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#1 Guide on Employee Appreciation [2024]

January 15, 2023
8 Min Read
Photo by
Jerzy Wierzy

‍Table of Contents:

What is employee appreciation?

Employee appreciation recognizes employee accomplishments, hard work, and dedication. It's making employees feel valued in their roles at your company. Employee appreciation encourages employee motivation in the workplace and helps employee morale remain high during tough times when employee satisfaction has taken a nosedive. And it helps build a team culture where everyone works toward the same goals. 

Why is employee appreciation important?

A corporate culture that includes employee recognition is powerful because it helps employees understand their value within an organization. This makes them feel appreciated and allows them to see their true worth. This can lead to a positive employee experience and an increase in productivity, creativity, and motivation. In time, employee appreciation will be seen as one of the most important assets for companies looking to grow from being just an office entity to becoming a household brand name.

Employee appreciation ideas are important because they can help retain employees. If team members are happy with what they're doing, they're much more likely to stick around, and employee retention is the number one way for companies to maintain their competitive edge. In addition, a happy employee is hardworking, and a workplace needs happy, hardworking employees to thrive.

Definition of employee appreciation

Employee appreciation is integral to employee engagement and helps create an atmosphere of mutual respect. Appreciation days are dedicated events that allow employers to show their gratitude for their staff by giving out rewards, recognizing achievements, and providing employees with a token of appreciation such as gift cards or vouchers. Employee Appreciation day can also involve taking time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of an individual or a team.

Employee appreciation gifts are also used as incentives to improve morale, thank employees for their hard work, and motivate them to continue performing at their best. Through recognition, employers can show how much they value the efforts of their staff and create a sense of loyalty within the team. However, employee appreciation goes beyond the limited scope of providing rewards and benefits. Building a thriving business culture is essential as it promotes loyalty, respect, motivation, and engagement among staff.

Employee recognition also requires managers to stay in tune with their employees' accomplishments. Managers should track achievements and provide additional feedback through verbal or written recognition. Using the right words, managers can show genuine appreciation for their employees and help them feel valued and respected as part of the team.

Successful employee appreciation should include regular meetings with supervisors or managers to discuss how individuals or teams perform and what recognition they deserve. Employers can also send out thank-you notes, points, or rewards for successful performances or host celebrations such as end-of-the-year parties or team-building activities. Ultimately, employee appreciation helps to strengthen relationships within the workplace and creates an environment where people can thrive.

8+ benefits of employee appreciation

The benefits of employee appreciation are numerous and often overlooked. Recognizing employees for hard work, commitment, and dedication can significantly impact an organization's success. Employee appreciation days are a great way to show staff they are valued and appreciated. They help build morale and create a positive workplace atmosphere by demonstrating that the company cares about its employees. 

Here are a few benefits of employee appreciation:

  • Increased employee engagement: Employees who feel appreciated and valued by their employer are more likely to be engaged in their work and less likely to leave for another job. This can lead to improved productivity, customer satisfaction, and profits for the company.
  • Improved job satisfaction: Studies have found that employees who felt their work was significantly appreciated reported higher job satisfaction than those who did not. This can lead to improved morale, loyalty, and a stronger work culture for the entire organization.
  • Increased retention rates: Employees are more likely to stay with an employer if they feel their work is valued. This can save companies time, effort, and money in the long run.
  • Improved collaboration: When employees feel appreciated for their contribution to the team, it encourages them to collaborate more effectively with each other and take the initiative when needed.
  • Increased motivation: When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated to perform better and take on additional tasks. This can lead to improved efficiency and productivity in the workplace.
  • Acknowledgment of achievements: Employee appreciation days or recognition awards help bring attention to individual achievements, which can encourage employees to strive for greater success.
  • Boosted morale: Praise, recognition, and reward help boost morale and remind employees their employer values them. This helps create a positive work culture that fosters collaboration and productivity among team members.
  • A happy workplace: Studies have shown that happy employees are more productive, creative, and successful. Showing appreciation to employees can help create an environment that nurtures employees' growth and success.
  • Inspiration for others: When recognition is given to a single employee, it inspires other employees to strive towards the same. This can increase the overall productivity and morale of the entire team.

