Top Employee Appreciation Ideas for 2023

February 3, 2023
5 Min Read
Photo by
Jackie Kao

‍Table of Contents:

Why employee appreciation matters

Employee appreciation is a way to show your team that you value them and their contributions. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to continue going above and beyond for the company. Employee appreciation ideas give managers ways to support their teams by recognizing hard work, thanking employees for what they do, and ensuring everyone knows how much they matter.

Employee appreciation ideas for 2022 must consider the changing workforce and incorporate some of the benefits of new technology. A recent study from OC Tanner found that 79 percent of those who quit their jobs left because they didn't feel appreciated. Of course, employees want to feel valued by their employers - something that is easier said than done in today's ever-changing technologies.

Benefits of employee appreciation ideas 

Employee appreciation ideas show your employees that they are valued, and it helps you spend time with them. We all know that happy employees are more likely to do well in their roles, which leads to benefits like improved retention rates for employers or heightened productivity. Some small businesses want to keep turnover low because it saves money on hiring and training new employees. Meanwhile, other companies want to keep turnover low because they value their employees and don't want to lose them.

Employee appreciation benefits not only the employees that receive recognition but also those who give it. When we feel appreciated by our peers, we want to continue putting in our best effort. In a survey by The University of Pennsylvania, 67 percent of employees said they would put in more effort at work if they felt appreciated and empowered.

If you want to ease the stress level of your employees, get into the habit of showing appreciation regularly. Check out some employee recognition ideas below for inspiration, or take time daily to thank your team members for what they do.

Employee appreciation ideas for small and mid-sized businesses

As a small to mid-sized business, you might have little budget for employee appreciation, but don't worry; many of the best ideas are free! Your staff can feel appreciated without large bonuses or monetary rewards. Instead, they need to be noticed for their achievements and recognized when they go the extra mile. Here are a few ideas to make your staff feel appreciated and valued: 

  • Host a potluck with your team members to get to know each other better outside work.
  • Bring in snacks for the office on Mondays. 
  • Buy lunch for your employees on their birthdays.
  • Give everyone free pretzels on Friday, and bring some in yourself while you work.
  • Put up a whiteboard for employees to write thank-you notes to each other.
  • Surprise team members with small gifts like flowers, candy, or coffee when they accomplish something great, like an assignment well done or meeting a milestone at work. 
  • Make an appreciation board where everyone can record what they are thankful for.
  • Make appreciation coupons to hand out where employees can promise to do small things, like emailing or calling someone back by a certain day or picking up lunch for everyone on Friday.
  • Finish the workday with fun icebreakers, like trivia questions about your company history, superhero traits, or words.
  • Use Matter to send weekly kudos to your teammates, and start a Feedback Ritual!

Employee appreciation ideas for large businesses 

Larger companies usually have more resources and a higher budget to show employees their appreciation. But even if you only have one or two days to spend on an employee recognition program per year, you'll want to make them count. You can give your employees a much-needed break and spend the day doing something fun together.

Here are some of our favorite employee appreciation ideas for large businesses:

  • Company outings to sporting events or concert: You might only have a portion of the day, but giving your employees time off work to attend a sports game or concert is a great way to say thank you. If you have enough employees attending the event, order food and drinks to make it even more fun! Spending relaxed time together will help your organization form a company culture with an elevated employee experience.
  • Company picnic/BBQ: This is another way for employers to show their employees they appreciate them and ramp up employee motivation - take an afternoon or evening off work and bring your team together with food, games, and fun. If you have a great office space, it can be an opportunity for them to enjoy food and drinks while hanging out with their colleagues.
  • Relaxation day at the spa or on the beach: Whether one day before the weekend or right after work on a Friday, giving your staff time away from work is always a good idea! Send your employees off to the spa or plan a relaxing beach day for them - make sure they're back in time for work Monday morning!
  • Holiday gift baskets: Holiday gift baskets make excellent employee appreciation ideas for large companies because there is something for everyone. From gift cards to snacks and candy, each person in the office can find something they appreciate in an employee appreciation gift basket. Often, these gift baskets can be customized with different messages too! This might be our favorite employee appreciation idea for large companies.
  • Cash rewards: Cash rewards are not only a great employee appreciation idea for large companies but can also be an excellent way to incentivize employees and meet goals throughout the year, maximizing employee engagement. Some companies even plan specific projects that offer cash incentives or bonuses for meeting certain milestones throughout the year.

