boss recognizing an employee

7 Employee Appreciation Ideas to Recognize Your Team

Your employees have put in a lot of time into company projects, and you’d like to reward them for their excellent work. You begin to brainstorm ideas to recognize your employees, but you’re not exactly sure what will truly communicate your appreciation. There are tons of options out there, but it can be tough to narrow down the list to a select few. 

At Pinnacle Promotions, we’ve helped hundreds of companies select the perfect employee appreciation gifts to help managers recognize their team and team members for their hard work and successes. Here are seven of our favorite employee appreciation ideas to spotlight your team:

  1. Host a quarterly event 

    Annual award seminars are pretty common in organizations, but since they only happen once a year and typically recognize just a small group, your employees may feel left out from all of the work they’ve put in over the past 12 months. 

    Instead, host a quarterly award recognition event for your department that highlights a team member for their accomplishments. You can opt for something traditional like an “employee of the quarter” award, or you might consider going bold and creative with a “superstar award.” Whether it’s surprising your employee with an achievement ribbon or presenting them with a custom recognition award, it sure will make your employees feel appreciated for doing a great job.

  2. Give a shout-out on social media

    Don’t keep employee acknowledgment to just in-house. If your team member is comfortable with a shout-out on the company’s social media pages, go ahead and give them one! A simple “Congratulations!” accompanied by the employee’s name, job title, a brief explanation as to why they were selected, and a photograph should suffice. 

    As a courtesy, you might want to get your employee’s permission before uploading his or her company headshot. If you want to take a new photo or have your employee provide a personal one from home, make sure you give them a heads-up on when the picture will be taken or when you need the photo by.

  3. Pass out swag items

    Swag is a common employee appreciation gift, but it all comes down to the swag items you choose that make a great reward. Branded corporate apparel, such as high-quality jackets, polos, and dress shirts, can make your employees feel special. 

    If you’re on the hunt for unique non-clothing ideas, drinkware – like custom wine glasses and engraved beer mugs – will also show your employees that you’ve noticed how hard they’ve been working and appreciate their commitment to resolving issues and completing assignments.

  4. Celebrate birthdays

    Some employees don’t like to make their birthday a huge deal around the office. If those employees still want to celebrate, a one-on-one lunch outing is an ideal way to recognize them (in a way that’s more comfortable for them). An employee-boss lunch trip can make an employee feel appreciated on their birthday. 

    Special treats like cupcakes and brownies are always a good choice for team-inclusion birthday celebrations. Before you order food for the party, make sure you ask your team about any dietary restrictions and food allergies.

  5. Recognize work anniversaries

    Employee engagement and recognition is a great way for companies to promote retention. According to Psychometrics, 58% of employees say recognition is how leaders can improve employee engagement. 

    There’s an opportunity for recognition when it comes to anniversaries and tenure. Gifting a promotional reward for the number of years they’ve been at the company is an excellent way to say thanks. For example, provide a free lunch for all employees celebrating their first anniversary. Reward those who’ve been with the company longer with a custom jacket that they can wear both in and out of the office.

  6. Schedule a pet day at work

    If it’s not against company policy, scheduling a day that allows an employee to bring in his or her pet into the office is a great way to boost morale. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, allowing a recognized employee to bring their fur-baby into work will be worth it. Afterward, let them finish up the remainder of the workday at home. Your employees will love that, too!

  7. Write a “thank you” note

    Sometimes, a simple handwritten “thank you” note is all it takes for employees to feel appreciated. Giving a thank you card is a tangible reminder that their hard work has been acknowledged. Don’t forget to add a few sentences about what you’re thanking them for, and how it helped achieve a team goal. 

Why employee appreciation is so important

Employees who feel recognized and appreciated for their work successes in the company are more likely to stay at their current place of employment. Bersin by Deloitte found that companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have less voluntary turnover rate. With a reward program in place, employees will feel like their work is making a difference – that can make a big impact on team morale, confidence, and more!  

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