Employers can use countless employee appreciation ideas to recognize their staff. From providing gift cards, kudos, certificates, and other rewards to showing public appreciation by announcing an employee's achievement, there are many ways to show that employees are valued and appreciated. Some ideas for employee appreciation include setting up recognition programs where employees receive thank-you cards or gifts for their hard work. 

Finally, offering special privileges such as flexible working hours or extra vacation days is a great way to help. These employee recognition efforts can increase workplace engagement, productivity, and morale

Employee appreciation strategies

How can a business start employee appreciation? A small business may choose from various employee recognition strategies and recognition ideas, including handwritten notes of gratitude, regular lunch-and-learns or job shadowing experiences, or daily messages on company core values. A large company may initiate peer recognition programs or bulletin boards to highlight well-done jobs. The best employee appreciation gifts are meaningful and valuable and consider the individual's interests.

Here are some staff member appreciation strategies that can help improve employee morale and, ultimately, your bottom line:

  • Recognize good work via kudos or a kudos card.
  • Offer small rewards, like surprise desserts or in-office breakfasts.
  • Make social occasions out of staff member birthdays & other special days (doing this publicly goes a long way!)
  • Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with public acknowledgment of employee contributions. You can include the appreciation day in your employee appreciation programs.
  • Include employee appreciation messages in company newsletters.
  • Create employee-of-the-month awards.
  • Provide awards for employee appreciation based on performance or hold weekly events like Feedback Friday to thank employees for their dedication.

Employee appreciation ideas

Employee appreciation is vital to creating an engaging workplace culture that encourages positive performance and morale. Appreciation Day provides the perfect opportunity to show employees how much they are valued and respected. This can be done through various simple employee appreciation ideas, such as providing recognition at team meetings, offering rewards, or giving out employee appreciation gifts.

Recognizing in an authentic and meaningful way can help employees feel appreciated for their hard work and reinforce the idea that team members are essential. Employee appreciation also helps create a sense of belonging within teams and can motivate employees to strive for higher performance levels.

Furthermore, when gratitude is consistent and frequent, it can lead to increased employee engagement and satisfaction. Finally, employee recognition can be a powerful way to nurture relationships within the workplace and foster greater loyalty and commitment from staff members.

Here are some employee appreciation ideas you can implement today:

  • Host an employee appreciation day: Set aside a day each month or quarter to celebrate your employees and their hard work. Make sure you invite your key players and make it memorable by providing snacks, drinks, and entertainment.
  • Send kudos: Whether in a company-wide email or through Slack or Microsoft Teams, recognizing employees for their accomplishments is a great way to show appreciation.
  • Offer flexible and remote work options: Flexible and remote work options allow employees to manage their work/life balance more effectively. This can have a positive impact on employee engagement and productivity.
  • Give small rewards: Offer gift cards or certificates for employees who hit milestones or complete team projects. This is a great way to thank them for their hard work and dedication.
  • Feedback Friday: Recognize small wins and achievements with a devoted Feedback Friday. Employees can nominate each other for awards like "Most Creative Idea" or "Best Team Player."
  • Kudos card: Give a kudos card to an employee who's gone above and beyond.
  • Give out personalized gifts: Personalized gifts show employees you appreciate their hard work and dedication.
  • Host celebrations: Celebrate employee milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions with small gifts or celebrations in the office.
  • Provide meaningful feedback: Give specific and constructive feedback to employees throughout the year. This will help them stay motivated and focused on their performance.
  • Custom kudos: Create custom kudos relevant to the team or organization. This will show your employees that you recognize their efforts and appreciate their hard work.

By taking the time to recognize employees and let them know that their efforts are appreciated, employers can benefit from improved morale, increased motivation, and better performance overall. In addition, employers can create an environment conducive to personal and professional growth with simple employee appreciation ideas, such as giving out employee appreciation gifts or taking the time for meaningful recognition. Ultimately, when employees feel appreciated and valued, it can lead to greater job satisfaction and engagement in the workplace.

