21 Ideas to Show Appreciation

What are ways to promote appreciation in the workplace?

Americans spend 8.7 hours per day working. At least one-third of your life is spent conducting work-related activities, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics More than 70 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged at work, reported by Gallup Polls on Employee Engagement.

Acknowledging positive behavior is the best way to perpetuate it. One way to create a positive workplace that engages employees and team members is by appreciating and rewarding people for their hard work. This will help by motivating them and improving employee retention. If you have a human resources department, this is a great job for them. If you have a small business it doesn’t always have to be your task to organize, this is a great option for practicing task delegation. Seek out a team member that is enthusiastic, and pass this task to them. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of implementing something like an employee appreciation day, seek out a mentor or take a business coaching class. It’s okay to follow in the footsteps of great leaders. Everyone learned to become an effective leader, by first understanding what their own successes and failures look like.

Here is a short list of ways to acknowledge co-workers and show employee appreciation:

1. Send a handwritten note.

In a digital era, handwritten notes are rare and can have a huge impact on the recipient. A thoughtful handwritten note is often saved by being taped in their work area or saved in a drawer that is referenced many times over.

“We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” -Albert Schweitzer

2. Display a photo of the person.

Have a Wall of Fame that highlights all of your employees. Add their photo on the company website and post it on company social media sites. Also, submit the photo with newspaper press releases. If you have a human resources department, this is a great job for them. If you have a small business it doesn’t always have to be your task to organize. Seek out a team member that is enthusiastic, this is a great option for practicing task delegation. Keep in mind, the best practice is to use a professional photo.

3. Hold an appreciation ceremony.

This can be a formal event or as informal as part of an agenda item for your weekly team meeting where you take a few minutes for employees to verbally acknowledge the efforts of coworkers. Staff appreciation ceremonies offer public recognition for both large-scale and small-scale tasks. Many times, the tiny tasks that an employee accomplishes in a day and completely overlooked company-wide because “it gets done,” but no one bothers to see who does it. Team building is cultivated when people appreciate and trust.

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” -William James

4. Give away a gift card of your choice.

A smorgasbord of gift cards to choose from ranging in free gas, free meals, free hotel stays, or whatever. You can offer it randomly you can tie it to performance milestones, or both. This is, not only a great shout-out to someone, but it is a creative way to incentivize others in the future.

5. Offer a paid day off.

Everyone can use a day to take care of personal issues, their well-being, or to enjoy a little more leisure time. A paid day off can afford a three-day weekend or another excursion. It can provide the opportunity for the recipient to simply relax from the pressures of everyday life. These small perks encourage a work/life balance and let your staff know that you care about their wellness and home life as much as you do their job.

6. Give credit to others.

Cite your sources, publicly applaud the ideas of others and recognize the people in your life that have helped you. After all their good work deserves a pat on the back. A deep sense of admiration and respect is built when a person gives credit to others. The opposite occurs when a person claims all the credit for him or herself.

“Everybody likes a compliment.” -Abraham Lincoln

7. Cater a monthly lunch.

Have lunch brought in, or hire a food truck. This time allows employees to eat with other coworkers. Take a few minutes to let everyone know how much the company values its contributions. This can be a great opportunity to acknowledge others for their efforts. It can also serve to celebrate the birthdays of employees during that month, work anniversaries, or all of the above and more. Don’t forget your remote employees on these special occasions. Give them an extra hour for lunch, or ship them some gift cards. They put in those zoom hours like a champ, and they deserve the same kudos. We all remember how hard life was during the pandemic. remote workers are just as valuable as those ones using the parking spots.

8. Provide development training.

Offering ongoing training in areas like team building, leadership, effective communication, goal setting, and time management are just some of the offerings a company can provide to build a powerful company culture. It also helps to improve their personal life! This special day is intended to expand personal growth and teach them new skills that they can bring back to the workplace and hopefully ignite enthusiasm and passion from within. This may be the most important offering of appreciation because enthusiasm is contagious.

