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12 Fresh, Creative Employee Appreciation ideas
5th April 2022
Employee appreciation day is an official holiday celebrated on the first Friday of March (in the USA). Started by Bob Nelson, it has become a popular way to thank employees marking a strong bond between employees and employers.
But what exactly is employee appreciation?
Employee appreciation refers to strategies and techniques to acknowledge employees' efforts in the organisation. This could be done through both formal and informal channels.
Need for employee appreciation
The growth of an organisation depends on both individual and team efforts. Employee appreciation helps them to see how their contribution matters to the organisation. This gives them a sense of security and trust from the organisation. This will help, as
- Employees won't lose interest in the job.
- Help strengthen the social bond as well as keep one motivated throughout the journey.
- Elevate confidence in the skills as well as overall personality of the employees.
- Lowers down the stressful office environment
- Helps retain the talent and lowers employee turnover
- Encourage high performance and above-average work engagement
Moreover, recognised employees are satisfied employees which also reflects in their social and personal life. Traditional tactics like "employee of the month" and putting an achievement on the bulletin board don’t cut it anymore. So why not try creative employee appreciation ideas by which you can acknowledge your employees’ hard work.
12 fresh ways you can show appreciation for your employees
1. Give surprises (Personalised gifts, paid time off)
Who doesn't like surprises? Like, who? And gifts become more special when given unexpectedly. From crazy gen-z style to typical old school, celebrate achievements in a way employees haven't imagined.
Hints! From giving them a round of applause while they enter the office to surprise them with the big fat cake at lunchtime. All you need is a hardworking employee, his/her recent achievement and a will to acknowledge their effort.
2. Make an effort to remember…
…birthdays, anniversaries, names of kids/spouses. Make a note of these important details – write them down if you have to. Remember you are not dealing with a single individual you are dealing with a person whose problems and social life are attached to him. People feel more valued when you ask them about their problems, help solve a few and congratulate them on their special days.
Try to make birthdays a little special. Special does not necessarily have to be gifts. Be creative, e.g. you can give them a day-off which they can use anytime during the next year.
This idea is the coolest of all. When you are talking about employee appreciation we are not neglecting their performance in future endeavours. So why not try a cool idea that not only helps them feel valued but also enhances their productivity and creativity.
Workation is your saviour. This idea stands for "Work+Vacation" or simply working on a vacation. Take them out of the office, send them on a trip (the trip could be anywhere; from a different city to a neighbouring cafe, any place which is convenient for work and enough to make them feel they are on a vacation.)
4. LinkedIn recommendation
Career development and the right guidance can boost your employees' engagement with the organisation. Appreciate them beyond the workplace more publicly.
You can endorse the skills on LinkedIn or even write a recommendation for their future career growth. Apart from LinkedIn, if they need any referrals or any other organisational outreach, feel free to invest your time in them.
5. Celebrate small wins
Friendly competition is always beneficial. Make relevant and timely goals. Track the progress and celebrate when you achieve that "little" milestone. It doesn't have to be doubling of annual revenue or getting a hundred percent conversions from clients, it just could be anything that shows the extra effort.
After all, a long term goal is nothing but successive attempts to achieve a short-term goal.
6. Public appreciation/ Shout-out on digital spaces
This is a time tested way to increase the self-esteem and confidence of your employees. Appreciate them from the rooftop, tell everyone to anyone about their achievement- their seniors, juniors, colleagues, helping staff etc.
Need more ideas?
Announce wins on digital spaces of your organisation (I.e. website or social media pages) and shout out to their profile. You can also send your praises via email.
7. Handwritten "thank you" notes
It may sound old fashioned but a handwritten note would be stuck in a world full of emojis. Write an informal, conversational but relevant note of thanks and leave it on their desk and watch the magic happen.
8. "Share food", "share problems"
We often maintain a hierarchy with office staff which reflects in lunchtime hours. How to bridge this gap?
Occasionally, bring extra side dishes for them or just share your food. Discuss what they like about the organisation and what needs to be changed.
Your one-on-one conversation will not only make them feel valued but also increase their engagement with the workplace.
9. Encouraging education/mentorship
Give your employees the leverage to learn and upskill their careers on the company's dime. You can discuss their plans and mutually decide upon respective mentorship programs or online courses.
Try to be as helpful as possible, this is the best way to retain your best asset- Employees.
10. Celebrate non-work achievement
Many employees are doing more than their job profile, take a moment to brag about them. Sometimes handling an important meeting or motivating the team in a dire situation goes without appreciation.
Recognise their efforts publicly. Your employees are more than the job they are doing. Appreciate their newly acquired education qualification, support their new social initiative or hobby.
11. Boss for a day
Reward your best employees by making them the "Boss of the day". Of course, you cannot make them the prime decision-maker but you can at least give them the "bonuses" a senior executive has.
Having the premium office cabin, deciding the meal menu or perfect parking spot could be some suggestion to start with.
12. Money is still a charmer
Your company pays a salary for a typical workday. What if they work harder for a project? In this case, shipping a bonus isn't a bad idea. A bonus after finalising a deal will also help new trainees to keep them up for new initiatives.
Remember your wishes and shout outs are all welcome but they won't pay bills.
You can also ask them what type of appreciation they want. And prepare accordingly. Keeping a suggestion and thank you box can also help in communication at all levels.
Finally, don't limit appreciation to just a day or event. Make it a part of your organization’s culture. Good employees, after all, are your most valuable assets and at work, you prioritise them over everything else.
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