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Aug 08, 2019

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10 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas Your Team Will Love

Are you looking for great Employee Appreciation Day ideas? We share in this blog post 10 ideas you can use to acknowledge your employees for their...

10-great-employee-appreciation-ideas

Are you looking for great Employee Appreciation Day ideas? We share in this blog post 10 ideas you can use to acknowledge your employees for their hard work, achievements, and loyalty. 

Need an easy way to drum up morale, increase productivity and boost engagement among your employees?


All you have to do is appreciate them.

Studies show that over 40% of employees would work harder if they felt they were appreciated more often.

Employee appreciation is an integral part of the modern workplace and celebrating it through a day of activities is a great way to boost morale.

💡Looking for tips to improve employee engagement at your workplace? Download our free eBook "How to Boost Employee Engagement with Communication Tools"!

In this article, we’ll explain what Employee Appreciation Day is, why you need it and give you ten creative ideas to help you celebrate it.

What Is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday of March.

It’s a day where employers are encouraged to recognize and appreciate their employee’s work and commitment.

employee-appreciation-day

Most companies celebrate it with tons of activities aimed at helping their employees feel more comfortable and accomplished in the workplace.

While this is usually an annual event, many organizations also have ongoing employee recognition programs where employees are continuously encouraged to recognize their peers.

Historically, top-down recognition was the only way employees could get recognized. Today, however, peer-to-peer recognition is even more important. Peer-to-peer recognition build better relationships in the workplace, and it creates happier and more productive employees. 

The Benefits of Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day in the Workplace

Employee appreciation is a powerful way to drive employee engagement and build a positive employee experience in the workplace

Many research has proved that the benefits of recognizing employees for their work and achievements are significant. Moreover, employee appreciation is one of the most important prerequisites for building a positive workplace culture and encouraging employees to live by your core company values

peer-to-peer-recognition

Employee Appreciation Day is a great opportunity for employers to show gratitude for their employees' success and loyalty. 

Let's dig deeper into some of the reasons to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day in your workplace. 

1. Better Morale

Employee appreciation can positively impact workplace morale and employee motivation among individuals and teams.

When an employee feels appreciated at work, they’re more likely to feel connected to the team they’re part of and the work they do.

employee appreciation day, happiness and morale in the workplaceSource: Cornerstone

This will have a larger impact on your corporate culture, where peer-to-peer relationships and group dynamics are now lead by appreciation and recognition.

Moreover, employee recognition is something that separates great leaders from those who are not so great. Therefore, appreciation should always be at the top of every leader's mind. 

2. Increased Trust in the Company

An employee’s trust in your company plays a significant role in how committed they are.

Research indicates that employees in high-trust workplaces are likely to:

  • Be 76% more engaged with their jobs
  • Feel 74% less stressed
  • Take 13% fewer days off

Appreciate your employees for who they are and recognize the unique skills they bring to the table.

Once you do, you’ll have a highly motivated workforce that’s happy to be a part of your team.

3. Increased Job Satisfaction

Pay isn’t the sole criteria for job satisfaction in the modern workplace.

Employees are turning to intangibles like appreciation and recognition to evaluate how satisfied they are with their jobs.

An SHRM study found that job recognition played a big role in 48% of an employee’s job satisfaction levels.

Remember, the more appreciated your employees feel, the happier and more satisfied they’ll be.

4. Higher Productivity

It’s no surprise that employee productivity and recognition go hand in hand. Moreover, employee appreciation is one of the best tools for driving higher employee engagement that naturally leads to higher productivity and efficiency among employees. 

The Impact of Employee Recognition on Productivity

employee-recognition-in-the-workplaceSource: Forbes

Being recognized allows employees to feel accomplished and committed to the workplace. This increases their sense of self-actualization and pushes them to work harder and keep improving.

Related: 5 Ways Effective Internal Communication Can Boost Employee Productivity

5. Lower Attrition

According to Gallup, employees who don’t feel recognized and appreciated at their workplace are twice as likely to quit their job within the next year.

Related: Recruitment vs. Talent Acquisition [Infographic Included]

Taking the time out to show your employees that they matter can go a long way to reducing turnover and keeping them satisfied.

employee-appreciation-retention

Since attracting and retaining Millennials in the workplace is harder than ever before, acts of gratitude can go a long way in creating happier workplaces and increasing employee retention rates. 

6. More advocacy

Employee advocacy is something that every organization is trying to achieve. The benefits of having employees as brand ambassadors is inevitable as it helps improving results in various departments such as sales, marketing, and HR. 

When employees feel appreciated for their work, they tend to give back to their employer by acting as brand advocates. They are more likely to share the positive messages about your organization  with their networks and followers. 