Employee appreciation plan

Creating an employee appreciation plan is essential to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. Formal recognition of employee accomplishments and dedication should be done throughout the year, not just on that day. By instituting a structured system for appreciation, companies can ensure that their team members feel valued and appreciated regularly.

One way to recognize employees is through an award or bonus. Depending on the scope and size of your organization, prizes can be given for exceptional performance or to acknowledge a milestone. An employee appreciation gift is also meaningful, whether something small, such as a thank you note, or something more significant, like a bonus or award.

Additionally, companies should remember not to forget their remote employees in their appreciation plan; it's easy to show appreciation even when team members are located in different offices or working remotely. A comprehensive appreciation plan for all employee types is vital for fostering a positive work environment and driving productivity.

By taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate your employees, you can make sure that everyone on your team feels appreciated and valued. Investing in an employee appreciation plan can have numerous benefits, including increased morale, improved job satisfaction and engagement, and better retention rates. In addition, with a structured system of recognition and reward, companies will be well-positioned to maximize their employees' potential.

Employee appreciation statistics

Implementing these strategies is essential! According to a Gallup poll on workplace engagement, only 14 percent of employees worldwide are engaged at their workplace. The remaining 86 percent feel they need to be more valued, and their work needs to be recognized. The key to engaged employees is simple: create a company culture highlighting your team members' outstanding work and encouraging gratitude and appreciation.

Here are some more employee appreciation statistics that may surprise you:

A happy worker is a good worker, and employee retention is directly linked to the employee experience and, specifically, employee recognition.

Remote teams and employee appreciation

According to new research, remote workers are three times more likely than their office colleagues to feel underappreciated. At the same time, one in five employees working from home says they never get thanked for their efforts. This data suggests that team member appreciation is even more critical for virtual offices and remote workers, and remote employee appreciation should be prioritized. 

This flies in the face of tradition, as staff appreciation is typically reserved for employees who work together in a shared location. However, it's important to recognize employee contributions across the board, regardless of where they're coming from.

Here are some employee appreciation ideas for remote employees:

  • Use phone calls & webcams to talk with individual remote workers.
  • Have a virtual "happy hour" once a week (or month).
  • Send out regular team feedback, with an emphasis on virtual employee achievement and work that has been done right.
  • Use employee appreciation week to express gratitude on social media for the creative ways your remote work team gets things done.

Employee appreciation gifts

Sometimes employee appreciation is best shown through employee appreciation gifts. These employee rewards can be monetary or loyalty gifts that celebrate your staff that has gone the extra mile.

These employee recognition gifts don't necessarily have to be "expensive" to elicit a strong sense of employee happiness and loyalty, which can keep staff members around longer than you might expect.

Employee Stock Options (ESOPS) are another way employers show employees they're valued. The more an employee feels like they are part of something important & meaningful, the longer that employee will stay with the company. This reduces turnover costs exponentially.

Employee appreciation gifts ideas for remote staff

Employee Appreciation Week or Feedback Friday is the perfect time to show your remote team members how much they matter. Showing appreciation for their hard work and dedication can boost morale and productivity, even when your employees work remotely. In addition, there are plenty of employee appreciation gifts that you can give to make them feel valued and special.

Gift cards or certificates are great options for employee appreciation gifts. They allow your remote employees to choose how to spend their gifts and let them treat themselves or others on their team during Employee Appreciation Week. However, if you're looking for something a little more unique, an appreciation award can be given to recognize a specific achievement or contribution made by a remote employee. It can be as simple or elaborate as you choose and allows you to tangibly honor the individual's hard work.

In addition to physical gifts, sending thoughtful employee appreciation kudos messages via Slack or Microsoft Teams is another excellent way to show your remote team members that they are appreciated. Whether it's just an employee appreciation quote or a kudos gif of gratitude, your employees will enjoy the recognition. Employee Appreciation Week is the perfect time to express your appreciation and show your remote team members how much they are valued. With these employee appreciation gift ideas, you can give your remote team members something special to make them feel appreciated and seen!

