Showing staff members appreciation has benefits for your entire company, there’s no doubt about it. But don’t take this article too literally and think that one day a year is enough — because it definitely isn’t. You should be recognising your employees’ hard work all year round! Simply saying “thank you” is an act of recognition in itself and at the very least we should all be doing that.

Now, we understand showing appreciation is challenging at times, depending on how your business is structured. This is why we’ve categorised our 21 employee appreciation ideas into three sections that cover high achievers, remote employees, and teams.

Employee Appreciation Day ideas that reward good work

If you want to recognise your high achievers but are unsure where to begin, our suggestions should give you some inspiration.

Our appreciation day ideas that reward good work include:

1.   Offering e-learning classes or a course of their choice

High-performing employees often show an interest in what they do — after all, they’re experts in their field. If an employee has a specialism, such as SEO and CRO, they’ll likely need continuing education, such as going on courses to stay up to date. If your company culture places value on learning, you’ll already know courses are essential for ongoing development, especially in knowledge-based industries. But did you know that offering extra learning opportunities as a reward — even when they’re unrelated to work — is also highly effective at boosting motivation and engagement?

Remote worker enjoying virtual employee appreciation on her laptop.

2.   Recognising their performance at an awards evening

Organising an awards evening once or even twice a year is a great way to boost employee morale. Everyone loves an excuse to get dressed up and go to an event, and what better reason is there than appreciating your colleagues? Awards evenings don’t have to be too serious and can include a range of fun and engaging categories. In addition to a prestigious award, such as Employee of the Year, consider an award for something like Best Listener award for those who uphold your values and promote your company culture.

3.   Giving them the opportunity to work with a mentor

Lots of employees have career aspirations and some star performers may want to learn more about company leadership, especially if they see themselves progressing in your organisation. For this reason, offering time with a senior colleague who they can either shadow or assist would be invaluable. The amount of time the employee gets with your business leaders is of course up to you to decide. Nevertheless, it’s important to give them enough contact time so that the experience is worthwhile. Offering the opportunity to work in another department is a similar idea, which may have greater scope in terms of what a person will learn.

Learn more about how you can appreciate your employees with Perkbox

HR managers discussing how to appreciate employees effectively

4.   Making them part of the decision-making process

We understand some companies would baulk at this idea, but because this reward has such a positive impact, it’s worth keeping an open mind. Now, you probably wouldn’t put a very junior team member in charge of making pivotal investment decisions. But there are plenty of other areas where they can offer a contribution. Think about it — as a senior leader you may not fully understand a junior employee’s experience. So, what better way to learn about what goes on at the coalface of the business than by hearing their opinions?

HR team having an employee appreciation meeting

5.   Showing appreciation with additional annual leave

This may be an obvious gesture to include, but it’s surprising the number of organisations who don’t think to offer this. Giving hardworking employees additional annual leave when they have consistently delivered a high standard of work benefits everyone. We all know the benefits of taking regular breaks, the most significant being the prevention of burnout. However, giving people more downtime when they’ve earned it also helps them maintain a high level of productivity.

6.   Rewarding them with something meaningful

What is a meaningful reward? Unsurprisingly there isn’t a straightforward answer. For appreciation to be meaningful it has to be personal, so avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach. That said, a good employee appreciation program typically has a huge range of rewards that appeal to lots of people. We all have different hobbies, interests and preferences. So for a reward program to do a good job, it needs to include something for everyone, like our Reward tool.

Teammates applauding each other on Employee Appreciation Day

7.   Letting them choose the next lunch and learn topic

If you hold regular lunch and learn sessions, high-performing employees will likely appreciate choosing a speaker for a topic they’re interested in. Alternatively, they may want to learn more from a manager in a specific department. Either way, discussing your employees’ interests demonstrates you care and want to understand them on a deeper level. It may not seem like it at first, but this small gesture really has a positive effect on employee happiness and engagement.  

Employee Appreciation Day ideas for teams

Focusing on how you can reward your employees as teams has several benefits. When you shift your attention to groups instead of individual employees you’ll likely see additional improvements in collaboration.

