Celebrate with these easy employee appreciation ideas!

Need last-minute employee appreciation ideas? Try a build-your-own-sundae ice cream social. (Photo via poptech, Flickr)

Are you scrambling for last-minute ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, or are you looking for ideas to appreciate your team throughout the year? Either way, we have you covered. While a big appreciation dinner is a treat for employees, it’s not the only way to show gratitude for their hard work. Everyday expressions of gratitude can be just as meaningful. Simple gestures such as saying thank you can foster a culture of gratitude, where appreciation is shared frequently and effortlessly. Research has shown that 78% of employees would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated.

Here are 10 employee appreciation ideas that you can execute on the fly:

Employee Appreciation Ideas - Going the Extra Mile!

Employee appreciation isn’t about fancy plaques and awards. It’s about sharing your appreciation in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Have fun this Employee Appreciation Day!

1. Host an Ice Cream Social

Spring is in the air! Thank your team with an impromptu ice cream social. It’s easy to gather supplies and have managers or members of the leadership team scoop ice cream for employees.

2. Tell the local newspaper about an employee’s good deed

Share a feel-good story about an employee who went above and beyond at work or demonstrated kindness on the job. It gives much-deserved public recognition to the employee and is great PR for your company. (Find examples in our blog post on “4 Inspiring Stories of Workplace Kindness.”)

3. Get the ball rolling on an employee-led “recognition committee”

Organize an employee-led committee to build year-round appreciation within your organization. It’s an engagement effort that’s worked well at the University of Calgary.

4. Let employees to recharge over an extra-long lunch break

Encourage your staff to take an extended lunch break and recharge in the middle of a long workday. Better yet, treat your team to a long lunch at a local restaurant and express your thanks to employees.

5. Bring in breakfast

A breakfast spread of doughnuts, bagels, coffee, and juice can set a positive tone for the rest of the workday. Wish everyone a Happy Employee Appreciation Day and spend time socializing over the breakfast treats.

6. Nominate an employee for an award

Internal or external awards are a great way to show appreciation. Let your nominee know privately that you’ve nominated them and why.

7. Encourage managers to thank their team

Encourage your company’s lower-level managers and supervisors to thank employees for outstanding work. Praise that is specific to recent accomplishments can make appreciation more genuine and heartfelt. For more tips on sharing appreciation, check out our blog post “7 Ways to Thank Employees Better.”

8. Write a handwritten Thank You letter

Be inspired to start a Thank You note-writing habit! It’s a habit many successful CEOs have started early in their careers because it’s so effective and memorable. For step-by-step letter-writing tips, download our free ebook on writing employee Thank You notes at Thanksgiving or anytime of year.

9. Share small appreciation gifts

You can buy little gifts of appreciation to share with your team such as bags of candy, movie tickets, or $5 ice cream gift certificates. Don’t forget to include a short note with your tokens of appreciation.

10. Say “Thanks!”

The simplest and most spontaneous way to show your gratitude is to say thank you. It’s also the most powerful.
Feeling tongue-tied? That’s natural. Due to outdated myths, the workplace is the last place many of us feel comfortable thanking others. If thanking employees feels awkward or forced, read this excellent research-backed Greater Good Science Center article on why workplace gratitude is so rare — and how to change that unfortunate dynamic, today.
However you choose to share your sincere thanks, your employees will appreciate you care. We hope you and your colleagues have a joyful day celebrating your workplace.

Make Employee Appreciation Day Every Day: Download Your Calendar Now

Celebrate appreciation in the workplace all year long while invigorating your employee recognition planning for the year! Download gThankYou’s FREE “Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar” today and start building an everyday culture of gratitude that employees will love. You’ll find inspiration and employee appreciation ideas for every month and day of the year.
As in previous years, the gThankYou calendar is jam-packed with insights into the latest HR trends, how-to tutorials for engaging and thanking employees, case studies to inspire you, examples of holidays to celebrate each month, and research statistics to help you make the business case for appreciation.
Download yours FREE today!

2023 Employee Celebration Calendar

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Order Certificates

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Step 2

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Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

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