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17 Employee Appreciation Ideas for 2022

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Employee appreciation can make a big difference in your employee retention rate. In fact, one study found that employee recognition is “extremely important” to 37 percent of employees. And with Employee Recognition Day coming up in March, organizations can take this opportunity to really make their staff feel cared for and appreciated. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to express your gratitude.

Many businesses want to thank their employees, but they don’t have a large budget to do so. However, employee appreciation does not have to be expensive. Even if you don’t have the funds for a lavish celebration, it’s preferable to acknowledge your team members in small ways than to do nothing at all. Individualizing awards will guarantee that each of your prized employees feels cherished.

Continue to read to see our top picks for budget-friendly employee appreciation ideas. Also, some of these employee appreciation ideas are COVID compatible too, given the current context.

Why Employee Appreciation Is So Important

According to Harvard Business Review, employee appreciation is essential for morale, company culture, and motivation. Showing appreciation for your staff gives them a reason to stay with your company instead of moving on to another. However, appreciating your employees is just one part of taking care of your workforce. You can bring in other ways to nurture your workforce, such as health and wellness benefits, personal time off, flexible work hours, and other things.

With this in mind, let’s look at some great ideas for Employee Appreciation Day and any other day of the year in which you’d like to show your workforce just how much they matter.

17 Employee Appreciation Ideas

Following employee appreciation ideas are diverse and focus on a wide range of things. However, keep in mind that your recognition program should focus on tenure in addition to other factors. According to a recent survey, 87 percent of employee appreciation programs focus on tenure. Employees who have been at your organization for decades should receive special recognition. However, that recognition should focus more on their contributions rather than time spent in their position.

Here are several employee appreciation ideas to inspire you:

Show Gratitude as Part of Your Workforce’s Daily Routine

Employee appreciation should not be limited to a particular event but should be ingrained in your company’s culture. When employees work from home, they may feel isolated. That is why it is critical to express thanks on a regular basis. 

During weekly meetings, recognize noteworthy projects or outstanding performances, and make sure the acknowledgment is timely and specific. When leaders make an effort to acknowledge others, it motivates and inspires their employees. Even a simple, sincere “thank you for your efforts” would suffice. 

A thoughtful gesture does not have to be expensive or excessive as long as it is sincere. Remember that employee appreciation should be a part of your company’s culture on a daily basis, not only on special events.

Implement Surprises

Did someone from sales land a significant client? Did your development team successfully launch a new product? With a good old-fashioned surprise party, you may celebrate their achievement in a way they’d never anticipate! 

Decorate the workplace, turn out the lights, and greet them with a cake when they come. Alternatively, keep it low-key and applaud them as they go through the office. A nice surprise party, no matter how it’s done, is always a hit! That’s one way to show your thanks for your employees that will make them blush.

Celebrate the Milestones

Just because much of the working world has gone online, there’s no need to cease commemorating the special days with your remote employees. Birthday parties and work anniversaries were already important components of a company’s culture, and they will only become more so. 

Celebrating a special occasion can be a straightforward and pleasurable activity. Host a virtual celebration and invite everyone in your team to share remarks and praises. Are you working with remote staff across time zones? Consider sending a cake, a gift box full of treats, or a company-signed card for an extra touch.

Treat a High Achieving Employee to Dinner

It’s no secret that COVID has rendered team lunches obsolete, at least for the time being. If you can’t get everyone together for a team lunch, consider giving your staff food delivery credits or a gift card to a nearby eatery. 

Give them a big allowance to take the family out for a memorable supper as a bonus if you want to go the additional mile. People usually appreciate gestures like these, as they demonstrate that management is concerned about workers’ lives outside of work.

Related: 10 Benefits of Employee Recognition Programs

Offer a “Bring Your ?” to Work Day

Remote employment has erected new hurdles to workplace inclusion, isolating employees’ human side through method and function. To remain competitive, businesses must demonstrate to workers that they care about them as humans as well. With a “bring your pet or child to work day,” you can continually engage with employees on a personal level. Recognize the challenges of childcare and home distractions by setting aside time for people to digitally bring their lovely kid or hilarious dog to work. Accept the chaos and reality of juggling work and life. Why not make it a day of laughter, sharing, and fun?

Give Them Some Time Outside of the Office

This may be one of the most beneficial employee appreciation ideas ever. When you recognize employees for exceptional effort or achievement, you can be sure they went above and beyond to get there. They were most likely working longer hours, forsaking personal time, missing sleep, and so on. Give your high-achiever the gift of time to show your thanks. Allow your employee to take the remainder of the day off after achieving a significant goal or completing a project to spend time with family, run personal errands, or relax at home.

