Employee Appreciation Day

Top 10 Ways Employers Can Show Gratitude

By: Greg Modd

Employee Appreciation Day is more than just a day on the calendar; it’s a reminder of the value and significance of recognizing and celebrating the efforts and achievements of employees. In today’s fast-paced work environment, showing appreciation is key to fostering a culture of respect, enhancing employee morale, and promoting a positive and productive workplace. Here are the top ten ways employers can show appreciation to their employees, not just on Employee Appreciation Day, but all year round.

1. Personalized Thank You Notes 🗒️

Taking the time to write personalized thank-you notes can make a big difference. A heartfelt message recognizing an individual’s contributions and hard work is a powerful way to show appreciation. It touches my heart when I receive handwritten notes from colleagues, clients, and vendors. 

2. Professional Development Opportunities 🧑‍🏫

Investing in employees’ professional growth demonstrates a commitment to their future. Offering workshops, courses, or tuition reimbursement for further education shows trust and appreciation for their potential. Back in the day, my boss always allowed me to go to the monthly GAASHRM meetings, and I was so grateful for the company’s investment in my HR expertise. 

3. Flexible Working Arrangements 🗓️

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance by offering flexible working hours or the option to work from home can significantly boost morale and show employees they are valued.

4. Team Building Activities 🫂

Organizing team-building activities or retreats can be a fun and effective way to appreciate and motivate staff. It’s also a great way to strengthen team cohesion and improve workplace culture. Back in the day, I was part of an HR department retreat to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The first order of business directed by our SVP was to get outside and walk down the beach. It was a fantastic team-building trip. 

5. Public Recognition 🗣️

Acknowledging employees’ achievements in a public forum, such as company meetings or through internal newsletters, highlights their importance to the organization and can be incredibly gratifying. Be mindful; some people despise this type of recognition. I’d encourage you to ask the person before giving public recognition. 

6. Extra Time Off 🏖️

Surprising employees with an extra day off or a longer weekend as a token of appreciation can be a highly valued gesture, giving them time to relax and recharge.

7. Gift Cards or Bonuses 💰

Offering gift cards, bonuses, or other financial incentives is a tangible way to acknowledge employees’ hard work and dedication, directly benefiting their personal lives. Back in the day, I used to get $50 gift cards to Texas Roadhouse, and I loved it! Them rolls 

8. Health and Wellness Programs 🏃

Implementing health and wellness programs or providing gym memberships signifies a concern for employees’ well-being, contributing to their overall health and happiness. I’ve implemented these for clients, and in my professional opinion, it’s always a win. 

9. Personalized Gifts 🎁

Personalized gifts, such as custom mugs, t-shirts, or other items related to the employee’s interests, add a personal touch to the gesture of appreciation. Ensure it’s personalized, as in, this is something they would appreciate. If it’s a coffee mug with the company logo and they don’t drink coffee, that’s a swing-and-miss, big time. 

10. Involve Them in Decision Making 🧑‍💻

Involving employees in decision-making processes, especially in areas that affect their work directly, shows trust and respect for their opinions and expertise. Jocko Willink encourages leaders to allow subordinates to come up with the plan. If the plan is only 60%, ask earnest questions to get them to 70-80% to execute the plan. General George Patton says, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”

Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent opportunity for employers to express gratitude and recognize their team’s hard work and achievements. However, cultivating an environment of appreciation and respect shouldn’t be confined to a single day. By integrating these practices into the everyday culture, employers can ensure a happier, more motivated, and more productive workforce, leading to sustained success for the organization.

Remember, the key to genuine appreciation is sincerity and personalization. Understanding what makes each employee feel valued and tailoring your approach accordingly can make all the difference. Let’s make every day an opportunity to appreciate and uplift those who contribute to our shared goals and successes.