Employee appreciation ideas for virtual employees

More and more companies are hiring remote workers. But it can be challenging to show your appreciation when you can't see the work being done in person. So we've got a few excellent employee appreciation ideas for virtual employees that will help everyone feel appreciated even though you're not working side by side.

  • Sending handwritten notes: Sending handwritten notes is one of the best employee appreciation ideas for remote employees because it means that someone at your company took the time to write down something personal and thoughtful just for them! You can even include an employee appreciation quote. Remote employee appreciation doesn't get more personalized than this.
  • Providing access to benefits: Providing remote employees access to benefits is another favorite appreciation idea for virtual employees. This can be anything from adding them to your company's health insurance plan, life insurance, or gym membership. You'd be surprised how much simple health insurance can do to boost employee morale!
  • Daily shoutouts: Daily shoutouts are another excellent employee recognition idea for virtual employees because they motivate everyone to be their best selves each day. This is a great way to recognize the small accomplishments that often go unnoticed but will have a huge impact on your business.
  • Skill-based contests: Everyone loves a little bit of friendly competition! Skill-based contests are an exciting way to help employees feel appreciated for their unique skills and talents while recognizing small achievements throughout the year.

You can focus your contest on remote work or just something fun. Although virtual contests may present some challenges, it's an opportunity to be creative!

Employee appreciation ideas for birthdays

Birthdays are special occasions for employees and should be celebrated with appreciation for their hard work. Staff appreciation gifts are a great way to show your team members how much you value them. From gift cards to personalized items, there are many options for employee appreciation gift ideas.

Gift cards can make the perfect employee appreciation gift. Whether it's a prepaid card for their favorite store or a restaurant chain they frequent, you can be sure your employee will appreciate the thoughtfulness. This is also an easy way to recognize team members without worrying about selecting something they may not like. 

Kudos are another great way to show appreciation for employees. Whether it's a handwritten note or an email, taking the time to recognize someone's hard work is always appreciated. You can also consider an employee engagement program that provides rewards and recognition for employees who go above and beyond. These programs are often used with gift cards and kudos to show appreciation further. By including staff appreciation gifts, kudos, and employee engagement programs, you can easily show how much you value your employees on their special day. With these simple ideas, any employer can make their team members feel appreciated and motivated to keep up the excellent work.

Ideas for employee appreciation day and employee appreciation week

There are so many ways to show your workforce that you care. For example, you can set aside time for Employee Appreciation Week or National Employee Appreciation Day! Employee Appreciation Day is typically celebrated on the first Monday in March. It is similar to National Boss Day but focuses on thanking everyone for their hard work. One Employee Appreciation Day idea: create a video presentation celebrating your staff's work throughout the year and giving recognition for their achievements, then post it on social media!

Employee Appreciation Week is celebrated the third full week in April. You can celebrate this however you like, but some companies use the entire week to show appreciation, give recognition where recognition is due, and give employees opportunities to bond together. Think team outings, dinner with the team, or even potlucks. This week-long holiday is about recognizing employees for their critical work within your organization and using team-building and staff appreciation ideas to boost employee retention and satisfaction. For example, you could use the occasion to reward a staff member who has gone the extra mile or celebrate the excellent work of a remote team with some formal recognition.

