12 Proven Ideas To Show Appreciation For Your Employees And Colleagues

by / ⠀NatureBox Employee Engagement How-tos Office Snacks / November 30, 2021

employee appreciation ideas - latte and a thank you note on table flatlay

Your team means the world to you, but do your actions as a leader show it? 

While trendy office perks, hefty bonuses, or half-day Fridays are a nice way to reward employees, a more personal (and proven) approach can show how much you truly value them.


1. Make time for everyone to connect

One of the best ways to do this? Host team-building events with heart. This means you do more than just get everyone to sit across from each other at Happy Hour. Think creatively about what makes sense for your team, specifically. Maybe it’s:

  • Trivia 
  • Field days
  • Lunchtime yoga
  • Work picnics
  • A monthly book club

The idea is to find something that encourages everyone to connect on a deeper level about more than just work.


2. Collect and implement their feedback

If you’re not sure what your coworkers and colleagues want… ask them!

Survey your staff to find out what they’d like to see from you as far as how you show your appreciation for them. You may be surprised at the results, but you can feel confident that you’re rewarding your team with something they truly value. 


3. Celebrate them consistently

A study of over a million people found that employees are likely to leave after only a year of employment, especially if there’s nothing tying them to that particular job. One way you can create a thread so they’re less likely to move on? Celebrate them!

Whether it’s a work anniversary, birthday, or because your company met a sales goal, be sure to publicly (and privately) acknowledge them. You want them to know they’re a valued member of your team and are not easily replaceable.


4. Give them a thoughtful gift

And if they’re truly irreplaceable, illustrate this by gifting them something only they can appreciate. 

Wondering what the ROI behind this is? A personalized, high-quality gift creates a feeling of being valued and fosters a sense of belonging. If you need gift ideas that are both memorable and unique, you can start here.


5. Provide opportunities for their development

As amazing as gifts are, they’re not the end-all-be-all to keep your team motivated and happy. Especially in the current workplace climate. 

Many companies and employees alike are unsure of what the future holds as remote and hybrid work environments become the standard. However, the time-tested human need for development remains. 

In a June 2021 survey with Amazon, Gallup found that 57% of U.S. workers want to update their skills and 48% would consider switching jobs to do it. Employees demand growth and development and studies like this show they’ll leave companies that don’t provide it for companies that do. Make sure you’re the latter.


6. Make a day out of it

While Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March, you can do something special for your team any day of the year.

The idea is to honor your employees as individuals, not only as workers. Each person brings something uniquely valuable to the company and the culture, so how you can you truly show each of them how much you appreciate their presence? 

The best way to do this is to set time aside – this will make any of your employees with Quality Time as their Love Language feel especially valued. Maybe that means you encourage your team to take a half-day to pursue their hobbies or host a game night. Whatever it is, take time to choose something that will truly express how much you care about them.


7. Prioritize their health and wellbeing in the workplace

There are a few ways you can start doing this right away.

Encourage your colleagues and employees to get adequate sleep, move their bodies during the day, and not let vacation hours go to waste. Lead by example when it comes to taking lunch away from your desk to come back refreshed. Or simply make sure everyone in the office knows it’s safe to put their mental health first.

Better yet? Create a comprehensive workplace wellness program to introduce (or solidify) the culture of wellbeing for your company.


8. Feed them good food

Baking wellness into your company’s culture also enables your team to understand the role of their individual wellbeing so they can see how it contributes to the health of the company as a whole. 

A simple way to boost wellbeing and morale is to give your team something satisfying to snack on. It’s even more effective if the food is thoughtfully curated based on their eating habits. From spicy snacks and gluten-free options to food you can bring on your work trip, you can find something delicious for everyone to appreciate. 


9. Make time for the issues they care about

Although within the office is a great place to start, employee appreciation and morale extend far beyond those four walls. 

According to Gartner HR research, 68% of employees would consider leaving their employer for an organization that takes a stronger stance on societal and cultural issues. One Deloitte survey also found that most people believe that giving back activities, such as volunteering, boost employee morale better than other events.

Understand that your employees are individuals first. They may advocate for organizations and volunteer on their own, so why not offer your support? This can go a long way in their eyes. 


10. Let their voice be heard

Something to note here: Appreciation isn’t just a game or reward system. It should be built into your culture. One way to do that is to give your employees a real sense of choice and an actual voice.

Great leaders like you understand that you’re not the only person capable of making good decisions or coming up with innovative ideas. If you believe in the people you hired, let them be heard.


11. Express gratitude and recognize them for their efforts often

Speaking of being heard, don’t hold off on recognizing employees until their annual performance review. Instead, you can keep them motivated and engaged by providing recognition on a regular basis. In doing so, you make it a part of your culture. 


12. Provide a path to promotion

Last but certainly not least, nothing tells your employees you appreciate the value they bring to your company more than increasing their responsibilities (and pay!). Make sure everyone in the office, not just those recently onboarded, is clear about opportunities for growth within the company. Remember, people crave growth and development.

If you ever run out of ways to show your employees and colleagues that they’re valued, refer to these 12 ideas to illustrate how much you appreciate them as individuals and team members. 

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