25 Employee Appreciation Ideas Perfect for Small Business Owners


25 Employee Appreciation Ideas Perfect for Small Business Owners

According to data compiled by Socialcast, 85 percent of workers like having their efforts recognized at work. But more than half feel like they’re not receiving enough recognition.

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Employee Appreciation Ideas

If you have a team working for your small business, recognizing the efforts of your employees can go a long way toward making them happy at work and reducing turnover. Here are some employee appreciation ideas you can use to recognize your small business team.

Host an Ice Cream Social

You don’t need to spend a ton to show your employees they’re appreciated. A simple, crowd-pleasing offering like some ice cream and toppings can make pretty much anyone on your team smile.



Call an Early End to the Day

Notice your team has been working a lot of long hours? Call it early one day to give them a break and help them avoid burnout.

Lengthen Lunch Breaks

You can also simply offer longer lunch breaks on occasion when your employees have things going on or when you think they’d enjoy a bit of extra time to themselves.

Create a Photo Board

You can create a strong sense of community among your team members by putting up a large board in the office where you add photos from team outings and let your team add their own personal touches.

Say Thanks on Social Media

A simple thank you message posted to your business’s social media accounts, along with a heartfelt update about all the hard work your team does, can serve as a great way to show appreciation publicly.

Feature Them on Your Website

You could also post a thank you message, along with a photo or video featuring your team, to your company’s website.

Let Them Decorate Your Office

Of course, you can let team members put up personal touches in their own space. But you can also consider their input when it comes to other design elements. Have a vote on things like artwork or furniture so they can really appreciate their surroundings while they work.

Hire Some Entertainment

To add some fun to the workday, or even after-hours events, hire some unique entertainers to visit your office. If you can’t accommodate musicians, consider bringing in a comedian or magician to provide some entertainment.

Invest in a Specialty Coffee Maker

Every great office should have a coffee machine. But if have a lot of serious coffee lovers, consider adding an espresso maker or other specialty products. Or if they’re more of a tea-loving crowd, add some diffusers and specialty blends to your office kitchen.

Support Their Favorite Causes

If your business makes any charitable donations, letting your employees have a say in what causes you support can serve as an employee recognition initiative. You can have a vote or just rotate who gets to choose an organization or cause for you to support.

Score Tickets to Local Events

Instead of heading to a standard happy hour after work, try to score some tickets to a sporting event or other special event in your area that members of your team can attend together.

Host Virtual Parties

If you have a team that works remotely, you can still recognize them by hosting virtual gatherings using video chat services or even social media.

Work Outside

A quick change of scenery can offer a nice boost for a team in a rut. If it’s a nice day and you have some outdoor space at your office and a strong WiFi connection, give your team the chance to work outside for a change of pace.

Offer Recreational Activities at Work

You can also offer some fun activities for your team to enjoy while taking breaks throughout the day. You could follow Google’s lead by offering table tennis in the break room. Or you could even set up a chessboard or video game console just to give people some different options.

Upgrade Your Break Room

Aside from that, you can put some simple upgrades into your break room to show your employees some appreciation, like comfortable furniture or premium snack and drink options.

Let Employees Choose Their Hours

A recent study from marketing agency Fractl found that aside from salary and health benefits, flexible work hours are one of the main things that employees care about when choosing an employer. So if you want to show your employees appreciation, give them what they want and offer some flexibility in your scheduling, like offering four-day weeks or periodically allowing employees to work from home.

Start “Pet Days”

When your employees do have to come into work, surrounding them with cute dogs can make the day a lot more enjoyable. Designate specific days where you let your team members bring in their pets, provided there aren’t any allergy issues.

Host an Awards Ceremony

You don’t have to channel your inner Michael Scott and host a full-blown “Dundee’s” awards. But you can reward all of your employees by recognizing their own individual talents. Host a quick awards ceremony at the end of a day where you hand out awards to your whole team, each one specific to that team member.

Celebrate Unique Holidays

Lots of offices have parties for major holidays like Christmas and Halloween. But you can add even more fun to your office by hosting parties for lesser known holidays. For instance, if your company offers IT services, you could celebrate Geek Pride Day on May 25.

Remember Important Dates

You can also show your employees you appreciate them by keeping track of important dates like birthdays and work anniversaries. Send out a calendar every month or just be sure to send out messages on Slack or whatever communication tool you use to share your well wishes.

Create “Get Well Soon” Care Packages

When employees are out sick, you can also send your well wishes through personal care packages. You might even set up a team within your office to put together those items when you have team members who could use a helping hand.

Survey Your Employees

If you really want your employees to feel appreciated, you need to actually listen to them. To gather opinions and actionable insights, perform regular surveys and then actually take their suggestions and input into account when making changes.

Throw a Company Picnic

A company picnic not only provides a great, relaxed setting to get together with your employees and for them to socialize with each other outside the office, company picnics also give others a chance to meet their colleagues’ families.

Offer Surprise Bonuses

Creative rewards are great. But sometimes the best way to show appreciation is by simply giving them more money, if you can afford to do so of course. Offer surprise bonuses to show your appreciation when your team is not even expecting it.

Let Team Members Recognize Each Other

And you can also give your team members a venue for appreciating one another. Set up a board in your office or create an appreciation thread in your communication app of choice.

Company Picnic Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

8 Reactions

  1. Hi Annie,

    Thanks for this amazing post. While I was working with my boss before I went on to open my own business, I always felt bad when I do things that deserve to acknowledged but he acts like he didn’t notice. At some point, I felt like acting the way others did but a second thought, I held on. Years later, he rewarded me amazingly. I didn’t know he took note of that.

    I encourage other employees to just focus on the work for which they are paid. I also encourage employers to treat their employees well, because at the long run, it balls down to what Stephen Covey said, “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your best customers.”

    Cheers.

    Emenike

    • Annie Pilon

      Thanks so much for your input, Emenike! I totally agree – it’s great for employees to just try to do great work regardless, but having that recognition certainly helps!

  2. Aira Bongco

    I think that it is important to make your employees feel valued. Some employees will stay just for this reason.

  3. These are great! I know I always appreciate celebrating the little things. Like when we have a good month or hit some milestone, and then go out for a good lunch as a team. It’s small, but it adds a lot of value.

  4. Employees who know they are appreciated and important parts of a company’s success will work harder and stick around when things get difficult. No reason to not treat them to something special every once in a while to remind them how important they are to the success of the company. Great article and ideas.

  5. The most important thing you can do is to let your employees know you appreciate the work they do and the effort they make.

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