Employee appreciation messages

Employee appreciation messages should touch on exactly what makes them feel valued while mentioning specific examples of how they've shown excellence at work. These can be employee appreciation emails, texts, or handwritten notes.

Here are some staff appreciation examples:

"You're great at your job, and I appreciate how you treat our customers."

"I'm so glad you found this information in time; it would've been tough to handle on my own. Thank you!"

"Thanks for cheering me up...you make life brighter!"

Feel free to add some employee appreciation quotes to further illustrate your gratitude!

An employee appreciation program could involve sending emails for a work anniversary, appreciation event, or employee appreciation day. Or consider fun strategies like visualized emails or mass texting to show how thankful you are. But recognizing employees with an email message doesn't have to be about any special event; it could just be part of an employee recognition program meant to reward human resources and let staff know the company values their work and contribution.

Finally, feedback has become very important in determining employee engagement within teams, so remember to get their honest opinions often too!

Employee appreciation software

Some companies have created employee recognition software that helps businesses thank, recognize, and reward employees. One example of this kind of recognition platform is Matter, an easy-to-use Slack and Teams app that makes sending kudos to your employees a habit. 

While software programs are not an end-all meet-all, they can play a vital role in creating a company culture of appreciation and recognition in which positive appraisal is part of the regular workday, and every employee feels valued.

Employee appreciation tips

There are lots of ways to show employee appreciation. Sometimes the little things that make the biggest difference are a heartfelt thank you, a mention in the company newspaper, a handwritten note on their birthday or anniversary, or even just a cupcake! Your company may celebrate national employee appreciation day or choose the first Monday of every week to highlight another employee. Whatever works best for you and your business, employee recognition is crucial in maintaining employee engagement and helping to boost productivity.

Employee appreciation ideas for giving praise

Giving praise to employees is a great way to show appreciation and boost employee engagement. From saying "great job" when team members do something noteworthy to creating regular Employee Appreciation Days and Feedback Fridays, there are plenty of ways to show your team that you appreciate them. Consider giving each member a thoughtful gift such as a gift card, voucher, or note on special occasions like anniversaries or birthdays. To increase team morale in the long run, consider an employee appreciation strategy such as organizing group activities like lunch and learns, yoga classes, or just setting aside some time for fun activities. No matter what path you choose, showing employees that their work is valued will go a long way to creating a positive workplace culture.

Here are 10 personalized employee appreciation quotes you can use today:

  1. 🙌 I appreciate your willingness to take on new challenges.
  2. 🤩 You have been a real asset to this team and I am grateful for your hard work.
  3. 😊 Your enthusiasm is contagious and has made the workplace more enjoyable.
  4. 🤗 You always rise to the challenge with grace and enthusiasm, and I'm thankful for that.
  5. ✨ The attention you pay to detail really sets you apart from the rest, thank you!
  6. 💪 I admire your sense of responsibility.
  7. 💯 Your collaboration was invaluable in achieving this project's success!
  8. 👍 Thank you for being reliable, responsible, and dependable throughout the project's timeline!
  9. 🤝 It is inspiring how you tackle difficult obstacles head-on with creativity and confidence.
  10. 🔥 The level of professionalism you bring to our conversations is commendable; thank you!

Employee appreciation messages to motivate staff

Employee appreciation messages to motivate staff are a great way to show employees that their hard work is appreciated and valued. A simple thank you note can go a long way in increasing employee engagement, boosting morale, and creating an environment of teamwork amongst team members. In addition, employee appreciation gifts such as voucher treats or bonus days off are effective strategies for showing staff that they are appreciated and valued. Showing appreciation for employees doesn't have to be expensive; simply giving kudos and acknowledging their hard work with a genuine smile can be incredibly motivating. Furthermore, implementing regular employee appreciation activities in the workplace will help to create an ongoing culture of appreciation for staff that encourages team members to give their best every day.