“Character building begins in our infancy, and continues until death.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

9. Say, thank you.

It’s easy to offer your appreciation, just say “thank you.” It only takes two seconds to build employee morale! For some people uttering these words is like an act of Congress. For others, they have simply fallen out of the day-to-day habit of being courteous. Make it a point, on a regular basis, to say thank you when people honor your requests or when someone does or says something nice to you.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” -Mark Twain

10. Give VIP Tickets.

Furnish tickets to their favorite famous band, professional sports game, art show, or any event that they would enjoy that offers special treatment to attendees. It is a tax write-off and can be the greatest reward for an employee’s hard work.

11. Provide random gifts.

Create an inventory that coworkers can grab from to give to each other anonymously or in person. Work swag is fun! It can be as simple as new pens or company logo note cards, or small boxed of candy to have at their desk. Each item is accompanied by a note that shares words of appreciation.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” –Dalai Lama

12. Rotating trophy.

Get a trophy that circulates through your team. Each person awarded the trophy holds it for one week and then passes it on to another coworker. Each pass-off from one trophy holder to another must announce why the person is receiving the trophy. This can also work for employee of the month. They can have the trophy at their desk for the month. Perhaps whoever has the trophy also gets a preferred parking spot for that month as well.

13. Give the power of voice.

Create a culture of insight and innovation by allowing employees to be heard. This confirms that you value their opinion and perspective. Important ideas come from both ends of the organizational structure.

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” -Henry David Thoreau

14. Be polite.

Politeness opens doors while rudeness closes them. We make requests so that people will carry them out. One tool to increase the probability of gaining the help you want is to attach the word “please” when asking. Be sincere, too. If you are not sincere in your approach then your efforts will backfire. Be genuine.

15. Implement a succession plan.

Develop a mentor and mentee program to develop your next level of leaders. Match current leaders with future leaders to share and transfer knowledge and encourage teamwork. Offering advancement through mentoring makes one feel accepted and appreciated.

16. Provide autonomy.

Set forth the expectations that are to be met. Providing the necessary training to meet or exceed performance is necessary. Then, allow independence and self-determination to fulfill defined expectations. Being mindful to avoid the pitfall of micromanagement is imperative. Freedom to perform is appreciation in action.

  “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” -Henry Ford

17. Go for the win/win.

Successful relationships are achieved when both parties’ needs are fulfilled. When fulfilling the needs of others, you are allowing them to walk away feeling good. Developing a win/win outcome establishes a positive connotation with the experience, which ultimately sets the tone for future interactions.

18. Offer an award plaque.

Have a special plaque with their name and achievement on it that can be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf honoring them.

  “There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” -Mother Teresa

19. Support community outreach.

Employees generally have a special cause they like to volunteer their time. Let employees use a couple of hours per month or per year of company time to give back to the community.

20. Ask instead of telling.

Generally, resent being told what to do. Exercise the habit of asking people to do what you would like them to do instead of telling them what to do. Remember, people, respond much better when they are asked rather than told. Don’t you?

“I have yet to find a man, however, exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” -Charles Schwab

21. Encourage collaboration.

Create a culture that collaborates on projects and departmental and organizational goals. Allow for brainstorming and input from everyone on how to best achieve goals. When onboarding a new employee, reach out to other staff members, let them know who is coming, and encourage your star players to reach out.

22. Compliment more than you criticize.

Search for ways you can compliment. If you are only criticizing, it will be hard to establish a positive working relationship that is needed to achieve organizational goals. Perhaps you have an exemplary employee and their workspace is clutter-free. Celebrate that with a public compliment. They aren’t paid to be tidy, but the effort they put in, to show pride in their job deserves an accolade.

“I suppose my best attribute if you want to call it that, is sincerity. I can sell that because that is the way I am.” John Wayne

23. Create a culture of engagement. Use a few of these ideas on how to acknowledge others and show appreciation.

By creating an employee recognition program You not only show employee appreciation, but you are cultivating a team-building work environment. Employee morale and camaraderie in the workplace are imperative for a positive work environment. People as a whole do more when they are recognized for it and are valued. It is worth the extra time.

Best of success to you!

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