More ways to recognize your valued workforce

Employee appreciation is a great way to show your employees that you appreciate them, but it isn't the only way! Employee recognition goes beyond a token gift idea or celebration. It's a system of showing your employees that they're recognized for their hard work from day to day. Work on creating a team culture in which every contribution is valued. Celebrate the work anniversary of staff members, and make employee wellness a priority. Another great idea: consider using web apps and software such as Matter to ensure that constructive feedback is part of every day. An engaged employee feels seen and heard, one who knows his or her achievements will be recognized and even celebrated.

The best employee appreciation ideas come from the heart. In this day and age, companies have to be creative just to stand out from their competition. So be spontaneous! And remember, employees that feel appreciated are those that stick around, work hard, and give you a reason to keep your company thriving for another year!

10 cost-effective employee appreciation ideas 

Employee appreciation is essential for teams to stay motivated and connected, especially during challenging times. There are plenty of cost-effective ways to recognize the hard work of your team members and make them feel valued. Here are 10 creative employee recognition ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day:

  1. Give out gift cards: Show your team members how much you value their hard work by giving each of them a gift card for their favorite store.
  2. Send kudos: Let your employees know you appreciate what they do with a thoughtful note sent directly to them.
  3. Hold virtual fun activities: Get everyone together for a virtual team-building activity like an online game or a movie night.
  4. Organize contests: Encourage employees to work together by creating fun competitions with prizes.
  5. Recognition bonus: Give monetary rewards for exceptional performance or going above and beyond in their role.
  6. Offer flexible schedules: Show your employees that you value their life outside work by offering flexible working hours.
  7. Plan surprise picnics: Take your team to a picnic or organize one at the office and have fun with food, games, and activities.
  8. Say thank you often: Make sure to express gratitude for all your team's hard work every day.
  9. Create a rewards program: Set up a rewards system that allows employees to accumulate points and redeem them for tangible rewards like gift cards.
  10. Recognition wall: Set up an online or physical recognition wall where team members can show appreciation for each other's accomplishments.

These are just some ways to show your team members that you care and celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. Implementing these ideas will help foster a positive work environment and motivate your employees to continue their hard work. 

9+ employee appreciation ideas to show gratitude 

Employee appreciation is important in maintaining a robust and productive workplace. There are many ways to show your team that you appreciate their work and value them as company members. Whether it's through happy hours, company swag, rewards, team-building activities, fun activities, or kudos - expressing gratitude is a great way to boost morale and create a positive work environment. In addition, implementing an employee recognition program or celebrating successes are great ways to show your team that you value their contributions and appreciate their hard work. 

Here are 10 employee appreciation ideas to show gratitude:

  1. Happy hour: Show your appreciation by organizing a happy hour for employees. The company can cover the cost of the drinks and snacks, or you can provide vouchers for employees to purchase their drinks and snacks. This is an ideal way to celebrate achievements, bring everyone together in a relaxed setting, and offer thanks for your hard work.
  2. Company swag: Give employees something they can keep and show off, such as branded apparel or accessories. Companies often need to remember that the little things make a big difference, so feel free to invest in creative employee swag.
  3. Employee rewards: Recognize outstanding effort by offering rewards like gift cards or extra time off. This will show your appreciation and boost morale as employees feel rewarded for their hard work.
  4. Team building activity: Show gratitude to your team by organizing a fun, engaging team-building activity. Celebrate achievements and reward the team with a day of activities such as bowling, mini golf, laser tag, or other team-building activities.
  5. Fun activity: Show your appreciation to employees by planning a fun activity that everyone can enjoy, like playing video games, going for lunch together, or organizing a movie night. The idea is to help employees relax and have some fun after putting in hard work.
  6. Kudos: Give employees public recognition by sending out employee appreciation messages via Microsoft Teams or Slack with Matter app or even announcing it at a company-wide meeting. This is a great way to show appreciation and make employees feel valued.
  7. Bonus: Give employees a bonus as a way of showing your appreciation for their hard work. This can be in the form of a one-time bonus, or you can choose to give small bonuses whenever employees go above and beyond.
  8. Gift cards: Show appreciation by giving out gift cards every month or quarter. This is an affordable way to show employees you value their hard work and dedication.
  9. Tickets: Surprise employees with show, concert, or sporting event tickets. This is an excellent way to boost morale and show your appreciation.
  10. Praise: Show employees your appreciation by publicly praising their efforts in meetings or in front of the team. Tell them you appreciate their hard work and dedication to the company's success.