Here are some examples of employee appreciation messages to motivate staff:

  1. ✨ You have the power to do anything you set your mind to – don't forget it! 3.🤗 Make each day count, no matter how small the achievement may be.
  2. 🔥 Believe in yourself and keep pushing forward – you can do it!
  3. 😊 Every challenge is a learning opportunity; use it as motivation to succeed!
  4. 🤩 When you do something great, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments!
  5. 🙌 There's always room for success – make sure you give yourself a chance by believing in yourself!
  6. 🤩 You are capable of incredible things – never forget it!
  7. 🔥 Keep pushing yourself; you can do it!
  8. ✨ The world needs your unique perspective and skills – don't be afraid to get out there and show them off!
  9. 👍 There are always going to be bumps in the road ahead, but never give up hope or stop trying!
  10. 😊 Achievements come from within – have faith in yourself!

Employee appreciation strategies for team engagement

Employee appreciation is essential to team engagement and can take many forms, from employee appreciation week to national employee appreciation day. For example, one-way organizations can express their gratitude to employees is through appreciation awards. This could include recognition for a well-done job or meeting a specific goal or milestone. Team members should also be recognized for their hard work and dedication. 

  • Employee Appreciation Day: Setting aside one day a year to show appreciation for hardworking employees is an easy way to boost morale and build team engagement. Host a company-wide event or send out personalized gifts and messages of appreciation to express your gratitude.
  • Employee appreciation messages: Sending out individualized messages of recognition and appreciation is a great way to show your team that their hard work and dedication are noticed.
  • Feedback Friday: Encourage your team to give and receive feedback every Friday.
  • Kudos card: Create a system where team members can give each other "kudos" for well-done jobs. Have employees nominate their peers for recognition and awards.
  • Appreciation award: Create an award that employees can nominate each other for and present at your annual company-wide event or during a team meeting. This will show your employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated.
  • Employee engagement events: Host team-building activities, outings, and events to help build relationships between employees and foster collaboration within the workplace.
  • Group outings: Plan a group outing for your team to show appreciation for their hard work. This could be anything from a picnic in the park to an escape room experience or a day at the beach.
  • Surprise gifts: Send your employees a surprise gift to show them how much you appreciate their dedication and hard work. This could be anything from a personalized mug or water bottle to a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
  • Kudos gif: Create a personalized gif or video that employees can send to their peers thanking them for their help and support. This is an easy way to show appreciation in a fun and creative way.
  • Remote employee appreciation: With the rise of remote work, it is essential to remember that there are many ways to express gratitude to your remote employees and make them feel seen. 

Sending out employee appreciation messages, either through Slack or Microsoft Teams with the help of the Matter app, is a great way to show appreciation for your employees. Additionally, with the rise of remote working, it's important to remember that there are many ways to express appreciation to remote employees, from personalized gifts or surprise packages to e-cards and handwritten notes. Whatever method you choose, employee appreciation is sure to boost team morale and engagement.

Employee appreciation for small business

Small businesses often overlook the importance of showing appreciation to their team members. Employee appreciation is essential in creating a positive work environment and inspiring employees to perform their best. This can be done by celebrating milestones or recognizing a well-done job with an appreciation award. National Employee Appreciation Day takes place on the first Friday of March each year, though small businesses should recognize their valued employees throughout the year.

In today's remote working environment, showing appreciation for team members who are not physically present in the office can be difficult. This doesn't mean they should not receive recognition or gratitude, though. Sending employee appreciation messages is a great way to let them know their hard work is noticed and valued, even from afar. Additionally, Matter provides a platform for employees to publicly recognize each other through 'kudos' where stories of appreciation can be shared across an organization.

Overall, employee appreciation should be noticed by small businesses and should always be celebrated throughout the year. Whether through Employee Appreciation Week or simply giving an employee a shout-out, these small acts of appreciation can make a big difference in the work environment.

Showing your employees that their hard work and effort are appreciated will make them more likely to remain with your business and continue to give their best performance.