For Remote Workforces, Consider Launching a Virtual Social Date or Happy Hour

More than three-quarters of remote employees say they socialize with their coworkers significantly less frequently since they started working from home. Just because everyone is at home doesn’t mean you can’t get together for a drink or two! You may organize a cross-departmental “welcome to the weekend” session that involves exchanging weekend plans, happy hour beverages, and internet games. Set up a recurring event in your team calendar so you may mingle and celebrate victories at the end of the week!

Simply Thank Your High-Achieving Employees

This is an oldie, but a goodie. One employee appreciation idea that will never go out of style is a heartfelt “thank you.” For distant employees, write a handwritten letter and leave it at their desk or send it in the mail.

Opt for the Classic Gift

There’s a reason why gift cards are so popular. Rather than another one-size-fits-all t-shirt or water bottle, set up an online rewards program where employees can choose gift cards that are relevant and valuable to them. Consider offering experiences as well.

You can’t go wrong with giving a great experience if you’re searching for a more personalized reward. This may be something for the entire group, such as hiring out a theme park, booking an escape room, or learning to cook from a professional chef. It may also be customized for particular employees, such as paying for a spa day or a supper at a preferred restaurant.

Consider Charities That Your Employees are Passionate About

Giving to organizations that workers support demonstrates that you care about their concerns and are invested in them. Employees can donate to charities in their names, or you can give them a specific amount to donate each month, quarter, or year. Another option is to match donations. You may also allow employees to give award points to organizations of their choosing if you’ve established an employee recognition system with point-based prizes.

Write a LinkedIn Recommendation, Especially for Your Freelancers or Contract Workers

Employee engagement is influenced by career development and progress. Show your thanks to your employees outside of the workplace. Write a recommendation or praise talents that represent your employee’s hard work so that they might succeed in their current and future roles.

Help Your Employees Pursue Things They Are Passionate About

Your workers’ life should not be consumed by work. They should have the time and space to follow their hobbies and interests outside of work. This might be doing volunteer work or working on a personal project. Many companies set aside an employee appreciation day to allow employees to participate in activities they’ve always wanted to do. Hobbies may spark inventive ideas and teach staff new skills that can benefit your business in the long run, in addition to providing a vacation from work.

Consider Planning a Team or Company-Wide Retreat

An annual team retreat is a great way to show your appreciation for your whole company. A regular full-team retreat, whether it’s a vacation to the Caribbean, a weekend at a luxury hotel downtown, or skipping the bill and going camping in the woods, will make every employee feel like a valued member of your firm. It can also serve as a team-building exercise. This is a win-win situation.

Allow Your Employees to Choose Their Own Adventure 

Sometimes, people prefer to plan their own vacation rather than go with all of their coworkers to a predetermined destination. If you work with the right rewards program, you can build in luxury vacations with concierge travel planning so employees can design their own experience of equal value.

Launch a Detailed Recognition Program

Employee appreciation day is the ideal time to introduce a recognition program. People are reminded to appreciate their colleagues often and truly via a completely comprehensive recognition and incentives platform. Your platform’s user interface should be simple to use and integrate with other tools that your staff are already familiar with. 

Employees should also be able to recognize one another at any time and from any location. For firms with teams on the ground, a mobile-friendly platform is essential. Many firms use a points-based recognition program to allow employees to choose their own awards, lowering administrative costs and delivering a more customized recognition experience.

Collect and Use Feedback

Collect feedback, but understand that gathering employee input isn’t enough. It’s time for your company to take action! Making the modifications that your employees desire will assure them that their input is valued and that your organization is prepared to evolve. This will eventually encourage more employees to participate in your company’s feedback and recognition programs.

How Xceleration Can Help Deliver Rewards to Your Hard-Working Employees

All employee recognition ideas we’ve mentioned in this guide are worth implementing, regardless of your business niche or workforce volume. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a bit of help with the process. 

Xceleration is an employee appreciation platform that delivers rewards to employees without sacrificing user-friendliness. Our unique platform makes providing reward incentives to entire workforces easy, intuitive, and fun. Rather than taking on the task of building a rewards program from scratch, we custom-curate a program specific to your employees and your budget, giving them a centralized place to connect, engage and enjoy rewards for good work.

Ready to take your employee appreciation plan to the next level? Get in touch with the team at Xceleration to learn more and get started.

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