Employee Appreciation Day is coming up! Each year on the first Friday in March, businesses take time to celebrate their teams. Not only can this make the office (or virtual office!) a more pleasant place to work. It also contributes to a healthy company culture and helps boost employee retention!
Whether your employees are working onsite, remotely, or spread out over multiple locations, these ideas will help you come up with a creative way to recognize your workers for Employee Appreciation Day this year. (Or, let’s be honest, you can use these ideas any day of the year!)
1. Thank you cards
There’s something so special about a handwritten thank you. With cell phones, social media, and other platforms (Teams, Slack, etc.), communication is increasingly shifting to digital media.
While electronic communications can be pretty emotion-less, handwritten notes are so much more personal. As an idea, have your managers write a short, personalized note for each of their teammates.
If workers are in the office, you can place these on their desks or workspaces before they come in. If your team is remote, you can simply mail them out.
Top Tip: Services like Postable allow you to mail a custom card with a “handwritten” message if you’re looking for a simple and affordable way to manage mailings!
2. Virtual happy hour
In lieu of an “IRL” happy hour (COVID-19 is still going around, after all!), another Employee Appreciation idea is a virtual happy hour.
If possible, consider closing early so as not to infringe on employees’ non-work time. Send out a Zoom link, let employees know to BYOB, and voila!
To really maximize your bonding time (and avoid awkward silences), consider playing a game. Here at SDP, we love breaking into teams for Family Feud or using Kahoot to create trivia challenges specific to our team (for example, two truths and a lie).
3. The fastest way to the heart…
…is through the stomach! Another idea is to pick up some miniature versions of workers’ favorite snacks to treat them to a little pick-me-up.
If you’re feeling fancy, companies like SnackNation are a great option to curb your company’s cravings without breaking the bank. They have a variety of “box” options for offices, WFH employees, happy hours, and more!
4. Treat them to lunch
If you still want to show employees some love with food without getting into the nitty-gritty of each individual’s dietary preferences, another option is to just treat them to lunch!
For smaller teams that have been working together in person, this could be a physical lunch or order for delivery to the office. (Personal pizzas, anyone?) An easy solution for remote workers is simply sending a Grubhub gift card.
Top Tip: Grubhub is offering 5% back for businesses who sign up for a Grubhub Corporate account through March 2021–perfect for your Employee Appreciation Day celebration!
5. A video message
With the number of virtual meetings we’ve all attended over the past year, everyone should be pretty comfortable with being on camera by now. So why not record a video message to show your employees appreciation?!
Have managers record a short, personal message for each person on their teams. Cite specific examples and the impact that employee has made on the organization. Be genuine, and really come from a place of gratitude.
The videos are sure to be a hit that your employees will want to rewatch the next time they’re feeling down!
6. Show them what you see
One of the biggest reasons employees leave organizations is that they feel there is no more room for growth for them there. Of course, usually management doesn’t see it that way!
Sadly, in the hustle and bustle of daily tasks, it’s easy for employees to lose sight of the bigger picture. So show them the future you see for them in your organization.
If you haven’t already, take some time to put together Career Paths for your team. Then, sit down with each person to let them know you value them and their contributions, and that you see a future for them at your company!
7. Bring on the benefits
Let’s be honest, we couldn’t create an Employee Appreciation post without mentioning benefits! If you have the means, a tried-and-true way to show employees appreciation is a bonus.
You can also take this time to remind employees of the awesome benefits plan you’ve put together for them. While health benefits might not be as exciting, other benefits such as Wages On Demand, Financial Wellness tools, and Paycards might be a bit more exciting.
Top Tip: These last three are all included for SDP clients at no cost to you as the employer! Let us know if you would like to activate them or request any marketing materials to let employees know about them.
8. Daily doses of appreciation
Beyond the once-a-year big show of appreciation, to really create a positive company culture, we recommend incorporating appreciation into your daily operations. And Employee Appreciation Day is a great time to unveil a new game plan for this!
One idea is to highlight employee accomplishments by sending an email to the whole company to recognize an employee’s good work, having a hall of fame, or even sharing these “shout-outs” on social media.
Here at SDP, we have a Core Values Board with different colored cards for each of our core values. Whenever we see a team member demonstrating one of these core values, we write their name on the card with an explanation of what they did on the back.
Then, at our monthly meeting, we read all the cards from the past month. After the meeting, employees can collect their cards to put on display at their desks!
Top Tip: Since shifting most of our team to remote work during the pandemic, we’re also a big fan of sending “Praise” badges on Microsoft Teams!
9. Listen up!
Ultimately, every team is different. And the most effective way to show appreciation is the way your employees will best receive it.
If you need a little help figuring out what types of recognition will work best for your team, try going old-school and using an anonymous suggestion box! It’s a powerful tool to show your employees you want to listen to them. (As long as you act on the feedback you receive!)
Additionally, opening up this avenue of communication can provide you with valuable insights to improve your company culture and boost employee satisfaction.
What do you think?
What does your current employee appreciation strategy look like? We’d love to hear your own experiences and what has worked for your business! And don’t forget to let us know in the comments below which of the strategies above you plan to implement in your own organization. Want more HR tips and tricks to decrease turnover and increase profits? Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make sure you never miss a beat!
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