It’s vital to take time to recognize the most important aspect of any business through employee appreciation day ideas. Gone are the days of once-a-year ceremonies with paper certificates. These days, your employees need more. And quite frankly, several of them deserve more.

There are three types of recognition you should be focusing on when planning employee appreciation days. It’s not enough to just do one out of the three. All three are needed to ensure your employees remain engaged and motivated. This article will discuss these three types as well as a variety of ideas as you begin to fill your company calendar with your employees in mind.

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Recognition Types for Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Formal or regular recognition:Organizations have long used a variety of methods of appreciation, including formal acknowledgment. Everything from anniversary parties to positive performance assessments and bonuses to increases is included.

Even while formal acknowledgment is no longer sufficient on its own, it is nonetheless crucial to the success of any recognition program. Consider formal recognition as the cornerstone upon which your organization’s recognition program is built. Your other recognition programs will be unsuccessful if you don’t make a plan to acknowledge team members’ significant accomplishments and big moments.

Informal or immediate recognition:Every act of appreciation that isn’t preplanned by your company is considered informal acknowledgment. It might be acknowledged during the regular staff meeting, spoken via chat, or given in the form of reward points through the employee recognition system of your company. The difference between a workplace where employees feel truly valued and one where acknowledgment seems forced, and false may be seen in the cumulative effect of these small-scale acts of appreciation.

Just because recognition is informal does not exclude your company from providing support. With a mobile-friendly employee recognition solution, you can enable your staff to express appreciation whenever and wherever the mood strikes them. And to keep the appreciation cycle going, provide prizes to your company’s top recognition recipients and givers.

Specific recognition: Specific recognition can be formal or informal. The key is to make sure your recognition makes sense. If you’re going to recognize your employees, recognize them for a specific reason. It means you’ve paid attention to what they are doing and aren’t just recognizing them because you feel you need to.

What Can Leadership do For Employee Appreciation Day Ideas?

Anytime leadership recognizes employees, it’s meaningful. When leadership pays attention to the employees and the various projects involved in making everything run smoothly, it means they are invested in the company as a whole and not just the bottom line. Sometimes it might just be positive feedback or a shout-out through email, but other times leadership might want to make a bigger deal of the appreciation they feel for the team that goes to bat for the business every day. Some employee appreciation day ideas that leadership could sponsor are as follows:

Provide employees with meaningful company swag:You might think this is simply self-marketing. You’re correct in that it is marketing, but when you make it meaningful, the employees will truly appreciate it. Instead of giving employees a plastic cup with the company logo on it that will go in a cabinet at their house and soon be forgotten, give them something they can truly use and wouldn’t necessarily go out and purchase themselves.

Consider clothing such as a hooded sweatshirt or a pullover jacket. Even an umbrella is a good option. Backpacks are another excellent idea to hand out during employee appreciation day ideas. If you want to put together a fun company swag box, that’s even better. You can add in a pair of funny socks, a t-shirt, and a scarf or hat.

When going the clothing route, remember your employees are not one size fits all. Go the extra mile and get the correct sizes. The thoughtfulness won’t go unnoticed.

Offer lunch for employees: Once a quarter, provide meals to your employees. If you’re a smaller company, you can go out to eat at a restaurant. As a larger company, you may opt to have the meal catered. You can even get management involved and grill lunch for the employees and make a family fun day of it, giving them the afternoon off and allowing their family to see where they work, play some games, and enjoy the day.

Bucket list prizes: Go for the gusto if you’re celebrating something or someone big. If you’re team met a year-long goal, take the whole team to a local amusement park or to a sporting event. If you’re celebrating an employee’s five years with the company, find out an item from their bucket list. Have they always wanted to go skydiving? Find a local company and provide them with a gift certificate. Would they like to take their family for a weekend RV trip? Pay for the RV rental and provide a gas card. When you put thought and effort into your employee appreciation day ideas, the care will shine through.

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas That Focus on Wellness

Employee health and wellness is a big focus as we navigate what our workplace looks like post-COVID-19. Many businesses have continued with a hybrid or fully remote approach, meaning that our teams are not always face-to-face. While this option has been a plus for many employees, it can be isolating as well. Never has a time for mindfulness and wellness in the workplace been more important. As an employee, there are several things you can do to ensure your workers are in tune mentally and physically.

  • Offer gym memberships that incorporate options such as yoga or martial arts studios.
  • Provide resources for services such as meditation or reiki practices. If you are working face-to-face, you can even offer classes during the work week at your office.
  • Sponsor recreation league sports teams.
  • Plan a Family Activity Day with a softball game or miniature golf tournament.
  • Surprise your team members with a day off.
  • Offer healthy cooking classes to your team members.
  • Extend break times so they can incorporate a walk as well as lunch.
  • Do you have a meeting place outside or offer an area for employees to work outside? Spending time in nature is one of the easiest ways to reset your mind and body.
  • Offer competitions for fitness and weight achievements.
  • Consider a four-day work week to allow your employees an extra day to focus on self-care.
  • Offer healthy snacks in the break room.
  • Provide standing desks for those that want them.
  • Consider music in your office space. Music is thought to lighten the mood and motivate employees.

Many of these things are ideas you can do on a consistent basis and not just a few days a year. If you would like, you could rotate these throughout the year and plan a topic for each month.

For instance, you can focus on walking for health for one month and purchase a walking app or pedometers for staff. Present prizes for those that walked the most or lost the most weight while walking.

The idea is to keep employee appreciation ideas fresh and flowing so your effort to connect with your employees is noticed as something that is consistent and not just during a certain time of year.

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas With Peer Involvement

Being recognized by your peers is something that resonates highly with employees. They like knowing that people on their team see them as reliable and a hard worker. There are several employee appreciation day ideas to offer to your teams. Talk with them about the idea, and they may come up with more options. As the manager, let them know your door is open to discuss any additional ideas when the time comes.

Team recognition award:Depending on how your business is structured, you can offer this from department to department or within a team. This can be a trophy, plaque, or something silly like an oversized Rubik’s cube for the best problem-solving team. The award should rotate, providing everyone with the chance to win at some point.

Notes of praise:Consider purchasing dry-erase boards for your team member so notes of encouragement or congrats will greet them when they enter their space. You can also do this with post-it notes, keeping them in an area easily accessible to the team so they can recognize their teammates as they see fit.

For remote workers, this one is a little harder. Encourage your team to send you who and what they want to praise, and you can send it through email or messaging system in the form of a funny card or another method of praise.

Virtual or surprise party:Surprise your team with a party, either virtually or in person. Give them a chance to blow off some steam, kick back, and have some fun.

Food is always a hit: Kick off your employee appreciation day ideas with food. You can opt for the catered option discussed earlier or go for something as simple as doughnuts in the morning. Your team will enjoy the thoughtfulness.

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas Summary

No matter what idea you land on, your team will enjoy it. Remember to keep the appreciation going throughout the year and encourage your managers to be on the lookout for moments of achievement and celebration.

The eLeaP continuous performance management system provides organizations with powerful options to attract and retain high caliber team members.