Employee appreciation day tips

There are many employee appreciation day tips to choose from to show your employees that they are appreciated. One way to recognize your team's efforts is with a physical appreciation gift such as a bonus, promotion, or another token of recognition. Additionally, informal recognition like writing heartfelt employee appreciation messages, or taking time out on work days to thank people for their hard work also goes a long way in showing gratitude and boosting morale.

Another way to show appreciation is by providing an employee appreciation gift. This could be a special item or experience that your staff will enjoy and appreciate the gesture. Consider taking them out for lunch, organizing an afternoon of activities, buying movie tickets, or anything else that may fit your company's budget. No matter what type of gift you choose, make sure it shows your appreciation and recognition of the hard work they have put in. A thoughtful gift or kind words will go a long way to show them how much you appreciate their efforts. Making it personal is key! ​​

Here are some employee appreciation tips for celebrating your staff:

  • Make a celebration: Celebrate your team's hard work and show them you care by planning an employee appreciation day. This could include fun activities, a free lunch or dinner, or even a special message from the leadership team to express their gratitude.
  • Provide gift cards as employee appreciation gifts: Everyone loves getting a gift, so why not show your employees how much you appreciate them with a gift card? This could be for a restaurant, store, or even a Visa or Mastercard gift card that they can use however they'd like.
  • Give out informal recognition: Take the time to recognize your employees for their hard work and accomplishments with informal recognition. This could be as simple as kudos in your Team or Slack space, or you could give them a special employee award for outstanding performance.
  • Use employee appreciation messages: Send out appreciation to your team members throughout the year or even on special occasions. This could be a simple employee recognition quote or something more creative like a kudos gif.
  • Treat employees to an extra work day: Show your appreciation for your employees by providing them with an extra work day off with pay. This could be used when they need a break or spend time doing something they enjoy.
  • Organize team bonding activities: Plan team bonding activities so your employees can get to know each other better and have a good time. This could be something simple like playing board games or going bowling or something more creative like having an escape room challenge.
  • Give out employee appreciation gift baskets: Show your employees you care by putting together unique gift baskets filled with goodies. This could include snacks, books, or even a movie night package!
  • Have lunch or coffee with employees: Take the time to have a one-on-one lunch or coffee with each of your employees. This is a great way to show them that you value their contributions and get to know them better.
  • Take employees out for the day: Show your appreciation by taking your team out of the office for the day. This could include a fun activity or even lunch somewhere nice.
  • Say thank you: Lastly, just be sure to express your thanks and appreciation for your employees' hard work. This could be done informally in person or through a more formal message to the team as a whole.

This is an effective way to show how much you value them and let them know their contributions are making a difference.

Bonus Tip: Show your appreciation with a surprise party. Surprise your team by throwing them a special employee appreciation day party with snacks and drinks. This is a great way to show that you care and allow everyone to relax, have some fun, and celebrate the accomplishments they've achieved together.

Final thoughts on employee appreciation

Employee appreciation is an essential part of a successful small business. There are many ways to show your team members that their efforts are appreciated and valued, such as through Employee Appreciation Week or National Employee Appreciation Day. Additionally, giving an appreciation award is a great way to recognize a job well done and encourage others within the organization.

Remote team members can also be included in the employee appreciation process. Sending employees messages of appreciation is one way to show they're still valued and appreciated, even from afar. Matter, a free Slack and Teams app, is another excellent tool for employees to recognize each other's accomplishments. Overall, employee appreciation should always be celebrated in some way to ensure that your team members feel supported and valued. Taking the time to appreciate your team members will create a positive work environment and inspire them to continue giving their best effort.

All in all, employee appreciation is an essential part of any small business's success. Showing your employees that they are appreciated can boost morale, encourage productivity, and retain valuable team members. In addition, taking the time to recognize their hard work can make a massive difference in your company's success.

The time is now to show your employees that you care. Every team member matters; if you're not showing staff how much they add to your organization, your competitors will! Show your gratitude for work well done, and don't let employee appreciation slip through the cracks.

Is employee appreciation important to you? Create a bottom-up culture with team recognition, celebrations, and rewards — all inside Slack or Microsoft Teams. Get started for free by adding Matter to your workspace.

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