Ultimately, expressing appreciation for your employees is one of the best investments you can make in the success of your business. Showing your team that you value them and their hard work is a great way to foster an environment of productivity and growth.

How to find inspiration for employee appreciation ideas 

Finding creative ways to appreciate your employees is essential in creating a positive corporate culture and boosting employee satisfaction. However, with so many ideas, it can take time to develop original employee appreciation day ideas that resonate with your team. Here are some tips for finding inspiration for your next staff appreciation gifts or rewards:

  1. Look to your team: Ask your team members for ideas to recognize and reward their achievements. This allows you to customize the employee appreciation gifts or rewards in a meaningful and personal way. It also helps show your employees that you value their input and feedback.
  2. Take advantage of corporate gifts: Companies often offer corporate gift ideas that can be used as employee rewards or appreciation gifts. Research the options to find something unique, such as a personalized award or plaque that will allow you to recognize your team's efforts in a meaningful way.
  3. Leverage peer recognition: Create opportunities for peer recognition by setting up Matter, which offers Feedback Friday, allowing employees to recognize each other. This can also be done through online surveys, awards, or even celebrations. Allowing team members to recognize one another's successes helps create an atmosphere of support and appreciation within the company culture.

By following these tips for finding inspiration for employee appreciation ideas, you can show your team that their hard work and dedication are appreciated. Whether through personalized corporate gifts, peer recognition programs, or other employee appreciation rewards, your employees will feel valued and motivated to keep up their terrific work!

Tips for implementing practical employee appreciation ideas 

Creating an effective employee appreciation program can help boost morale, increase productivity, and reduce employee turnover. Implementing intelligent employee reward systems that recognize individual and team member accomplishments is essential to any successful organization. Here are some tips for implementing practical employee appreciation ideas:

Firstly, consider the different types of employees in your organization. For example, virtual employees may have other opportunities to interact at in-person events or team members who cannot receive physical gifts. Use this knowledge to tailor appreciation ideas that work for everyone. With Matter, you can add your rewards to personalize them to your company values.

Secondly, get creative when it comes to employee appreciation gift ideas. Consider crafting personalized items like mugs, t-shirts, ornaments, or even a gift box. Other easy options are giving the gift of kudos, a kudos card, a certificate, or a gift card.

Finally, consider offering recognition in multiple forms, such as verbal praise and public acknowledgments. This way, employees feel appreciated by their peers and supervisors. Having a variety of methods to recognize individual

Final thoughts on employee appreciation ideas 

In conclusion, it is essential to recognize and appreciate employees' achievements. A variety of employee appreciation ideas can be implemented both in-person and virtually. Some ideas include recognizing individual accomplishments with awards or bonuses, organizing team-building activities for employees to enjoy together, or simply providing a heartfelt thank you for their hard work. 

By showing gratitude, employers can create a more positive and productive work environment that enhances employee morale and loyalty. In addition, utilizing these ideas in the workplace will help foster an atmosphere of appreciation that encourages employees to continue striving for success. 

Another great idea is to consider using web apps and software such as Matter to ensure that constructive feedback is part of every day. An engaged employee feels seen and heard and knows their achievements will be recognized and celebrated.

The best employee appreciation ideas come from the heart. In this day and age, companies have to be creative to stand out from their competition. So be spontaneous! And remember, employees that feel appreciated stick around, work hard, and give you a reason to keep your company thriving for another year!

Interested in more employee appreciation ideas? Make team recognition, celebrations, and rewards fun with Matter — all inside Slack or Microsoft Teams. Get started for free by adding Matter to your workspace.

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