February 24, 2002 | Contributed by Simply Noted
If you’re looking for staff appreciation ideas that they’ll love, this article is just the thing. Whether your staff is made up of one person or a thousand people, there are plenty of ways to show them how much they mean to you.
While it can be hard to know what will make everyone happy, we’ve put together a collection of staff appreciation ideas below that are sure to please. From simple gestures like leaving a handwritten note in their inbox at work or responding personally when someone reaches out with an email inquiry, these staff appreciation ideas don’t require a large investment and will have a big impact on how appreciated your team feels!
Remember that it isn’t always how much you spend, or how many perks you roll in. Sometimes it truly is the thought that counts. Show your staff that you’re thinking about them — that you recognize and appreciate their contributions to your company goals — and you’ll boost morale and productivity.
Why Staff Appreciation Ideas Are So Important
Consider the last time you did something important and were recognized for it. How did it feel? If you’re like most people, the answer is “pretty darn good!” The fact is that people like to feel appreciated. They want to know that the things they do make a difference for other people. Without that feedback, even the most interesting jobs can lapse into the repetitive and the boring. Anger and discontent can replace satisfaction, and soon employees may begin to look elsewhere for inspiration.
Consider these statistics from a recent Glassdoor survey. While you might assume most people feel appreciated at work, the survey found that only 68% of people responded saying they feel their bosses acknowledge their contributions often enough. That means a full third of employees are missing that positive feedback.
This is bad news for long-term retention. Employees that don’t feel appreciated are more likely to look for a better work environment. Glassdoor found that half of the respondents — 53% to be exact — would stay at their present job longer if they felt valued and acknowledged.
Imagine the impact simple acts of recognition could have on your churn rates. Half of the employees that normally move on to greener pastures would stay longer, potentially significantly longer, if you showed you appreciated them more often. That’s a 50% reduction in churn without a significant investment.
An Appreciated Staff is a Productive Staff
When your staff feels appreciated, they are more likely to be productive. The feeling of being valued and acknowledged is a motivating one, and it can help staff feel more invested in their work. An appreciated employee is a happier employee. They feel more connected to company goals and feel that the work they do is having a direct impact. This makes them want to contribute more, and work harder; the harder they work and the more they accomplish, the more they’ll be appreciated, leading to even greater levels of job satisfaction.
Without a practice of gratitude, the numbers aren’t good. CNNMoney reported that a surprising 84% of American workers are unhappy in their current job. Without something to keep them focused, they’re likely to stop giving their best. But when you do show appreciation, happiness increases markedly, and happier employees are 31% more productive.
It gets better. Sales go up 37%. Task accuracy increases by 19%. In fact, a wide range of positive indicators goes up when happiness increases. This means that the simple act of showing your staff you appreciate them can help with nearly every aspect of your corporate culture.
If you’re looking for staff appreciation ideas that will make your team feel appreciated, this article is just what you need. In it, we’ll discuss the importance of staff appreciation and offer 15 staff appreciation ideas that your team is sure to love!
15 Staff Appreciation Ideas Everyone Will Love
Try these simple ideas or use them as inspiration for your own. You know what motivates your employees. Use this knowledge to tailor your staff appreciation ideas to fit your culture.
1) Take a staff member out for lunch. You can order in or go out – it doesn’t matter as long as they’re getting some time away from the office. Make sure to pay and thank them for all their hard work before sending them on their way!
Ask about their favorite local restaurant or cuisine. It’s important to make them feel you took them out to lunch on their terms, not yours because the meal is supposed to celebrate them. Don’t choose the cheapest location or the spot that gives you a discount. That might make financial sense, but if you take your staff members to a Mexican restaurant, and they hate tacos and burritos, they’re not likely to feel particularly appreciated.
2) Send a personalized, handwritten note with flowers or balloons thanking the staff member for working so hard. It may seem like an old-fashioned idea, but this is still one of the best ways to be sure staff feels appreciated.
A handwritten note is one of the most personal ways to say think you because they take time to create and require you to really think about what you want to say. They’re personal in a way that an email or text message can’t match.
And with Simply Noted, you don’t need to handwrite the cards yourself. Our advanced handwriting robots use proprietary “Infinity” fonts to replicate the subtle variations found in real handwriting for a fully convincing illusion. We can even replicate your handwriting for the ultimate in realism and personalization.
3) Give a group staff event as a reward for the hard work they’ve done. This could be anything from a company barbecue to an afternoon at a water park, whatever your group enjoys together!
