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Ideas for Launching a Budget-Friendly Staff Appreciation Week

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Taking staff appreciation to the next level will benefit not only your employees but also your business. But how can you do that? The answer lies in a staff appreciation week, and for this, you don’t have to wait for the annual Staff Appreciation Day. Plan a special week for your employees whenever you think it’s appropriate and elevate your company culture.

Staff Appreciation Week Vs. Staff Appreciation Day

Staff Appreciation Day, also known as Employee Appreciation Day, is an unofficial holiday that takes place on the first Friday of March.

Reserving an entire day to celebrate the achievements of employees is a great way to boost employee happiness and satisfaction. Doing so can also have an influence on everything from recruitment to turnover.

But there’s one problem. Staff appreciation day takes place annually, which means employees have to wait all year to enjoy a special day that’s dedicated to them. It’s also a standard, “planned” day, which lacks a sincere appreciation and can seem closer to an obligation.

Unfortunately, one staff appreciation day isn’t frequent enough. And as you’re probably aware, it needs to be frequent and timely for employee recognition to have the biggest impact.

Your employees are constantly working hard nearly every day of the year. Don’t they deserve more thought-out appreciation that involves recognizing them more often, or with more depth?

This is where staff appreciation week comes in. You can still have an annual employee appreciation day and host an employee appreciation week at some point during the year. That way, employees have an entire week to look forward to and don’t have to wait the whole year to get recognized for their constant hard work.

Why Celebrate Your Staff?

It’s simple. Your employees are putting in a lot of work to propel your company forward. Many of them often have no guaranteed vacation time and work long hours. So, it’s no wonder only around 34% of employees are constantly engaged with their work.

One effective solution to employee disengagement is to host a staff appreciation week. Dedicate an entire week to appreciating your employees. This can go a long way in making them feel valued and reminding them of how important their work is to your organization.

When employees feel valued by their managers, they tend to work harder because they know they’re making a tangible impact on the business.

11 Tips to Launch a Staff Appreciation Week That Doesn’t Break The Bank

So, if you’re on board with launching a staff appreciation week, don’t dive in just yet. For your initiative to be effective, it needs to be well-planned.

If not, your staff appreciation week will likely feature generic, cheap-looking elements that will make employees feel like the appreciation is insincere. They might feel like the event is something you just threw together last minute, with no real thought behind it.

With that said, you must be strategic about giving your staff the appreciation week they deserve. Let’s look at a few tips that can help you do that.

1. Throw in Some Stress Reduction and Wellness Activities

Allow your employees to melt their stress away with wellness activities. Here are some ideas:

  • Hire an on-site massage therapist. Help your employees take a break from the computer screen and relax with a calming massage.
  • Bring in a yoga instructor. Hire an instructor that offers different types of yoga classes. This will give your employees a great way to relax and wind down from stressful work tasks.
  • Promote a group fitness plan. Who doesn’t like a workout partner? Encourage employees to participate in a fitness plan. Encourage break time walking groups. Reimburse employees for fitness-related purchases. Introduce and encourage staff to form after-work exercise groups.
  • Provide a healthy, locally-sourced lunch. The fact that your employees won’t have to bring their own lunch is a stress-reducer in itself. You can also take things a step further by reaching out to a local farm-to-table restaurant specializing in healthy recipes.

2. Give Unique Gifts With Meaning

Hand out gifts that mean something to your employees. Avoid giving out cheap items they’ll probably throw away. An example of a unique and meaningful gift could be a custom gift that symbolizes your organization’s culture and history – that they are a part of. Also, consider branded clothing and gear that features your company logo. This could be a t-shirt, backpack, or baseball cap.

You can go the extra mile by using an employee rewards platform that allows employees to choose from a curated list of gifts. That way, they can select something meaningful to them. This strategy could also allow you to more freely hand out “points” during an appreciation week that would help employees rack up reward options.

3. Play Team Games

Keep employees engaged during staff appreciation week with team games. When it comes to gamification, the opportunities are endless. Below are just a few examples:

  • Scavenger hunts
  • Blind drawings
  • Office trivia
  • Spin the wheel
  • Cooking competition
  • Cup stacking
  • Blindfolded obstacle course
  • Pumpkin carving competition (for the fall)
  • Two truths and a lie
  • Paper toss basketball
  • Bingo
  • Water balloon toss
  • Desk decorating challenge
  • Tug-of-war
  • Department show and tell
  • …and more

While some might view these games as silly or even pointless, that’s the idea. Allowing your employees to have good, mindless fun is great for their mental health and gives them a welcome change from a humdrum work routine.

Plus, getting employees to team up allows them to work together and enjoy being part of a team, building connections. It also promotes healthy competition among co-workers. This can be a highly effective way to build meaningful work relationships.

4. Go on a Field Trip

During staff appreciation week, create a memorable experience by organizing a company field trip. Visit a local museum, botanical garden, or park.

You can also sign up for a factory, brewery, or winery tour. This will provide an excellent opportunity for employees to get to know their community better and learn something meaningful. It might also spark some new ideas at work!