Now that we have learned about the benefits of celebrating Employee Appreciation Day in the workplace, let's take look into a few ideas for making this day special to your employees

10 Great Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

In order to make Employee Appreciation Day in your organization special, consider some innovative ideas to surprise your employees. 

Often times, monetary award can have less impact on your employees than non-monetary awards. Therefore, your company can organize an Employee Appreciation Day without additional expenses. 

Moreover, many employers are not even aware that simple words of gratitude can have a very positive impact on their employees' experience and engagement. 

Let's take a look into some out-of-the box ideas for Employee Appreciation Day. 

1. Award Ceremonies

Everyone loves recognition. And what better way to do that than with an award ceremony?

Award each employee with a trophy for their achievements over the past year. This could be for excellent leadership, displaying great social skills, staying late - it’s up to you.

However, try to reward each employee with something - it’s important that nobody feels left out as this could lead to resentment.

Related: 5 Employee Recognition Examples to Get the Most from Your Program

2. Highlight Your Employees on Your Social Media Channels

Another great way to recognize your employees is to highlight them on your company’s social media channels.

As social media is the biggest influencer of modern times, recognizing your employees here will go a long way to keeping them happy as well as help them build their personal brands.

You could also make this a regular part of your company’s employee advocacy program.

It’s also a good way to humanize your company in the eyes of your social media followers.

how-to-humanize-your-brand

As you’re highlighting the behind-the-scenes, your followers will view your company as a people-first organization.

3. Organize Team Games

Playing team games like scavenger hunts and quizzes are a great way to spend your Employee Appreciation Day.

It’s a simple way to encourage healthy competition in a friendly atmosphere to get your staff working together.

Remember, these games can be a fun learning experience as well.

The communication skills and group dynamics your staff develops through these games can be put to use in the future when they need to work on collaborative projects.

4. Go Out for a Field Trip

Taking your team out for a trip is another good Employee Appreciation Day activity.

As your employees can step out of the office, they can let their guard down and socialize comfortably.

It’s a great way for your team to bond as they’re no longer confined to a workplace setting.

Local field trips are also a good way to get to know your local community better and come up with new ideas to interact with them.

5. Volunteering

Volunteering at a nearby shelter or conservation program is a great way for your team to bond, create memories, and inspire gratitude.

Studies show that over 70% of US employees believe that volunteering is more likely to boost morale than bonding activities like happy hours.

6. Free Tickets to an Event

Giving your team free tickets to a local event is a great way to show them that your company really cares.

As these events are not work-related, it’s a more authentic way to show gratitude as your company isn’t gaining anything from this. You’re helping your employees enjoy themselves - simply because you care!

7. Company-Backed Lunches

Sponsoring a gourmet lunch for your employees is a good way to make them feel appreciated. It’s a nice way to reward them for all the effort they’ve put in during the last year.

Bonus tip: Always ask your employees where they’d like to go and sort out any dietary restrictions before making a booking.

8. Have a Family Day

Encouraging your employees to bring their families to work on Employee Appreciation Day is a great way for your team to get to know one another.

As they’ll be meeting family members, the connections they make here will run deeper than typical office interactions and can create a stronger bond.

9. Reward Your Employees with Gift Vouchers and Hampers

Rewarding your staff with gift vouchers and hampers is another easy way to make them feel appreciated. It’s a nice way to say - “thank you for the work you did for us last year.

If you want to take this a step further, ask your employees about what gifts they’d like and get it for them. As this is something they specifically asked for, they’ll be more appreciative.

10. Organize a Spa Day

A spa day is a great way to show your employees that you’re serious about reducing stress and caring about their morale and physical health. It’s a good way for them to relax and rejuvenate and come back to work the next day feeling fresh.

Building a Culture of Appreciation at Your Organization

Employee Appreciation Day is a great way to motivate your employees and boost their morale. Use a couple of these ideas to show them that you care and you’ll take a great step towards a highly motivated workforce that’s committed to excellence.

employee-appreciation-day-benefits

However, before implementing a new appreciation initiative, it is important to ensure clear and consistent communication in your organization. It is also important to keep your employees connected and engaged at all times. 

Since not many people like change, proper workplace communication can go a long way in driving a culture of appreciation and gratitude in your organizations. 

Leaders, managers, and internal communications professionals just need to get on the same page around the specific results they are trying to achieve by building a culture of gratitude and appreciation.  

Feeling inspired? Download our free eBook "Building a Better Company with Internal Communications"  where we share best practices for creating a positive workplace culture.

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Written by

Peter Banerjea

Peter Banerjea

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