Top 10 Ways of Showing Appreciation to Employees

From Food to Favors: Ways to Say Thank You for Employee Appreciation

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You can tell your colleagues, coworkers, and employees how much you value them and their contribution any day of the year. Trust me. No occasion is necessary. In fact, small surprises and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year help the people in your work life feel valued by you all year long.

Looking for ideas about how to praise and thank coworkers and employees? The opportunities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

You can thank employees in these 40 different ways in your workplace. You can use these 20 ways to tell employees that you care to promote their happiness at work.

You can also get in touch with what you appreciate from your coworkers at work. While every employee has different needs for appreciation, your own needs can serve you well as a starting point.

10 Great Ways to Express Your Appreciation to Employees at Work

Here are ten ways to show your appreciation to employees and coworkers. Why don't you go ahead and make their day?

  • Praise something your coworker has done well. Identify the specific actions that you found admirable. This praise feels sincere since you took the time to spell out details—not just, "You did a good job." You also emphasize the actions that you'd like to see the employee do more often and everybody benefits when people experience clear direction.
  • Say thank you. Show your appreciation for their hard work and contributions. And, don't forget to say please often as well. Social niceties do belong at work. A more gracious, polite, civilized workplace is appreciated by all.
  • Ask your coworkers about their important interests. Questions and acknowledgments about their family, their hobby, their weekend or a special event they attended are always welcome. Your genuine interest—as opposed to being nosey—causes people to feel valued and cared about. Demonstrate this interest regularly by asking questions such as, "How did Johnny's tournament turn out this weekend?"
  • Offer staff members flexible scheduling for the holidays, if feasible. If work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance their time off with that of their coworkers. (Note that a flexible work schedule is a benefit that employees desire all of the time.)
  • Present a personalized gift. Know your coworker’s interests well enough to present a small gift occasionally. An appreciated gift and the gesture of providing it will light up your coworker’s day. A greeting card serves the same purpose. You can give a card for no reason at all, to celebrate a special day such as a birthday, or to offer sympathy when a coworker is ill or experiences a family death.  
  • If you can afford to, give staff members money. End of the year bonuses, attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses and gift certificates say "thank you" quite nicely. TechSmith staff receive a percentage of their annual salary for their end of year bonus.
  • Almost everyone appreciates food. Take coworkers or staff to lunch for a birthday, a special occasion or for no reason at all. Let your guest pick the restaurant. Or, order pizza or lunch from a caterer or a store that delivers. Schedule a brunch for a team that has met its current goals and overdelivers on its promised timeline.
  • Create a fun tradition for a seasonal holiday. ReCellular employees draw names for their Secret Santa gift exchange. Alison Doyle, a Job Searching expert, used to work in Career Services at Skidmore College where they did a gift grab at their annual holiday party.

    LuAnn Johnson, who works in Human Resources at the Schaller Anderson Mercy Care Plan says, "We celebrate Treat Tuesday, every Tuesday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We match up departments or people who don't normally work together as a unit and assign a day to provide gooey, healthy or scrumptious treats for the other groups. It's a great mixer, an opportunity to show off our culinary skills and a morale builder—to say nothing of the sugar high."
  • Treat staff members. Bring in bagels, doughnuts or another treat for staff and coworkers. Offerings such as cookies or cupcakes, particularly anything that you've baked personally, are a huge hit. (Have you tried baking cupcakes in ice cream cones? People love them.) Another hit? Bring chocolate—chocolate anything.
  • Finally, provide opportunity. People want chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate on a special committee where their talents are noticed. They like to attend professional association meetings and represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events. Do you currently have only your executives attending these events? Spread the wealth of opportunity to all employees. They will genuinely appreciate the opportunities.

These are my top ten ways to show appreciation to employees and coworkers. Stretch your imagination. There are hundreds of other employee and coworker appreciation ideas just waiting for you to find them.

They'll bring you success in employee motivation, employee recognition and in building a positive, productive workplace.

Employee appreciation is never out-of-place. In fact, in many organizations, it's often a scarce commodity. Make your workplace the exception. Use every opportunity to demonstrate your gratitude and appreciation to employees.

More About Recognizing and Thanking Your Employees