Most employers think the secret to retaining great employees is to acknowledge them and all of the hard work they do. Few realize that employees also want to be respected and feel appreciated in the workplace. As their employer, you can do this by starting an employee appreciation program for them.

Benefits of an Employee Appreciation Program

Once you decide to create an employee appreciation program, it should be included in your budget. Recognizing employees is an important expense that comes with great benefits for your business. Some of these benefits include:

  • Higher retention rates
  • Company pride and loyalty
  • Reduced employee stress and burnout
  • Trust between workers and management
  • Increased productivity and employee performance

If you’re worried about the cost of putting a program in place, there may be a way for you to get free money to fund it. Businesses that were able to retain and pay their employees throughout the pandemic may be eligible for the Employee Retention Tax Credit. Available through the government, this credit allows you to claim up to $26,000 per W-2 employee that you retained during the pandemic. If you qualify and receive a refund, what better way to show your appreciation than to use a portion of it for employee gifts, events and activities? 

The Pillars of Employee Appreciation

Before deciding how best to honor your employees, you need to be aware of the four pillars of employee appreciation. They are:

  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Autonomy
  • Investment

A program built on these four areas shows employees that you value and respect them. It also builds trust and leaves workers feeling confident and empowered. Now that you know how to structure your program, here are some fun and creative employee appreciation ideas to help get you started.

Office Celebrations

Celebrating important dates such as birthdays and employee anniversaries is a great way to show your workers how much you appreciate them. You can do this by planning a monthly office party or presenting them with cards and gifts to mark the occasion. 

Catered Food

Everybody loves good food so treat your staff to a catered meal, every once in a while. You could order something different each time and alternate between breakfast and lunch food. 

Team Outings

Consider taking a break from the office from time to time and going on a team outing with your staff. It could be structured and full of team-building activities or you could work a half day and take them out for an afternoon of fun. 

Offsite Family Events

Another way to show appreciation to your employees and their families is by sponsoring offsite family events. If possible, include free food for everyone to eat. This is a great way to get to know your workers better in a more relaxed and fun environment.  

Contests and Prizes

Holding an office contest with several prizes is another great way to show your staff some appreciation and have some fun. While some of the prizes can be company swag with logos on them, make sure the grand prize is something nice such as a gift card, free tickets to an event or another prize that you know the winner will enjoy.

Wellness Program 

Adding a wellness program to your list of employee benefits gives employees an affordable and convenient option for staying fit. You can do this by offering free memberships to a certain gym, reimbursing workers who purchase a membership or even creating an in-office gym for your employees to use.  

Half Days and Flex Time

Half days and flex time options are great benefits that your employees will love. They’re especially helpful for parents who have to drop off and pick up their children as well as workers who struggle with traffic in the morning. 

Employees want more than a job and a paycheck. They also want to be respected, appreciated and treated as a valuable part of your company. You can do all of this and more by creating an effective employee appreciation program for your business.    


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