Employee Appreciation Day ideas to delight your team
One of the primary goals for internal communicators in 2023 (based on results from our recent internal comms trends survey) is engaging employees and creating a better workplace. We know it’s essential to recognize your employee’s efforts all year long, but since National Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner (it’s on March 3!), what better time to go above and beyond when showing your staff appreciation?
We’ve curated a list of employee appreciation ideas for you to celebrate and delight your employees on National Employee Appreciation Day (and beyond)!
Send a handwritten note from the CEO or leadership team: Don’t underestimate the power of a classic handwritten note from your leadership team or CEO. These offer a personal touch where the leadership team can call out specific milestones reached for each employee and make them feel valued and appreciated. Additionally, in an increasingly digital world, handwritten notes are a tangible reminder of their recognition.
Distribute digital gifts: Sending individualized gift cards is a simple yet effective way to show employee appreciation. The convenience of digital gifts allows your staff to choose when to use their gift. Additionally, services like Caroo or Snappy offer personalized gift options so your employees can select a gift that fits their personality and needs best!
Offer a surprise day off, an extended weekend, or a long lunch break: Show your employees their hard work has not gone unnoticed and offer surprise time off! This emphasizes to employees that you value their hard work and want to ensure they have a good work-life balance. What might be little effort on your part will go a long way in building a positive work environment for your employees.
Hold a giveaway or raffle with prizes: Holding a giveaway or raffle at your company creates excitement and anticipation among your employees! Giveaway prizes can include anything from company swag, an extra vacation day, gift certificates, or lunch on the company.
Treat employees to lunch: You know that really great restaurant down the street that everyone in the office raves about? Delight your employees by catering lunch for the team, or surprise them by getting out of the office and dining at a local eatery together. For remote employees, services like DoorDash for Work offer options for team members to select lunch based on their location so everyone in your company can feel appreciated.
Pamper your employees by hiring a masseuse, chiropractor, or mindfulness coach to come to the office: Provide a relaxing and stress-reducing experience by hiring a massage service company to come to your office for the day to offer complimentary 15-minute chair massages to employees. Additionally, bringing a chiropractor or mindfulness coach into the office for the day is another excellent option to show your employees you are invested in their well-being.
Stock the breakroom with snacks and drinks: Who doesn’t love waltzing into the breakroom to find it freshly stocked with your favorite snacks and drinks to keep you energized throughout the day? Take it a step further and really make your employees feel comfortable in the breakroom by designing a space with a variety of seating, tables, and decor to really make a spot where people want to gather and socialize.
Host a “take your pet to work day”: National Take Your Pet To Work Day is held annually on June 23, but you don’t have to wait that long to bring your furry friends to the office. Consider hosting a “take your pet to work day” for Employee Appreciation Day. If bringing pets to the office is not feasible for your company, consider having a pet visit outside the office or in a green space nearby. This way, employees can choose whether they would like to participate or not.
Host a team happy hour: Happy hours are a great way to socialize and connect with your team. Take your employees out for drinks and hors d’oeuvres at a local spot in town, or hold the happy hour in your office. The event can be scaled down with larger companies by breaking out the happy hour based on teams within the company.
Host an awards ceremony (think: your own Dundie awards!): Brush up on that acceptance speech! Hosting an awards ceremony is a great way to celebrate and recognize your employees on National Employee Appreciation Day. Send out an internal email with a survey that includes the award categories and ask team members to vote (you can run a survey through an internal communications platform like Workshop).
Offer free professional development or training: Professional development and growth shouldn’t stop when your employees land the job! Consider offering free professional development for your employees so you can set them up for success within their role (and even prepare them for additional projects they might be interested in within the organization).
An email of appreciation: Sending an email from the CEO or leadership team on Employee Appreciation is a great way to show your team they are valued and appreciated. When using an internal communications platform (like Workshop!), you can utilize a variety of personalization features so you can send customized employee appreciation notes to every department in your company! So instead of sending a mass email to the entire staff list, get extra personal by utilizing merge tags or segmenting your audiences to display different content for different teams.
Launch an employee recognition program: This could be done in a variety of different ways like an employee recognition wall of fame, an employee of the month program, or shoutouts from leadership on social media, the company website, or intranet.
Appreciation Video: Have your leadership team create an appreciation video where they honor and recognize the work employees are doing across the company. Videos are a great option because the sincerity really comes across. Plus, you could get more departments involved by showcasing the different work being done within the organization.
Implement a mentoring program: Employee Appreciation Day is perfect for announcing a new mentoring program. You can always scale up your program as you go, but getting it started is the first step in helping employees grow personally and professionally.
Organize a company-sponsored retreat or an offsite event: Get employees excited by planning a company offsite or retreat! Gathering employees outside of the office is a great way to spark energy from your team. Plus, it allows remote employees a chance to connect with team members they may not see daily. You don’t have to have everything in place by National Employee Appreciation Day, but it’s an excellent opportunity to announce the retreat or event!
Create an employee emergency fund: An employee emergency fund can help employees with unexpected hardships that create financial stress for them and their families. Consider having an option where employees can make donations directly to the fund to support their team members in need. You can take it a step further by doing a company match to a certain amount.
Create a Shoutouts Station: A clever way for team members to receive recognition (not only on Employee Appreciation Day but year-round!) is to create a Shoutouts Station. What is a Shoutouts Station, you ask? It’s an opportunity for team members to give a shoutout to a fellow coworker for a job well done! Creating a space where employees can publicly acknowledge their team members helps create a positive environment. This can be done digitally (via Slack or your company’s instant messenger) or on a bulletin board in the office.
Ask your employees what they would like: Having a difficult time narrowing down what you want to do for National Employee Appreciation Day? Take your top three ideas and survey employees to see which idea is their favorite.
Help with the commute: It might not be feasible to cover all commute expenses, but you can still help your employees save time and money by offering transportation benefits & perks. Consider offering parking reimbursements, public transportation coverage, or occasional gas gift cards.
Create your own staff appreciation holiday: Who says you must stick to Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate your staff? Is there a day that’s specifically memorable for your company? Perhaps you reached a significant milestone or hit a revenue goal. Creating your own appreciation holiday can create a sense of community within your company.
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