Our appreciation day ideas that reward teams include:

8. Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition

Team members who receive regular recognition from their colleagues are more productive and have increased self-esteem. Unlike monetary or management recognition, peer-to-peer recognition is more informal — but as effective.

Lots of organisations turn to software, such as an employee recognition program to increase appreciation. With Perkbox employees can leave each other personalised shout-outs and tie them to company values. So you know what behaviours contribute to your culture and drive business success.

Learn more about different types of recognition tools here

9. Taking them out for team lunch or a meal

Meals are a great way for teams to share conversations and celebrate a job well done. While rewarding your employees with lunch is a traditional way of showing appreciation, don’t discount it because of this. Granted, with more people working from home, organising a sit-down lunch isn’t as easy as it used to be. However, with the rise of delivery apps you can still organise a lunch virtually. Why not send them all a takeaway voucher as a treat? If your remote teams do live locally though, we always recommend catching up in person, particularly if you don’t see each other weekly in the office.

10. Making time for fun team-building games

Team games aren’t just a tool to increase engagement in meetings. They’re actually really useful for recharging and reconnecting team members. Putting time aside every now and then for structured social events benefits your entire team. Not only do they get a break from what they’re working on, but they also get to catch up with their colleagues. Not to mention, team-building activities are essential for new employees who are still finding their feet and want to get to know more people. 

Employees enjoying a team building game and wearing colorful glasses

11. Focussing on group wellbeing

Creating group wellbeing events is another way to appreciate employees who want to make changes to their lifestyle but need extra support. This can be especially useful if they’re not used to working out in a gym or have never experienced talking therapy. Hosting group mindfulness webinars for example, means teams learn about meditative techniques together. Also, breaking down these barriers may encourage them to use your wellbeing resources more, which could result in a better ROI.

12. Making recognition public during a town hall

Public recognition is a powerful motivator. Giving team members praise during a town hall when other employees are present makes them feel seen and valued. Additionally, if managers and other senior staff make a habit of public recognition it encourages employees to appreciate each other more. Giving recognition is contagious and the more employees practise it, the stronger your culture will be.

Learn more about how to boost morale within your organisation

13. Creating a team hall of fame

While a team hall of fame tends to be more common in sports, who says you can’t introduce one in your organisation? Just like the photographs of high-scoring players hung in stadiums, your hall of fame should show any visitor who your best people are. We suggest creating a gallery wall in your reception area where you have room to include teams from different departments. Some organisations find a team hall of fame photo is preferred by employees, especially those who aren’t as comfortable being photographed on their own.

14. Creating a break room that encourages communication

You should never underestimate the effect of a well-put-together break room. Gone are the days of dingy low-lit environments with one microwave and kettle. Don’t forget the purpose of a break room is to give your employees a place to relax and clear their minds. If you know a lot of your employees play video games, how about introducing a games station? Or, if the majority are bookworms, creating a library aesthetic with stacks of books and big comfy chairs is both functional and cosy.

Team members enjoying a culture of staff appreciation

The benefits of employee recognition and appreciation

According to a Gallup survey, employee appreciation and recognition inspires:1

  • A sense of meaning and purpose: 74% of team members who receive consistent praise say they find their work is more valuable and useful.
  • Trust: 66% of employees trust teams who receive regular praise.
  • Higher quality work: 66% of employees agree that when the whole team receives praise the quality of their work increases.

Additionally, when employees feel valued, they tend to collaborate more and don’t engage in self-protective behaviours such as information hoarding. Finally, appreciation boosts productivity while keeping turnover low.

Learn more about recognition and reward with our helpful guide

Employee appreciation day ideas for remote workers

Showing remote workers appreciation doesn’t need to be challenging. Obviously, when people work from home you can’t thank them in person, but there are other ways to let them know you value their contributions.

Our appreciation day ideas that reward remote workers include:

15. Creating a digital hall of fame

Unlike a regular hall of fame, a digital hall of fame occupies space on your intranet, instead of the reception wall. Because not every company has an intranet, we wanted to develop a feature within our platform where organisations can share information with ease. With Perkbox you can share what matters most with our digital cards. If you’re feeling creative you can design your own, but we have a range of templates too. All of our cards support attachments such as photo and video files, in addition to PDFs.

