and help them settle in socially too.
This employee recognition program can have beneficial impact on both the new employee as well as the more established one as it can help the mentor feel appreciated for as they’ve been selected as someone who is good enough at their job to pass on their knowledge. The new employee also feels cared for and supported and encouraged to be engaged with other employees from the start of their journey.
16. Get creative with social areas
Having space to take time out and refresh their mind can really help with productivity and there’s nothing worse than having your break in a dull room with no ambience.
Show employee recognition by giving them space to socialise with each other in a setting that is pleasant and comfortable. Put up prints and artwork or even motivational quotes, try to be imaginative and think what you’d like to see there too.
Marketing Tech company Drift have been flagged as having one of the coolest office spaces that keeps their employees happy and engaged. Their office highlights include murals with favourite inspirational quotes, a backyard space for gatherings and conference room named after companies, things and people that helped make Drift what it is today.
17. Share responsibility for social areas
Involving your employees in the decision-making process to do with their social areas is a step further and will really show that you care about their happiness and health.
Employee recognition ideas always need to start with the employee, so ask them how they would like to improve their social spaces. This might be a great spot for the wall of fame or a suggestion box to get their feedback on different ideas you'd like to trial.
Thinking of appreciation ideas is a great opportunity to let employees reveal their creative side. Encourage them to work hard and go the extra mile
Games are a sure-fire way to have fun and boost morale!
Time to make your employee appreciation ideas fun! Nothing reinvigorates a workplace after a post lunch slump like some friendly competition. Google have been leading the way forward to create the coolest offices around the world with their introduction of table tennis and foosball.
Employee rewards also don't have to be a one-off thing, improving the working environment with permanent game features will be a massively popular addition to your recognition program for years to come.
19. Provide space for down time
We’ve seen napping bars pop up all over the world to provide a place to rest and relax for a while, but even a communal space to chill would give your employees the recognition they deserve.
It's easy to get carried away with your employee recognition ideas but it's important to remember that providing space for down time is an equally important form of employee rewards. You could kit out and empty office with soothing lighting, aromatherapy scents, a comfy chair, a wellbeing space and even some nice books.
This is a simple and efficient thing you can easily incorporate into your recognition program that will encourage your employees to look after themselves.
20. Organise team building activities
Team building activities are a great way to keep employees connected whether they’re working remotely or based in office.
Whether it’s a short problem-solving project or a full-length team scavenger hunt, team building activities are a great way to develop skills together and build a better rapport amongst peers and colleagues.
Our favourite team building activities employees would love include:
An office escape room (you could even do this remotely, it's 2021 after all!)
21. Advertise their success
Showing your employees that you’re proud of them is one of the purest forms of employee recognition!
Whether you post their success in a newsletter, on your website or even just on the pin-board in the staffroom, showing employees that you noticed their hard work and effort will motivate them to work even harder. Not everyone will like this kind of public recognition and you might find that a handwritten note is enough to show appreciation for some employees that are still going the extra mile.
Or how about sending them a gift instead!
22. Play their favourite music at break time
This is a simple and fun example of employee rewards that will engage your team and keep the atmosphere in the office enjoyable and positive.
Invest in a small portable speaker and set it up in the staffroom and let your employees have the option of playing their favourite songs while they eat their lunch. This is a quick fix to incorporate into your reward system that will show your employees that you care.
23. Contribute to their journey costs
For some employees the commute can contribute to any unhappiness they might have about work, and you could alleviate that by offer to cover part or all of the cost.
Offer a fuel allowance or rent them a bicycle – whichever is more suitable. Including this in your recognition program could really cut down the costs of their commute and keep them motivated and happier overall. Sometimes it's the most practical employee rewards that your employees will appreciate the most!
24. Provide the equipment they need to do their job
You might already have things like company laptops or big equipment items that enable them to do their job, but you don’t have to always go all out.
This might not even seem like a form of employee recognition and rewards but it will make your employees perform more efficiently and be more productive. You can also show employee recognition by providing branded stationary items or laptop bags – a fun and practical way to treat them and make them feel appreciated while advertising your company at the same time.
25. Praise them on LinkedIn
Writing a LinkedIn recommendation seems like a bad idea, since you want them to stay at your company instead of jumping ship..but it actually increases loyalty and staff retention!
Sharing your praise and recommendations on LinkedIn as part of your recognition program can really boost confidence in employees because it shows that their skills and talents aren’t going unnoticed. When other companies see how you value recognition and rewards within the business and show appreciation, they will also be encouraged to join your team, making it easier to expand the workforce when you need to.
26. Donate to a charity of their choice
A philanthropic award doesn’t just show your employee that you are pleased with their work, it also shows that you take time and interest in their passions.
Sure, gift cards are great but this type of recognition helps your organisation show appreciation and build stronger relationships to its employees while supporting a good cause at the same time.
It’s a winner winner!
27. Go BIG with a surprise
A spa day? A fancy team lunch? Or for some of your more adventurous staff…skydiving anyone?
Quite often a little goes a long way but this kind of larger gestures are a great way to show employee recognition if its within your company budget. They tend to be slightly expensive, but create lasting memories that can bring the team together and remind them why they love their job.
Appreciation ideas can be as big or small as you want, but when you reward your employees just make sure the employee rewards still align with the company values and aren't leaving or excluding anyone!
28. Create a reward trophy
Anyone who says they wouldn’t put a trophy they were awarded on display at home are lying!
You could either get a small one-off trophy for certain projects and achievements or you could get a team trophy that employees can take home for a week or have on their desk as a celebration and reward for their good efforts.
29. Ask them what recognition looks like to them!
This might seem obvious – or maybe it doesn’t, that’s OK too! – but asking your employees what employee recognition looks like to them is a great way to break down any barriers and give the recognition in the most personal way possible.
Everyone is different, so you might find that some employees love public praise and attention while others would prefer a more subtle one-on-one or private display of appreciation. If you're still looking for help after this list, ask your team members what kind of employee recognition program they would like to see at their work. Including them in this process will make your employees feel truly cared for.
30. Surprise them with a tangible gift
Quite often, a thank you note is a sufficient form of appreciation that will show your employee the recognition they deserve and make them feel valued but if you really want to stand out from the crowd, surprising them with a tangible element or gift will provide a memorable moment of recognition.
While the gesture provides the employee with the warm and bubbly feeling of recognition, the gift works as an aid to make sure they remember that feeling over and over again and never forget that good work will always be supported with recognition and rewards.