Everybody knows that a little praise can go a long, long way. But far too frequently, we forget to express our appreciation to employees for their hard work and achievements. And sometimes, we’re just not too sure how to go about it. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of fun ideas you can use to show your appreciation.

Recognition doesn’t always have to be big (or expensive). Sure, things like bonuses and commissions serve as motivators to achieve specific goals, but in between those big milestones, the mere act of saying “thanks” can go a long way towards improving morale in the workplace.

1.   Offer Flexible Scheduling Options

How do you retain employees? When high-performing employees are putting in long hours to get tasks done, they often sacrifice time with their families. When you offer them flexible scheduling, it can make a world of difference to your employees and free them up to be their most effective selves.

2.   Let Other Employees Do the Rewarding

Your employee’s co-workers probably have a better idea of what will be most meaningful to that individual. If you offer parameters for the reward and charge peers with choosing the best options, it will be that much more meaningful to the recipient; and go a long way toward increasing morale and employee engagement in the workplace. You can even include peer employees in helping to identify who is most deserving of recognition for great work. One the best aspects of this strategy is that it engages entire teams.

3.   Give Them a Special Tasty Treat

How do you retain employees if there isn’t a big budget? Everyone loves food, so a delicious treat can be a great way to show your gratitude. Whether it’s a special lunch, some homemade baked goods or ordering pizza, this small token won’t soon be forgotten. A visit from a food truck can be a fun surprise and excuse to step outside the building for fresh air and camaraderie.

4.   Offer Special Opportunities

Sometimes, opportunities present themselves at just the right moment. Your employees might love to be offered a pair of tickets to a sporting event or concert. Perhaps it’s the opportunity to be part of a special committee, volunteer group, or to participate in a charitable event. Other excellent opportunities might include seminars and industry events that are solid professional development opportunities.

5.   Try a Little Surprise

Spur of the moment and spontaneous tokens of appreciation can be great fun. You can give them a shortened workday or any other unexpected treat. You could also surprise employees with a special and fun team-building exercise one afternoon. Another fun surprise could be to scatter post-it notes around an employee’s work area with messages like “good job,” “well done,” and “you’re awesome!”

6.   Have a Thank You Meeting

Call an employee into your office to say thank you. Be specific about what they did to earn your appreciation. Be sure to make this the only agenda item in the meeting. You’ll make the biggest impact when you avoid following up with other agenda items. Limit this meeting to praise only.

7.   Give Them a Bonus Casual Day

If you have a dress code policy in your workplace, hand out coupons that allow a free casual day on a day of their choosing. Somehow, jeans never get old in a more formal work environment.

8.   Support an Employee’s Favorite Charity

If there’s a charity that is particularly near and dear to an employee’s heart, making a donation to that organization in their honor can sometimes have much deeper meaning than any gift you could hand to them.

However you choose to express your gratitude to employees for a job well done, what’s most important is to be sincere with your praise. Be specific about what they did to deserve the recognition and, whenever possible, find a reward that will be meaningful to that particular employee. Improving morale and employee satisfaction in the workplace is ongoing work and saying thank you in the ways listed above can certainly help.


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It’s powerful to know what your employees think. You can identify problems like poor leadership, communication breakdown, and mounting plans to leave your company before expensive turnover affects your business.
Use this checklist for a quick read on your employee engagement.

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