16. Planning a retreat

If you have the budget this is a really good way to bring your remote colleagues together. Naturally, the cost of a retreat will vary depending on where your teams are based. However, if they all live in the same country, hiring a lodge for a long weekend will help them get to know each other better in person. We recommend introducing a mix of team building and social events to break the ice. Similar to wellbeing or writing retreats, you could even include an educational element too.

17. Creating fun food socials

Employees love free food, arguably remote employees more so as they don’t benefit from office snacks and subsidised canteens. For special events, such as hitting a company milestone or celebrating record sales, you could organise a surprise treat, such as a gourmet lunch hamper. You could even arrange a time you open the hampers together so everyone shares the surprise over a video call. For relaxed socials, there are things like pizza lunch Fridays and coffee mornings.

Supported team enjoying a food based social event together.

18. Sending them a subscription box

The great thing about subscription boxes is there are so many. From luxury stationery to artisan coffee you’re bound to find something that resonates with your employees. If you have a staff recognition program it’s worth checking if it includes a subscription box option. With Perkbox we offer Reward points which people can spend on a range of things, including subscription boxes. Examples include coffee and wine boxes, or even digital subscriptions such as Spotify!

19. Keeping them in mind though they’re out of sight

If you’ve recently shifted to a hybrid way of working you may find it tricky to stay on top of key dates, such as birthdays and work anniversaries.

To help with this, a growing number of companies are investing in an employee appreciation platform, so they can send birthday wishes and a gift card on the day. Employees feel appreciated and valued when employers have taken the time to remember a personal event. While actions like this may seem small, together they form the foundation of a strong employee experience.

20. Giving their desk an upgrade

Working from home has lots of benefits. Aside from not having to commute, employees get to personalise their desk space more than they would in an office. So one idea is to send them items that will help with this. Who wouldn’t want to brighten up their home office with potted plants and prints of abstract art? You could even go the extra mile and buy them a designer lamp, or gift them a mug warmer. Regardless of where they’re working, place a high value on personalised gifts, as you’ve taken the time to learn what they like.

21. Treating them to a free coffee

It’s pretty common to have free hot drinks and snacks when working in an office. But when an employee is based at home these perks are obviously unavailable, which isn't a great experience.

However, employee engagement software can help bridge this gap. With Perkbox, employees get access to Flexi points which they receive every month. You just simply have to set the allowance. They can then spend these on a wide range of Flexi Perks, including free food and drink! Flexi Perks also include wellbeing and entertainment options.

Happy employee walking around with her free coffee

To encourage recognition — be it peer-to-peer or from management — companies often find all-in-one global employee reward solutions very cost-effective. This is because they contain a number of additional features that benefit other employee experience touchpoints, such as benefits and wellbeing.

Recognise and reward employees with Perkbox

Employee recognition and appreciation form the foundations of a strong culture. Without it, employees feel disconnected and lose interest in their work. Fortunately, there are many ways to show recognition and our employee appreciation ideas are a great starting point.

Generally, the more you treat employees with respect, the more people hear about it. This typically results in two outcomes. Firstly you attract new team members, which is essential for business growth. Secondly, you build a highly loyal customer base because people admire your healthy business ethics and values.

Want to know how Perkbox can help you reach your recognition goals?

Employee appreciation: your FAQs answered

When is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March. But you shouldn’t see it as a justification to reward employees just once a year. Showing employees appreciation should be a regular practice. Employee Appreciation Day was introduced to honour employees everywhere and there are many ways to celebrate it. For example, you could hold an employee awards event on the day or buy everyone a free coffee.

How do you show appreciation to employees?

How do you appreciate employees on Employee Appreciation Day?

Learn how you can reward and recognise with Perkbox

Celebrate and motivate your employees no matter where they’re working — in one building, remotely or across multiple locations.

  • Create a culture of appreciation that engages employees wherever they are
  • Boost productivity and employee retention
woman with trophy
Back to top