Employee Appreciation Ideas Your Team Will Love

10 min. read

Showing appreciation to your your employees promotes morale, and builds positive workplace relationships.

Showing your employees that you appreciate them promotes morale, increases production, reinforces quality performances, and builds positive relationships in the workplace.But, how can you recognize your employees in a genuine manner that will celebrate the impact they have on your business? In this article, you will discover ways to recognize and reward your employees to build a stronger corporate culture through appreciation.

Why employee recognition is important

According to recent studies, recognition increases employee engagement, productivity, and performance by 14 percent. Employee recognition is a critical component of building a highly engaged workforce. Creating a culture of continuous employee recognition will benefit both your organization and the people working within it.

Employee recognition is important in the workplace as it influences:


Everyone likes to know that they are doing a good job. When you take the time to show your employees that you see and appreciate their efforts they are more likely to feel like a valued member of the team. If you go to the effort of demonstrating the positive impact they are having on your business it will increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction at work. Human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity, in fact, happy employees are on average 12 percent more productive than their less-happy co-workers.


Showing your employees you appreciate them, even by simply thanking them for their work, builds an atmosphere of trust. Once an employee knows that their contributions are being recognized by their superiors, they develop a deeper connection to leadership. When recognized in the last month, 86 percent of employees indicated higher levels of trust in that boss.

Retention Rates

Showing employees appreciation can result in higher retention rates, which increases productivity levels for individual employees and the organization as a whole. This means that by recognizing your employees and celebrating their achievements you are less likely to have to hire new team members. This can have a serious impact on your business as a single new hire can result in as many as 42 days in lost or compromised productivity.

Employee appreciation ideas your team will love

So, we know why showing your employees appreciation is important, but how do you go about it? Put a strategic plan in action that will carry sincere meaning for your team using some of the following employee appreciation ideas:

Celebrate Team Birthdays

The simple act of recognizing an employee’s birthday is first and foremost a nice thing to do, but also contributes positively to the employee experience. Showing appreciation on an employee’s birthday makes the individual feel rewarded and increases their emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. You could send them a gift, cater a meal, or get a cake if the employee works in the office, or give them a day off that they can use whenever they want. Birthdays are special events and if a team member has to work on that day, they should feel celebrated.

Highlight Anniversaries

Work anniversaries are major milestones and should not be overlooked. Each year with a great team member is an achievement that should be celebrated with purpose. An employee's work anniversary is a great opportunity to thank them for the impact they've made over the past 12 months. Make sure that gifts or messages of thanks are personal to that team member, the more you focus on their individual achievements, the more evident it will be that you care about their contributions.

Track Team Wins

Don’t just wait for birthdays or work anniversaries to celebrate your team and their efforts. You should show your appreciation frequently and a good way to do this is by rewarding your teams based on achieving set targets or goals. As your employees reach a particular goal, you can not only congratulate their hard work but spur them on with a suitable reward.

Personalize Rewards

Sometimes it will be necessary to have a standard, universal reward system, but when possible, show your appreciation in a manner that is unique to your individual employees. Find out what they like, what they are interested in, or what their hobbies are, and choose perks that relate to that information. The extra effort you put in will show that you truly care about your team and celebrate their individuality.

Give Career-Based Rewards

Career-based rewards are good for employees and will benefit your business as well. You could send employees to leadership training, grant them a mentorship program, gift them a business book, or let them choose online classes they would like to take. Show your employees you are invested in them and their careers.

Recognize Non-Work Related Achievements

You may not realize it but there will be members of your team who are doing incredible things outside of work. Spend some time finding out if your employees are carrying out charity work, volunteering, or winning sporting prizes and recognize them for it at a team meeting. Most people don’t like to boast. Do the boasting for your team.

Surprise Treats

Not everyone loves surprises, but it’s safe to say everyone likes a treat. Whether you treat an individual employee or the entire team, the element of surprise will reinforce a culture of appreciation. You can keep it simple, take them out for lunch, leave cupcakes in the office break room, or send your remote workers a donut delivery. Treating someone, just because, will make them feel valued.

Encourage Cheers From Peers

Make it easy for your employees to show appreciation for one another. This could mean dedicating some time at a team meeting to allow staff members to discuss why they want to thank or congratulate their co-workers or encouraging messages of positivity on online communication tools. Empowering your employees to show their appreciation for each other builds stronger working relationships and creates a greater sense of belonging. Building a culture of mutual support, encouragement and appreciation will strengthen the bonds between team members and by genuinely celebrating one another you effectively minimize any internal competitiveness or jealousies.

Bring Your Dog to Work Day

This might not be possible in all organizations but, if feasible, allow your pet-centric employees to bring their dogs to work for the day. Office pets have been proven to reduce stress and help foster relationships between co-workers. You may lose a few minutes of productivity due to picture taking or swooning over the fur babies, but your employees will be smiling all day. (Note of warning — make sure there are no serious pet allergies in the office before trying this one.)

Time to Party!

There are plenty of ways to show appreciation for individuals on your team, but it is also a great idea to celebrate together, as a complete team, on other special occasions. Think outside the box, this doesn’t just have to mean a work holiday function, you could throw a party when project goals are met, or simply because it’s a Friday. Choose a time when your team has worked especially hard or when they might need a boost.

National Employee Appreciation Day

Did you know that there is an official holiday that encourages employee recognition? National Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday in March and it is a great opportunity to thank your employees for all their hard work. While it is important to show appreciation all year round, observing this holiday can help to improve engagement, foster a culture of recognition, and strengthen the bond between employer and employee.

You can celebrate by offering gifts, setting up a specific event, or by letting employees leave work early on that day. If you inform your employees as to why they are receiving this special treatment it will show them that as an organization you value your team members and want them to feel respected and appreciated.

Our Conclusion

There are countless ways that you can show your employees that you value and appreciate them, ranging from a simple thank you, to large bonuses. The important point to remember is that to build a solid culture of recognition, you need to show appreciation all year round and encourage your employees to celebrate each other’s achievements and milestones. You don’t need to do everything listed above, but put a strategic plan into action that suits your organization and team members that will work to everyone’s benefit.