What Is Employee Appreciation, and How Can You Implement It?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 8, 2022

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employee appreciation involves the recognition of the work employees perform during their workday. This requires significant attention to detail and creativity when implementing appreciation programs in the workplace. By using employee appreciation strategies, you can increase your overall employee retention and wellness. In this article, we discuss the definition of this appreciation and share 19 ideas for implementing appreciation programs in the workplace.

What is employee appreciation?

Employee appreciation refers to acts supervisors and hiring managers do to show their appreciation for their employees. These ideas also refer to appreciation among coworkers. By implementing practices that increase overall appreciation, you can also improve workplace satisfaction and retention by ensuring all employees on your team feel both heard and appreciated.


  • 7 Ways To Write An Appreciation Letter to Employees

  • How To Show Recognition for Employees (With Examples)

19 ideas for showing appreciation to employees

Here's a list of ideas to consider when learning to show your team that you appreciate them:

1. Use creative rewards

When choosing rewards, you may want to consider their creativity and whether the rewards reflect their employee's needs. For example, employees may prefer paid vacation days, promotions, or free food days. Consider using career-based rewards to provide employees and team members with career advancement opportunities. Employees who demonstrate strong project management skills may appreciate leadership training. This way you can show employees that you care about their career.

2. Promote continuing education

To demonstrate appreciation for employees, you may want to encourage continuing education because it increases overall employee wellness and increases career advancement opportunities. Those who pursue continuing education improve your business by transferring new skills to your business. When staff members improve their qualifications, you can also promote them.

3. Recognize staff

You can plan how you want to recognize your team by developing lists. Research which appreciation programs are realistic for you and your company. When reading suggestions about employee recognition, you may want to take note of which programs to implement. You don't need to choose all recognition plans, but you can choose several that you think your team would consider meaningful.

4. Celebrate birthdays

Consider discussing the possibility of birthday celebrations with employees to determine whether this is something that interests them. They may appreciate being celebrated with their peers, while others may want to ignore their birthday completely. If your team members agree, consider buying them a cake that all employees can enjoy. This increases overall morale and ensures that even those who prefer not to celebrate can enjoy cake during the year. Alternatively, you can also provide employees with career-based gifts for their birthday. Consider providing them with additional days of paid vacation or career advancement opportunities.

5. Encourage appreciation

To ensure all employees feel appreciated, you can encourage staff members to show their appreciation for their colleagues. These professionals typically notice each other's work before members of upper management or team leaders do, which is why they're suited to provide each other with substantial feedback. Provide team members with the opportunity to encourage each other. You can do this by implementing programs for specific weekdays that you dedicate toward appreciating coworkers.

6. Ask employees

When deciding which programs and appreciation ideas to implement, you may want to ask the team about which concepts appeal to them. This ensures you can reward your team members with ideas they consider valuable. For example, some employees may want to earn trophies and particular career-based rewards rather than celebrate birthdays or receive compliments about performance from colleagues. You can ask about their overall opinion by sending surveys to the rest of the company.

7. Show appreciation publicly

Consider showing your appreciation for employees publicly through your company website and through social media. This ensures that customers using your services can see your team's hard work. It also provides employees with the opportunity to share their accomplishments through their own social media. To do this, take a picture of the employee and include a caption that discusses what they did to earn the reward.

8. Track accomplishments

You can also demonstrate appreciation for employees by tracking their accomplishments through various analytics and software. Consider which goals your teams and individual team members prioritize. Encourage competition among employees and recognize when teams accomplish their holistic goals. For example, you may host a fundraiser and use a visual aid to represent the amount of donations obtained compared to your overall goal. Celebrate each milestone within the donations with employees. When teams have friendly competitions, consider providing both teams with different prizes.

9. Consider personalized gifts

You may find it beneficial to provide employees and team members with gifts that depend on their individual interests. To discover these interests, you can take time from your week to participate in team-building activities. When you have a better understanding of employees' interests and priorities, you can develop gifts that suit those needs.

Related: 9 Team-Building Skills and Why They're Important (With Tips)

10. Use thank-you notes

You can also use thank-you notes to show employees your appreciation. With these notes, you can thank them for their work and specify exactly what about it you appreciate. This encourages employees to continue that good work, and provides a personal touch. Be sure to hand-write your notes whenever possible so they can see the effort you've put into your message.

Related: Writing a Thank-You Message For Your Boss (With Tips and Examples)

11. Offer choices

Showing appreciation for employees goes beyond providing them with rewards. Instead, you can also include general appreciation in your company culture. Consider allowing employees to make decisions about their schedules and assigned tasks. If they have particular project interests, you may want to consider them when assigning tasks.

Related: How To Learn More About a Company's Culture

12. Use your website

You can use your website to show your appreciation for employees by including them in your company's website. Consider publishing their projects on your website to show consumers the work your company completes. When doing this, you can include the names of all those who worked on the project.

13. Find reasons to party

Birthday parties aren't the only forms of entertainment for staff parties. You can also host parties that show appreciation for multiple employees simultaneously. Consider hosting parties for any special occasions, staff goals, and completed projects. This provides employees with something to look forward to and ensures there is always some form of appreciation in the office. You can also choose a day of the week to host parties, which combines all birthdays and company goals.

14. Celebrate anniversaries

You can also celebrate employee anniversaries to increase employee retention. When your team members are nearing large career milestones, consider celebrating them by throwing parties, publishing them on the company's social media page, or sending a message through the internal communication system. This shows them you care about the time they spend with your company and encourages them to continue working with you. By celebrating anniversaries, you also encourage other employees to work toward their own milestones.

15. Create memorable moments

Consider how you show your appreciations for the company's employees and whether you demonstrate authenticity with your actions. When you notice employees working particularly hard, consider making this a memorable moment for any individuals by speaking to them privately and discussing their work. For example, you can say, "I noticed the work you've been doing, and I really appreciate you."

16. Consider lunches

You can also show your appreciation by taking your team out to lunch, either in groups or as one-on-one meetings. The benefit of speaking individually with them is that you can discuss the employee's project. The benefit of having lunch in large groups is that it increases your team's overall morale and acts as a team building exercise.

17. Use the break room

You can use the staff break room to show appreciation by allowing them to make decisions in its design and management. For example, you can let team members choose the music, their snacks, or ask them for recommendations for improvement. You can also use the break room and decisions surrounding its management as a reward. Consider telling employees that those who demonstrate the most productivity can choose the next wall colour for the break room.

18. Pay for commutes

Depending on your business, some staff members may pay additional expenses for their morning and evening commutes to work. For example, they may take public transportation or pay for parking. You likely can't pay for all transportation costs, but you can pay for their parking passes and public transportation fees if possible.

19. Encourage mentoring

You can use mentoring to encourage collaboration between employees and to show your trust in them. Mentors typically require additional skills or exhibit performance to qualify for their positions. These professionals experience additional authority and feelings of importance at work. By encouraging this, you show support, and that you see potential for them to advance their careers.

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