Many employees don’t feel appreciated at work. They feel like no one notices or cares if they work harder than usual. This ruins their motivation to work more than the bare minimum and can even make them quit. Coming up with employee appreciation ideas needs to become an essential part of your routine to keep employee morale high. If your workers feel appreciated, they will stick around – even if they are good workers that can easily find other jobs. Even if you don’t have problems with turnover, your employees will perform better if they feel appreciated. 

How Do You Make Employees Feel Appreciated?

You can do anything from merely saying please and thank you to taking your employees on a trip. Improving your lunch room by adding a pinball machine or a ping pong table can boost employee appreciation. Letting your employees talk to you directly makes them feel respected and appreciated. 

You can also offer the opportunity to work from home for good performance at the office, give out trophies, make training fun, and provide extra days off. In addition, you can celebrate employee birthdays or take the whole group out for a holiday dinner. Teaching your employees new skills and letting them offer suggestions also improves employee appreciation. 

21 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

1. Congratulate Employees in Front of Others

No employee likes doing some extra work without anyone noticing. Tell them they did a great job and are a great worker. Thank them for whatever they got done in front of other team members.

If workers complete extra tasks, they expect to be rewarded or at least praised for doing this. However, they won’t keep doing extra work if they don’t receive recognition. 

If a team member did more than usual this month, tell them they are a good worker. Praise people who get a lot done in front of others to encourage productivity. 

employee appreciation

2. Trophies Increase Employee Appreciation

Giving out trophies to individual employees or teams can keep your workers motivated. Workers respond very well to recognition even if they are not immediately given any extra money. 

More than anything else, trophies can reduce turnover. Turnover is expensive – you will lose around 25% of an employee’s yearly salary if you have to replace them. Prevent turnover by giving employees praise and prizes. 

Other benefits of workplace trophies are:

  • Improved teamwork – if you give one team a trophy, other teams will try to win one. 
  • Trophies create a fun work environment – Your employees will work better if the work environment seems fun and exciting. 
  • Great return on investment – While trophies cost you almost nothing, they help you make more than a bit of money by boosting productivity. 

3. Let Employees Talk to You Directly

Unless you’re too busy, you should let your employees talk to you directly. If an employee has a problem or a question, they want to speak to the boss, not another employee. Leave your door open and let employees know they can knock on your door and ask questions. 

If you cannot let your employees knock on your door anytime, you should still make yourself available for questions. Walk around your office occasionally and let employees ask or tell you anything. This improves employee appreciation and helps you get to know your team. 

4. Let Good Workers Work From Home

Sometimes, a worker’s job has to be done in the office. Many workers also do much less work when they are working from home. However, employees often prefer working remotely and sometimes perform better at home. 

You might give out the opportunity to work from home as a reward. Above-average performance should be appreciated and rewarded. For example, letting an employee work from home is just as good as a raise and doesn’t cost you anything. 

employees feel valued

5. Play Games to Teach Your Employees Skills

Anything that makes work fun and not dreary boosts employee morale. Your employees will feel appreciated if they get to do exciting things at work and feel neglected if given tedious and repetitive work. 

You can use games to teach your employees teamwork, productivity, efficiency, and more. For example, you can play games that don’t require anything, games that require physical objects, or digital games. Fun and active learning will improve employee appreciation and prevent people from quitting. 

6. Holiday Parties

Spending money on an office Christmas party every year can be worth its investment. Instead of having a Christmas party in the office, you could take your employees to a restaurant for a big meal and give a few gifts. Anything that makes your employees like their job may be worth much more than it costs. 

7. Birthday Parties for Employees

You don’t need to take each employee to a restaurant on their birthday. Instead, you can briefly celebrate each employee’s birthday in the office. This is cheap, doesn’t take much time, and makes your workers like you and your company. 

Employees often start looking for a new job after their birthday. This is especially true when a new decade of their life begins. They think about their lives and decide they want a new job.

If you offer your employees birthday parties, they may stay with your company unless a much better job is available. Office birthday parties should involve as many people as possible. However, something as little as a pizza lunch with everyone is enough to create employee appreciation.

employee birthday parties

8. Offer Extra Days off to Your Best Workers

Giving employees extra days off costs you some money. However, it may be worth the expense. It will make your workers compete over the additional days off and certainly increase employee appreciation. 

9. Say Please and Thank You

Common courtesy is no cost, low effort, and makes your workers feel respected. Workers need politeness and positive feedback. If workers feel like working harder has no benefits, they will stop trying. 

If you want to go beyond that, give an exceptional employee a handwritten thank you note. Not every boss does this, so it will make you stand out. 

10. Take Your Team on a Multi-Day Getaway

Depending on your budget, taking your team on a short vacation could be a great idea. If it makes financial sense, you could take your employees on a plane and go on vacation. 

You could try a camping trip instead if that is far too expensive. So taking your team on a getaway helps people get to know each other better and work as a team. 

You could take people to a concert or have a fitness challenge. All sorts of events can work as long as they’re not too expensive and your team will enjoy them. 

team building

11. Ask For Feedback

At meetings, you should sometimes ask your employees for feedback. They might have valid criticism or brilliant ideas. You don’t want your employees only to do what they are told; you want them to contribute ideas. 

