Employee Appreciation Day: 6 Ways to Say Thanks

By Mar 6, 2020

Are you scrambling because you’ve realized it’s Employee Appreciation Day and you don’t have a plan in place? Not to worry! We have some great employee appreciation gift ideas you can use right away.

But before we get started, we’d like to suggest a mercy killing of your “employee of the month” club. Several studies have shown it’s a waste of resources at best, and a morale killer at worst.

Appreciation: The Secret to Motivating Your Team

So why should your company celebrate? According to ProofHub.com, companies that provide ample employee recognition have 31% lower voluntary turnover rates than companies that don’t. Building a culture of appreciation for your team year-round has added benefits, as rewarded behaviors are often repeated. Recognition also helps in building stronger organizations. People like to know that they’ve done a great job; 90% of employees who work in organizations with an effective rewards program said that “my work makes a difference.” If you’re lacking in the team morale department, take this “holiday” as a designated time to boost your team and let them know their work matters.

1. A Simple Thanks on Employee Appreciation Day

Some managers assume that employee appreciation should be offered in monetary form (like Starbucks gift cards or a bonus), but a simple handwritten card to say thanks goes a long way. It’s personable, unique, and the person receiving it knows some thought went into it. Or you could use an app like Ink Cards to mail a card for you. Simply choose your card, enter your message, put in the recipient’s snail mail address, and off it goes.

2. Give an Experience

We live in the age of information, and the data is in: Experiences bring more happiness than buying material things. So brainstorm some ways you can give your employees an amazing experience. Do they like to relax at a spa? Set up a station in the office where they can book a massage for free. Are your employees on OpenTable? Send them a gift card and invite them to take a loved one out on the company. Or pick something with a regional flair depending on where your employees live.

3. Did Someone Say Delivery?

In work settings we get e-mails hitting our inbox continually. As much as we love email, everyone loves real mail even more! Why? Because it’s tactical and it creates an emotional bond. On top of that, real mail endures. You can keep a letter or postcard and slap a magnet on it for the refrigerator. A gift placed on your desk can keep you smiling through the work day. So why not give your employees the best of both worlds with a surprise delivery? It doesn’t have to be something expensive, but should be something thoughtful. You could deliver a fruit basket from Edible Arrangements, a really great book or magazine, or even a pizza for lunch. These little touches go a long way to say, “Thank you for making this team so great!”

4. Extra Education

If you don’t already, consider investing in employee education. That might mean a professional class to beef up on specific business skills, or maybe just something fun like pottery or painting. Just make sure it’s education they actually want to attend. We’d hate for them to be sleeping in class.

5. “ComplimenTREE” Smiles for All

A compliment is always a mood booster when it comes from a genuine place. So why not have your team members join in the fun? Ask everyone to spend a few minutes thinking about what they appreciate most about each of their colleagues. Then collect everyone’s thoughts and share. You could even make an art project, like a digital or paper “tree” with compliments on its leaves.

This promises to be a real morale booster. Not only do team members feel great when they hear why they’re valued by others; it’s also valuable for colleagues to spend time thinking about how much they appreciate their teammates.

6. Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Your Flight

Wanting to build morale for remote workers, but not sure how? Consider a once-a-year flight and companion ticket for their spouse/friend/significant other to join in on a work trip to the office. Make sure your team members get off work early each day during the trip so they can spend time on the town with their plus one.

If your company is on the large side, this will cost very little—one extra airline ticket and maybe a little more on the per diem expenses—but what it does for team morale is huge, as it helps remote workers or commuters feel like a valued part of the larger work family. Priceless.

Make Every Day Employee Appreciation Day

At the best-run companies, every day is Employee Appreciation Day. A strategically placed compliment, a kind word or three, makes all the difference. And without those occasional verbal niceties, no trinket is going to save you. But assuming your employees already feel that sense of appreciation and fulfillment, we hope some of these ideas will put a little icing on the cake.