Employee appreciation is one of the best ways to improve retention at your organization. It’s simple to implement, it doesn’t have to cost you anything, and it goes a long way in helping employees feel like valued members of your team.

That’s why it’s so surprising that only 45 percent of employees are completely satisfied with the amount of recognition they receive. If this is an area for improvement at your organization, read on for 7 ways to show employee appreciation—and be sure to share them with your managers and leadership team.

1. Say thank you

The single best way to show employee appreciation is with a heartfelt “thank you.” Briefly acknowledge what you’re recognizing, and why you appreciate it. This is best done in person, but a handwritten thank you note, email, or Slack message work as well.

While simple, this gesture is genuine and encourages the employee to continue similar behaviors in the future. You may, of course, layer on additional gestures of employee appreciation, but each of them should be accompanied with a genuine thank you.

Say thank you to employees

2. Amplify employee appreciation company-wide

While some employees prefer to be recognized privately, others thrive off public displays of appreciation. If your employee is the latter, public appreciation serves a double purpose.

First, to recognize the employee; but second, to amplify what standout behavior looks like so others follow suit. You can do this with a shout-out during a team meeting, in a team-wide email, or with a physical space to display notes of appreciation in your office.

Check out some of our feedback and performance integration partners to take public employee appreciation to the next level.

3. Send a thoughtful gift

A personal, well thought out gift can be a nice gesture to go along with your thanks. For instance, a Peet’s gift card for the coffee lover, or tickets to an upcoming game for the sports enthusiast. Thoughtful gifts show employees that you went the extra mile to give them something special, rather than a generic, company branded T-shirt.

Employee appreciation - Send a thoughtful gift

4. Celebrate work anniversaries

Celebrating employee anniversaries can help employees feel appreciated and cared-for on their special days. While significant achievements are best celebrated as they happen, employees make many, smaller, day-to-day contributions that add up to make a positive impact in the organization. Milestone celebrations are great for appreciating all of those.

For Sapling customers, make sure you never miss an employee anniversary by taking advantage of our calendar integrations.

5. Hold employee appreciation events

Employee events are a great way to show your entire team that you appreciate their efforts, especially when important goals have been met. For instance, a company-wide party to celebrate meeting aggressive growth goals, or a team-wide dinner to celebrate a successful product launch. These events are also a great place to recognize individual contributions for employees who like public recognition.

Hold employee appreciation events

6. Award bonuses

While monetary recognition isn’t necessary, it is appreciated and shows employees that you value their contributions. Award discretionary bonuses with an explanation, for transparency. A bonus that simply pops up in an employee’s paycheck doesn’t have the same effect as one paired with a genuine “thank you,” regardless of whether they’re given spontaneously, or in regular cycles.

7. Promote your star players

A promotion shows employees that you value them as a member of your team, and want to keep them at your organization long-term. This is best preceded by career pathing and employee development, so each person has a say in their future with your organization—and clearly understands what they need to do to get there. Again, employees who thrive off public recognition may also appreciate a team announcement for this milestone.

Promote your star players

Final thoughts on employee appreciation

There are literally countless ways to show employee appreciation, but the important thing is to thank people for their contributions to your team. A thoughtful gift, bonus, or promotion can be icing on the cake, but they aren’t necessary.

Employee appreciation should be given out freely, and you don’t need a budget to give a genuine “thank you.” It’s also important to note that employee appreciation can come from anywhere: a manager, a company leader, a peer, or even a customer or partner. Creating a culture of feedback can help employee appreciation flow freely within your company, and encourage people to share feedback from external sources.

Do this, and you’ll be sure to increase the number of employees who are completely satisfied the amount of recognition they receive.


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7 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation