8 Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Employee Recognition and Appreciation

In today’s workplace, employee recognition and appreciation is a must. But, less than half (43%) of employers are getting it right.

Companies with a solid employee recognition strategy can enjoy stronger engagement, a lower turnover rate, and happier employees.

So, what’s a business owner to do? If you want to see results, you need to start acknowledging achievements. To keep things interesting, you also need to get creative when it comes to recognition and appreciation. You need to think outside the box.

Importance of recognition and appreciation

According to one Gallup study, the main reason why employees leave their jobs is due to a lack of recognition. And, approximately 65% of employees haven’t received any form of recognition for good work.

It’s pretty obvious that neglecting appreciation and recognition in the workplace can sink your startup. If you find yourself slipping when it comes to recognition, you might find your all star employees slipping through your fingers, too. And you don’t want that, do you?

Here are some reasons why recognition and appreciation are essential in your small business. Recognition can:

  • Help boost productivity
  • Grow employees into leaders
  • Improve work culture
  • Keep employees committed
  • Increase employee satisfaction
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Retain employees

On the importance of recognizing and appreciating employees’ hard work, Jacey Lamb, Inbound Marketing Specialist at ShiftNote, said:

Employees being underappreciated is actually a big cause in employee turnover. Encouragement and acknowledgment are a way of investing in your employees’ well-being and shows that you truly value them. Your employees are helping your business, so make sure they know it!

If you want to keep your employer brand in check and increase employee retention, you need to have a few recognition and appreciation strategies up your sleeve.

8 Ideas for recognition and appreciation at work

Ready to give your recognition and appreciation tactics a boost? Take advantage of these eight out-of-the-box strategies at your business.

recognition and appreciation

1. Host monthly drawings

Who doesn’t love free stuff? If you want to show employees your appreciation, consider having weekly or monthly drawings for things like gift cards or free lunches.

Keep track of each employee’s accomplishments and put their name in a drawing for prizes. The more achievements they have, the more times their name is entered into the drawing. Draw employees’ names on a regular basis (e.g., monthly) for prizes.

Change up the prizes each week or month to keep things interesting. That way, there’s an element of surprise. Drawings are a fun way to boost productivity and engagement as well as thank employees for their accomplishments.

2. Use social media to spotlight employees

In this digital age, social media is taking over small businesses. If you want to let your employees shine and show your appreciation, give them a spotlight on your business’s social media accounts.

A quick and inexpensive way to showcase your appreciation for your employees is to give them a shoutout on social media. Take advantage of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to give kudos to your employees.

Highlight your employees and include things like their names, what they’ve accomplished, and why you appreciate them. To stay consistent and fair, consider showcasing a different employee each week or month.

Recognizing your employees in a public setting can be a major confidence booster for your workers. Not to mention, it will assure employees that they’re doing a great job.

3. Bring in spontaneous treats

Everyone deserves a treat every once in a while, including your employees. If you want to show your appreciation, keep your employees on their toes when it comes to treats.

Surprise your employees with special treats every so often to let them know you care about them and their work.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to surprises. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like donuts, smoothies, or pizza every once in a while?

If you want to think outside the box of snacks and food, show your appreciation with spontaneous activities or events. For example, you could:

  • Have a company picnic with games
  • Take a “field trip” to the movies
  • Go to an arcade

Unexpected treats and events not only show employees that you care, but it also allows them to destress and kick back for a bit.

4. Organize an appreciation day

If you really want to step up your recognition and appreciate game, organize a day devoted to thanking your employees.

Consider organizing a day or part of a day to recognize your employees’ hard work. A recognition day doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. You can relax with your employees and have a treat (e.g., ice cream). Or, you can organize a day chock-full of fun and team-building activities.

Either way, having a day (or even an hour) dedicated to showing your appreciation goes a long way for employees.

Consider having an appreciation day once or twice per year to show employees you appreciate them.

5. Create a wall of fame

You’ve likely heard of the Hollywood Walk of Fame with stars dedicated to celebrities. Why not adopt a similar dedication to your employees?

If you want to brag about your employees and show your appreciation, consider creating a makeshift wall of fame for all star employees at your small business.

Snap some pictures of employees hard at work. Take candid photos of them working on a project. Use those pictures to assemble a wall of fame that celebrates employees’ contributions and accomplishments.

Showcasing your employees’ photos and hard work can give them the recognition they need to stick with your business long term. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun when it comes to recognizing employees.

6. Implement a peer recognition program

Recognition doesn’t always have to come from the top. If you want to give employees the recognition they deserve, consider implementing a peer-to-peer recognition program.

So, what is a peer-to-peer recognition program? In a peer-to-peer program, employees give recognition to each other. Think about this: who sees your employees’ hard work the most? The answer: other employees. A recognition program can help give employees appreciation for accomplishments you might have missed.

These programs can help build confidence at work, keep employees engaged, and (of course) give employees recognition when they deserve it.

Your peer recognition program can either be on paper or online. You can even get a peer-to-peer recognition platform or software to track employees’ accomplishments.

7. Utilize a suggestion box

Think outside the box with a literal box … the old-school suggestion box, that is. You might be wondering, What does a suggestion box have to do with showing employees your appreciation?

You can use suggestion boxes for so much more than what they’re designed for. Sure, you can use a box to get feedback from employees and improve your work environment and culture. But, you can also use it to show your employees appreciation for their thoughts and feedback.

If you like a suggestion and implement it, recognize and thank the employee for their contribution. You might thank them for their suggestion by sending a card, recognizing them in a meeting, or taking the employee out to lunch.

You can also use a “suggestion box” to have employees name-drop one another for a job well done. That way, employees can receive proper recognition for something you might not have witnessed.

8. Dedicate a portion of your website to employees

You’ve read about giving your employees shout outs on social media. Now it’s time to show off employees on your business website.

Your business website is prime real estate for showcasing your employees. You might dedicate an entire page to your staff. Or, you might opt to sprinkle pictures and information about your employees throughout your website.

Regardless of the method you use, spotlighting employees on your business website gives them a chance to shine and shows employees that you appreciate their hard work.

When dedicating a page or section to your employees on your website, include things like their name, picture, job title, and accomplishments. You can even get a quote from your employee to make the information pop on the page.

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