7 Ways to Celebrate Employees

Springtime is packed full of opportunities to recognize and recognize and appreciate your employees’ hard work. Various appreciation days and celebrations allow employers to express gratitude and provide recognition for all of the good work accomplished by their teams. Unfortunately, a lot of employers fall into a rut when it comes to acknowledging the efforts of each team member (and especially remote employees!). Employee turnover is common in places where management fails to recognize each worker, but we can make staff appreciation easier. 

For your next workplace appreciation day, we’ve got seven fantastic and unique ideas for celebrating your employees. Bringing in lunch? That’s fine. But wouldn’t it be better to leave your employees pleasantly surprised and talking about how great they have it? The Great Resignation means that employee retention is critical, and workplace appreciation is the perfect place to start. 

7 Unique Ways to Celebrate Employees

1. New Reads

My inner book nerd may be showing, but trust me—this really is a great way to express appreciation for your employees. Create a company library where employees can borrow popular titles, particularly related to work performance or company mission. Consider creating a company Audible account or providing your employees with a stipend to fund their own. 

Individually, you can recognize a day to appreciate your employees by stopping at a local store and buying them a gift card or a book on a subject you know that they are interested in (perfect for a birthday or work anniversary). 

Need a more affordable (or free) option? Gather some employee feedback and start a company book club! Through a Slack channel or regular lunch group, bring interested employees together with a fun and lighthearted book discussion group. We won’t even judge you if you make it an article- or podcast-discussion group instead. 

2. Group Thank You Card

We’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest Kudoboard as a creative way to recognize someone on a workplace appreciation day. Nothing goes as well as giving your employee an online recognition board created by your whole team. All you need to do is go to Kudoboard to get started. You can also order a hard copy for mounting or print the book for a fantastic gift. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s personal.  It’s also a way to create an office tradition.

3. Fresh Swag

Sometimes that sweet, sweet company sweatshirt is all you need for a workplace appreciation day. It not only creates a stronger bond between you and your employee but can help to foster a positive company culture. Cool and identifiable company-branded clothing and accessories can also serve as an awareness campaign, if done correctly. 

Here’s a good mix of popular and more unique swag options: 

  • Sweatshirt
  • Backpack
  • Plants
  • Stickers
  • Water bottles
  • Beanies or baseball hats
  • Pins
  • Camp chairs
  • Umbrellas
  • Candles
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone stand or charger

But the MOST IMPORTANT element in company swag? Quality. Cheap cotton t-shirts will be thrown in the bottom of the drawer or handed to spouses for pajama wear (I can share from experience). High-quality items will actually be used and will show true thoughtfulness and appreciation for your employees. 

P.S. Do not, under any circumstances, choose neon colors. We beg of you. 

4. Company {Sock} Club

We’ve seen so many variations on this theme, and they’re all fun. A Company ____ Club is a recognition program where employees get a specific gift on momentous occasions. Birthdays, work anniversaries, Christmas, whatever you decide as a company—each milestone of recognition moves the employee through the gift progression. 

For example, a Company Sock Club is a popular, useful, and gender-neutral way to provide employees with a cute and useful appreciation gift. On their first day, they may get the starter pair of socks (a standard company-branded pair), then advance to the cult-favorites (dog socks! Tie-dye print!) as they reach their first work anniversary, Christmas, or a birthday. Employees can show off their company socks at work or in a dedicated Slack channel, creating a unique company culture and workplace camaraderie. It seems silly—but it works. 

5. Give Your Company Some Culture

Company culture? It’s important. One way to make it real is by rewarding your employee on an appreciation day with gifts that speak to culture in general. Connect your employees to their city with tickets to local events or memberships to city attractions. 

Ideas for Culture Gifts

  • Tickets to a play, musical, or symphony
  • Memberships to an art museum or aquarium 
  • Movie ticket vouchers
  • Rent a theater and invite employees for a private showing
  • Crystal awards
  • Get a corporate subscription to a language program like Duolingo or Babbel
  • Acknowledge the celebrations and events of other cultures

Making room for that work-life balance and bringing all of their identity to the workplace is the perfect idea for multicultural staff appreciation. 

6. A Cup of Coffee

So you really want to improve employee morale? Make that a cup of really good coffee for your employee. After all, an appreciation day for employees comes once a year (and caffeine = engagement).  You’ve been at a local coffee joint with your team. You’ve seen just what coffee your employee likes.  Buy a mug.  Add a bag of coffee and a gift certificate. You’re set!

Remote employees? No problem. Reimburse their next Starbucks trip or send a nice new bag of specialty coffee or a beautiful new mug to each employee’s home. 

If you’re ready for a bigger ticket or a more permanent form of workplace appreciation, consider upgrading your coffee machine or coffee offerings for the breakroom happy hour. A better daily employee experience can make a huge impact. 

7. A Heartfelt Message

There are so many small and inexpensive ways to reward employee achievement on a workplace appreciation occasion. Go to LinkedIn and congratulate your employee with a personal message. Write them a note and leave it on their desk. It doesn’t have to be long or elaborate, as long as it’s honest and thoughtful regarding their hard work. What is most important is that you show that you care.

Ongoing Appreciation

It’s important to mark the special occasions of workplace appreciation, such as Nurses Day, Administrative Professionals Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, Labor Day, and more. If you want a healthy, happy workforce, it’s worth all the hard work to express regular appreciation for your employees. We have even more ideas for great workplace appreciation—any day of the year.