Employee appreciation: 10 ideas

Samantha Mikos

Little Reminder: Employee Appreciation Day 2022 takes place Friday, March 4.

Feeling appreciated is magical. It inspires people to smile from ear to ear and makes hearts bigger. In the workplace, employee appreciation has the same effect. It strengthens relationships and improves employee retention and loyalty. This isn’t a miracle drug. Rather, employee appreciation appeals to the human need to feel valued.

To foster a healthy company culture, it’s important to understand and effectively use employee appreciation. Learn which types and employee appreciation day ideas work best for your team members and see the success roll in. Your team will be engaged, productive, and happy. You’ll pay it forward to your staff who will then pay it forward to your customers. Soon enough, your organization will be close-knit and unbeatable.

Find out more about why employee recognition is important.

Coworkers having success in the office

Types of employee appreciation

Balance is key. How long can you eat the same meal before getting tired of it? To prevent your appreciation efforts from going stale, you’ll need to know the different types of employee appreciation. With these, you can develop sustainable, diverse, and thoughtful appreciation programs.

Informal employee appreciation

Informal employee appreciation consists of cost-effective gestures of recognition. It may be used to inspire continued hard work or to celebrate achieved goals, completed projects, or closed deals. Informal appreciation efforts don’t happen every day, but they aren’t as elaborate as formal efforts.

Formal employee appreciation

Formal employee appreciation is the most complex type of appreciation. It calls for more planning and bigger budgets. Due to the greater structure and work put into formal appreciation, it happens the least frequently. Examples include a nomination process and special recognition awards ceremony.

Everyday appreciation

Everyday appreciation happens most often and consists of day-to-day gestures of gratitude. This type recognizes team members efficiently and with little cost. You can think of these gestures as small tokens of appreciation. For instance, you can verbally praise accomplishments and send thank-you notes to employees.

award with thank you note insert

Top 10  employee appreciation ideas: gifts, quotes, messages etc.

People have different personalities. Some days, we may switch between multiple moods. In the world of recognition, it’s smart to have different tools ready for any situation or team. A strong employee appreciation program is designed with different interests and temperaments in mind. Consider the following ideas to spice up your appreciation efforts.

Employee appreciation awards

Appreciation awards make gratitude tangible. Designed with your recipients in mind, custom awards serve as reminders of truly special memories. Creative designers and engineers can help translate feelings of appreciation into purposeful designs.

Employee appreciation letter

Thank-you notes and letters are the cornerstone of meaningful and cost-effective recognition. However, what do you write in an employee appreciation card? It’s important to be genuine and personal. Write about the specific qualities you appreciate most in your recipient. Consider using the following ideas in your letters.

  • Your dedication has always been an inspiration.
  • I greatly value the contributions you’ve made to our organization.
  • You are an invaluable part of our team.

Additionally, the Cristaux team can input these insertions into recognition program packages. If you’d like to create gift boxes for employees, we can include additional items and create company branded packaging.

Employee thank you notes printed

Incentive Programs

You can inspire your team to achieve more by designing incentives for employees. When deciding on the reward, consider employee interests, needs, and wants. With a desired award in mind, team members are more motivated to achieve specific goals.

Professional Development

To show your appreciation for staff members, invest in their future. By supporting employee professional development, each individual and the overall business grows. Common ideas for professional development include mentoring programs, online classes, conferences, and seminars.

Also, you can take it one step further by celebrating what team members achieve outside of work. Perhaps, they bought a house or ran a marathon. By recognizing the whole individual, you’ll make your employees feel incredibly valued.

Years of Service Awards

To improve employee retention, you can present a work anniversary gift to mark an employee’s milestone. Publicly recognizing loyalty inspires others to follow suit. Common employee work anniversaries to celebrate include one, five, ten, 15, and 20 years.

EDM Wire cut metal numbers painted blue. 50 Years of service award

Employee Survey

The best appreciation is individualized, so why not ask your employees how they want to be recognized? For example, you can invite each employee to complete a survey. You can inquire about how they’d like to celebrate their birthday, their favorite foods, hobbies, and more.


One type of recognition is promotional. This consists of rewarding hard-working employees with promotions. You can empower your team to choose what they want to do. Promotions can range from new projects to new job titles.

Learn more about the types of employee recognition.

Community Service Opportunities

Paying it forward to one’s community is a common priority for many people. You can support your team by encouraging them to give back. Consider the following ideas to inspire community service.

  • Designate additional paid time off for volunteering
  • Organize an in-office food drive
  • Donate to a charity on behalf of your team

Charity race volunteer

Online Acknowledgment

As more of the workforce transitions to working from home, remote employee recognition is growing more common. You can use online tools to continue appreciation. For instance, you can shout out employee achievements in email newsletters or on your website. If you’re looking for something more formal, then you can host remote events and honor team members with corporate awards or team awards.

Departmental Goals and Contests

Particularly for large organizations, departmental goals help drive collaboration and friendly workplace competition. You can strengthen the relationships between smaller teams, while encouraging hard work through the company. Also, you can design departmental awards to be voted on by the members of each division.

Company game department crystal trophy

What else is part of a good employee appreciation program?

Showing appreciation to employees year-round is made easy by creating an employee recognition program. With this, you can develop routines and traditions for a supportive and healthy company culture. Consider the following ideas to bolster your efforts.

  • Birthday celebrations
  • Deal toys for big business deals
  • Catering lunches and treats
  • Company branded swag and awards
  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • Plaques for convenient displays of appreciation
  • Take on employee responsibilities for a day

How do you appreciate staff during Covid?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can appreciate staff by applying traditional types of recognition to a virtual work environment. For example, you can send thank-you notes via email or online chatting. Consider the following ideas to celebrate your remote team.

  • Organize a virtual awards ceremony
  • Use drop shipping to send awards and gifts to individual employees
  • Praise achievements during virtual meetings
  • Host virtual events to reconnect with staff members

Company event online remote

Take your employee appreciation to a new level

If you want your business to grow, then you need to nurture your roots: the team that supports you and your mission every day. Inspire your staff with employee appreciation and watch as your organization grows.  With a grand vision in mind, reach out to the Cristaux International to make it happen.

Contact Cristaux to elevate your employee appreciation today.