More expensive events, like the water park example, are best for small staffs or single departments. Trying to treat dozens or hundreds of employees this way can get prohibitively expensive. Try and scale your event to fit your resources and your staff preferences. You don’t have to throw a big party. Just throw something in your staff’s honor.
4) Create a staff raffle and use it as a staff appreciation idea. You can do this at staff meetings or as an event on its own. You might start each quarterly meeting with a fun giveaway as a thank you for everyone’s commitment. The more interactive you can make the raffle, the better. Make it an event that everyone looks forward to, and they’re sure to feel appreciated.
5) Offer staff an occasional on-site perk – think yoga class or painting workshop. This both shows staff that you care about their wellbeing and helps staff feel more loyal, dedicated to the company goals.
Other ideas might be an omelet bar, a smoothie station, a free snack bin. Inexpensive perks like the snack bin could be year-round, while yoga classes might occur more infrequently. Poll your staff to discover the perks they’d most appreciate and then figure out which ones you can afford.
6) Give staff an extra personal day off to use as they see fit. This is a great way to thank your staff for putting in extra hours. Particularly if they’re making the sacrifice willingly and without complaining, an extra personal day helps to make up some of the lost time and shows them that you’re aware of the extra effort.
One note: Make sure to remind staffers that this extra day must be requested off like any other paid leave. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a difficult staffing position.
7) Give staff free tickets to the movies or other events in your area. If the staffer has kids, they could take them to the movies for free. If an employee doesn’t have children, they could use it as a date night or just by themselves!
This is an excellent staff appreciation idea for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on staff gifts and still want to be able to say thank you.
8) Sponsor staff-led staff appreciation events. Instead of throwing staff appreciation parties yourself, consider donating some money to staff members who can’t afford supplies or time off work. This both helps your staff feel more appreciated while helping you identify the staff that might need some additional support on another front.
9) Create staff awards with staff input and nominations from peers. Pick a staff member who’s gone above and beyond, or been particularly helpful in some way, to give a staff award out during a staff meeting. This is a great staff appreciation idea that costs little to implement and ensures everyone feels included in the process!
Take this idea to the next level by creating an annual awards event where multiple employees are recognized. You might take this on to your holiday staff party. The holiday season is a natural fit for appreciation exercises, after all. Create a handful of awards, with prizes if desired, and then hand them out to worthy employees on an annual basis.
10) Give employees a staff discount at work. If you have staff that handles your retail or catering operations, consider allowing staff access to special discounts on food and products. This will help staff feel more appreciated and valued while giving staff members some small perks they might not otherwise be able to get.
If you offer services, consider giving employees access for a discounted price. For example, if you offer tax preparation services, allow your staff members to get their taxes done for 25% less than the general public. This provides them a needed service for less and allows them to feel appreciated for the things they do daily.
11) Call out a deserving employee at the beginning of weekly staff meetings. If staff meetings are weekly or even monthly, you have a great opportunity to show staff members that you’re noticing their hard work.
Call out a deserving staff member for their efforts and let them know they’re valued. They’ll appreciate the recognition and will want to keep up their work in order to be named employee of the week (or month) again.
12) Host regular potlucks. This is an excellent idea that keeps things casual while still showing appreciation. Have the company contribute the lion’s share of the meal. Employees can make contributions as well if they choose.
For example, you might provide burgers, dogs, and sausages, plus all the toppings and condiments. Staff members might bring accouterments like chips, salads, drinks, or desserts. They’ll feel as if they’re making a contribution while still enjoying a sizable meal.
13) Give out awards for great ideas. Even if you have an informal staff appreciation idea, it can be nice to recognize staff members for their good ideas. Set up a jar where employees can place notes with their ideas. Then, once a week or once a month, give out awards based on the ideas that are judged most useful or innovative by your company.
14) Ask for staff input before making changes. This allows people to feel like they have a voice, and that you care about their opinion. This simple gesture demonstrates that your company is a team, not a boss and a bunch of subordinates.
Of course, you don’t always need to implement this approach. Sometimes consensus is a bad way to make decisions. But when you can you should do so, particularly when it comes to something important or impactful.
15) Leave a special staff appreciation gift on their desk. There are lots of options to choose from, like a funny mug filled with chocolates, a small box of gourmet cookies, a smart water bottle, or any other small items your staff members would appreciate.
Make it a surprise! Come in early and place a gift on each person’s desk so that they feel the love the moment they enter their office.
Whichever of these 15 staff appreciation ideas you choose, make sure you stress why you’re making the effort. Your staff needs to know that you’re doing it because you appreciate them, otherwise you won’t get as much of the benefit you’re hoping for.