5. Volunteer Together

Volunteering can also help build a sense of community, especially when there’s a team doing it together. There’s a wide range of volunteer activities you can do with your employees. For example, you can volunteer at a homeless shelter, senior living community, or humane society. You can also sponsor a youth sports team, donate blood, or even take on an eco-friendly challenge.

A study by Deloitte found that 70 percent of working Americans strongly believe that volunteer activities are more likely to boost employee engagement than other events like company-sponsored happy hours.

6. Give a Half Day Off

Every once in a while, your employees need time to refresh and focus on their personal lives. So, during employee appreciation week, you can let your staff leave work early to show that you value their daily contributions to your organization.

And if you want to go the extra mile, you could plan this day out way in advance using employee scheduling software. This would allow you to invite your team to look at their schedules and choose which days they’d like a company half-day off. When employees have the opportunity to make decisions as a group — no matter how small those decisions are — they’re likely to feel a sense of autonomy and belonging.

7. Provide Training Opportunities

Many — if not most — employees enjoy learning new skills to grow within the organization. So, providing them with opportunities for skill development and training at employee appreciation week can go a long way in making them feel valued. One idea for this could be to schedule guest speakers to come out and discuss various topics.

For instance, you can invite someone who’s an expert in increasing productivity and staying organized at work. Or maybe you can find someone to speak on a more personal level for life outside of work.

One expert could touch on improving money management skills, while another can discuss healthy eating tips. No matter who you invite or what topic they speak on, these experiences can be vital in encouraging professional and personal development, demonstrating to your employees that you value them.

Another idea is to offer training sessions. Some employees like to learn new skills and progress within your company. You can help them by offering training workshops and courses during staff appreciation week.

For example, you might offer training opportunities for the sales department on various topics such as new ways to prospect, how to use artificial intelligence to analyze customer data, etc. Just be careful that you keep in mind the point of “appreciation week” and that the topic is interesting – you don’t want it to feel like tedious or humdrum additional work.

8. Recognize the Achievement of Personal Goals 

If you already have an employee recognition strategy in place, then you’re likely on a good path to boosting employee engagement, morale, and work culture. But don’t just limit your rewards and recognition initiatives to work achievements.

Appreciate your employees for achieving goals outside the workplace. As a result, they’ll feel like you care about them as people. They’ll also know you don’t just view them as cogs in a wheel.

During appreciation week, it might also be a good idea to throw in some gifts connected to their passions. For example, if you know that one of your employees loves to read, a best-selling book from a well-known author would be a great gift. Or, for a staff member who likes fishing, a Yeti cooler or tackle box would be a good gift idea.

9. Give a Gift of Health

Many employees make staying on top of their health a top priority. But if they’re putting in a lot of time at work, they might slack off on exercise. So, what’s a great way to show employees you value their health and wellbeing?

Do something to jumpstart their fitness plan. For example, you could dedicate an entire day to investing in employee health and wellbeing.

This might include hiring a health and fitness professional — such as a wellness coach, yoga instructor, personal trainer, or nutritionist — to host a class or seminar. You could also invite a physical therapist to come out and give tips on more ergonomic ways to work.

Employees working in an office are constantly hunched over their computers. Or maybe the type of organization you run requires your staff to be on their feet all day. Whatever the case, a physical therapist can come out and give their expert advice on how to minimize strain, correct posture, and improve comfort while working.

You could also give each employee a fitness activity tracker such as Fitbit if it’s within your budget. Then, encourage them to challenge each other daily. This can not only inspire employees to be proactive about their health, but it can also create healthy competition between colleagues, which helps cultivate deeper, more personal relationships.

10. Organize a Food Truck Day

Research local food trucks and arrange for them to come to your job site. If the size of your company makes this feasible, you might also consider hosting multiple food trucks since everyone’s tastes and preferences differ. By bringing a food truck to the workplace during staff appreciation week, you’re not only treating your employees, but you’re also supporting fellow local business owners.

11. Use a Recognition Platform

There’s no better time to announce a recognition program than employee appreciation week. Consider using a fully comprehensive recognition and rewards program to implement ongoing rewards and remind people to recognize their peers frequently and genuinely.

A good recognition platform can use a points-based system in which employees can gain a certain amount of points from their achievements at work. They can spend those points on the platform, allowing them to choose from a variety of rewards that are meaningful to them.  This creates a personalized recognition experience that your employees will value.

Appreciate Your Employees Every Day

Organizing special events for employees is an excellent way to show your appreciation. But the key to driving the biggest impact is making your recognition efforts frequent and timely.

So, that means going beyond staff appreciation week and recognizing employees for their hard work on an ongoing, regular basis. But how can you effectively do that? Use an employee reward and recognition platform like Xceleration.

Our software offers a full suite of features to help you recognize, engage, and motivate one of the most valuable assets to your business — your employees. If you need help reaching your recognition and engagement goals, get started with Xceleration today.

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