You can also have a suggestions box where people can leave anonymous feedback. If someone has an idea but worries other people would think it is stupid, they would instead suggest it anonymously. It is also easier for employees to offer criticism if there is a suggestions box. 

12. Give Employees New Responsibilities Rather Than Hire New People

If you need a new employee to fill a new role, you don’t necessarily have to hire anyone new. Instead, think of an employee you already have who could fill this role. 

Employees are likely to stick around if they feel they are making progress and learning new skills. For example, they may leave or do the bare minimum if they think it’s a dead-end job. Employee appreciation is mainly about ensuring your workers advance their careers. 

13. Improve Your Break Room

If your break room is a plain and drab place, you should improve it. For example, a barren room with a microwave, some chairs, and a table isn’t good enough. 

Decorate the walls and do something to make your break room fun. For example, you could add a pinball machine, an arcade game, a television, books, comics, or even a ping-pong table. 

break room

14. Offer Education and Training

Nothing works better than helping your employees get more credentials and learn new skills at your expense. This might be the single best way to increase employee appreciation. 

If your employees receive education and pay, they will feel like they are advancing their careers, not merely working a job. Employees that receive free education feel like the company cares about them and their future. 

15. Have a Wall of Achievement

If your workers are improving over time, they should be congratulated. If your sales are higher than last year, put sales figures for each month on a wall. Let the employees see that they are getting better.

Make the achievement wall look as good as possible. It needs visualizations, such as graphs or pictures, to make your employees pay attention to it. 

The achievement wall can also focus on goals. For example, it might show how much the company sold last year and how much they aim to sell this year. 

16. Host an Employee Appreciation Day

You should recognize employees throughout the year instead of only celebrating an employee appreciation day. However, hosting a one-day event where you recognize each team member can help you build trust with your team. Employee Appreciation Day takes place on Friday, March 3, 2023. Having a range of employee recognition ideas planned for that day can help improve the company culture.

You might give everyone on the team the day off as a way to appreciate their hard work. Or you might plan a day of non-work related activities, such as a team lunch, gift cards given out, and or presents from the company.

employee appreciation day

17. Give Positive Feedback in Every Meeting

Most people who give feedback, give negative feedback. And after always hearing negative things about your work ethic, it gets exhausting and draining, especially when the numbers don’t lie.

People need to hear five pieces of positive feedback before you give one piece of negative feedback in order to stay on as engaged employees. A company’s success will depend on how positive the work environment is. You can make all the difference just by calling out positive activities your employees are doing when talking to them as a team or on a 1:1 basis.

Employee recognition shouldn’t be an occasional thing you do, but something you do in every meeting with them. Call out specific things you’re grateful for from all team members. The more you do it, the more other people start to do it, and that’s such a great example of how employee recognition could spread and create a better company culture.

18. Make Employees Feel Valued

You never know what employees value until you give it to someone else. Maybe you gave someone on the team a promotion or title change, and suddenly everyone is coming to you telling you they want to experience career advancement too.

Or you recognize an employee’s contribution in a Slack channel, but someone else on the team feels left out.

Consider sending an survey to the entire company asking everyone what they value and how you can better appreciate the staff members and business leaders of the company.

19. Try a Team Building Exercise

Showing employee appreciation can be hard for leaders, especially when they’re stressed about multiple things. A team building exercise isn’t a quick fix, but it can help people work together to connect as a whole team.

Employee engagement tends to go down with less face time, so if your company is remote, having an in-person event like this every three or four months can help people build stronger relationships with the entire team.

team building meeting

20. Create an Employee Appreciation Program

An effective employee recognition program takes ideas from the whole team. You don’t want to reward employees the same way as everyone experiences recognition differently. If a particular employee is becoming disgruntled, include them in the committee for the employee appreciation program so that they can have a direct say in how to boost employees appreciation.

The best employees and even great employees are easy to recognize. But it’s likely that the worst performing employees need recognition the most, as most of the time they worked really hard unrecognized and are now burnt out. So, include the worst performing employees in the decisions at these meetings to, so you can get some mutual efforts in gaining valuable insight into what’s going on.

Outstanding performance isn’t a good indicator on its own for what deserves to be recognized. Consider all aspects of what needs to be appreciated. There’s no winning team if half feel left out by the program.

21. Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Celebrating work anniversaries is a simple way to send a recognition message without hurting anyone’s feelings. You can have the entire team sign a card, while giving some health benefits, such as a free relaxing massage, a day off, or an all-expenses paid trip based on how long the employee has been at the company.

A work anniversary is a good employee appreciation day for all team members when their anniversary comes. Having a tool that monitors all anniversaries will be helpful so no one gets left out. Plus, it can boost employee engagement, if there are some perks associated with it.


Whether it’s an employee appreciation day, an event with all team members, creating a cohesive set of company values for your culture, or even if you express gratitude in all meetings and 1:1s with direct reports, there are multiple ways to show employee appreciation. Genuine appreciation goes a long way. And when employees hard work is noticed, they’ll be more likely to offer a unique perspective, have a helpful attitude, and it’ll boost productivity.