Employee recognition is something that is surprisingly forgotten about within the workplace, which leaves your staff feeling undervalued and not respected. It is suggested from this video that 70% of employees in the workplace in the U.S feel disconnected from their employers.

Listed below are 20 employee appreciation ideas that are very easy to implement into your workspace but will make the biggest difference to your team’s environment.


Celebrate Birthdays

As long as they are comfortable with it, celebrate every staff member’s birthday. Decorate part of the office, order lunch in or get a cake for the occasion, and ensure that everyone can partake in the celebrations. This will really make the individual feel special and appreciated. It would also be a nice idea to offer them a day off for now or the future – like a birthday present.

Also, it creates a friendly, happy, and more relaxed environment, allowing all your employees to feel more at ease with this type of employee appreciation ideas. 

Employee Appreciation Ideas for Birthdays

Ask Staff What They Like

This is probably one of the best ways to ensure your employees feel appreciated. Giving them a chance to ‘confide’ in you as an employee improves the working relationship between yourself and your staff. Additionally, giving them a voice to channel their views and opinions can really improve their mindset towards working for you. You could do this by conducting and implementing a survey handed round to everyone, asking them their views on certain elements and what they like about the workplace or company. It is up to you how regularly you do these surveys, but it would definitely be suggested at least every 6 months.

This gives you up-to-date feedback based on events or situations that are current to you and your company and improvements can therefore be made based on the information that your employees are feeding back.

Rotating Trophies

Awarding a trophy every week or month on rotation, based on the number of sales, etc. It is a great idea to put forward to your staff. This gives them something to work towards that provides them with benefits for winning. If it is circulated around then it is fair for everyone involved. It could be a legitimate trophy or something similar so that it is recognized as a real symbol of appreciation.

There could also be a prize for the winner of each week or month, such as a gift card or lunch at the employee’s favorite restaurant so that there is real value there. Such employee appreciation ideas are personalized and seem more intimate. 

Thank You Notes

Small gestures such as thank you notes can really go a long way. This can really make an individual feel good about their work and what they have achieved, and knowing that is appreciated can boost their confidence and self–esteem in the workplace. Writing down on a piece of paper or sticky note and physically handing it to them or leaving it on their desk can mean so much more than an email. Written recognition can have a much bigger impact on an individual compared to digital or verbal recognition.

It is also a personal and genuine gesture that can be done to complement the work done by someone – creating this closeness will in the future make individuals more inclined to go to you for any issues or problems. This is another one of the employee appreciation ideas that can be tailored to employees. 


Surprising employees with treats such as takeout lunches in the office or sweet treats on a Friday afternoon makes everyone happy. You should treat your employees because you appreciate them, especially if work is busy or upcoming deadlines are causing your staff members to be stressed out, so treats will help them to destress in hectic times. Little treats like this can make a big difference and can help you build pride within the team and ensure that each and every one of them is valued and appreciated for what they do.

You could do this weekly so that your employees have something to look forward to, people never say no to free food either – this appreciation idea will go down very well.  

Take Staff Out for Lunch

This could be the whole team, select members, or individuals on their own, but taking out your employees for lunch could be utilized in many ways. Not only is it a good way to discuss work and how current projects or deadlines are going, but it also makes them feel important and worthy of your time. It ensures they get a good lunch break away from the office and provides the idea that you are open to listening to them on a more personal level.

It is often a lot easier to talk about work issues or topics away from the workplace – cafés and restaurants are a neutral venue that invites the prospect of a more relaxed setting to talk about elements that would be more uptight if brought up at the office. This encourages your employees to speak up and even better, stick around working for you and your company.  

Take Staff out for Lunch for Employee Appreciation Ideas

Cover Expenses 

A majority of employed people commute every day to work either by car or public transport. Over time, this adds up and becomes quite costly each month. Some companies cover expenses such as this but also do it if staff is required to work and travel to another place or office. You should definitely do this – it makes people feel more inclined to apply for jobs advertised by you, but also takes this stress away for a lot of people that work for you.

It is understandable that not every company can afford to cover every single person’s commute costs, but planning and setting up a program that either allows discounted public transport or a set amount of money each month given for these costs can really benefit your employees. This will make them feel at ease and less stressed about money or issues surrounding it. These types of employee appreciation ideas are beneficial to improving diversity and integration in the workforce.

Suggestions Box

A suggestion box that invites people to anonymously provide suggestions and feedback is another old-fashioned but successful way of making employees feel appreciated. As long as you are prepared to take all suggestions seriously and really try to take action upon every single one, then this can be really beneficial for you and the relationships you hold with your staff. This should be open to all members, no matter if they work at the bottom or the top, everyone should be able to have access to this. It provides a safe place for individuals to truly say what they think without fear of judgment, which helps contribute to a peaceful and pleasant working environment for all.  

Recognize on Social Media Platforms

Using your company’s social media platforms to give individuals praise for the work they have completed is a really insightful way to make someone feel appreciated. It shows you are prepared to go above and beyond to highlight your employee’s hard work. Extending your employee appreciation ideas past the workplace can encourage others to work and push harder for benefits like these.

Generate a post about the individual, the work they did, and why it was so great. This simple idea can give employees a good confidence boost and make them feel respected by you as well as their peers.  

Awards and Prizes

Similar to the idea of a trophy, hosting awards regularly or yearly, with prizes can really push employees to work extra hard if they know it comes with benefits. The awards can be based around many different elements suited to your field of work, therefore giving every person involved a fair chance of being nominated or winning something. It could be hosted at your Christmas Party, or an event to that effect. Here is an example of an award ceremony, giving examples of possible awards and how the event can take place. Prizes do not have to be extravagant like a weekend away in the Mediterranean, it can be something more simple like a gift card, cash prize, or freebies. As mentioned, this would really encourage your staff to be determined and enthusiastic about their work, knowing that they could win a prize, and also have the gloating factor of winning an award for being the best at a certain area of work.

To scrimp on costs for prizes, work closely with local companies and see if they are able to offer or contribute prizes. 

Awards and Recognition as Employee Reecognition

Encourage Recognition of Daily Wins

Of course, you want to celebrate the end of a project or finished deadlines with your team and individual members of staff, but it may also be a good idea to begin celebrating small things daily. Meeting targets and completing certain pieces of work each day can prove a lot to someone personally, especially if they are stressed or are nervous. Encouraging every single one of your employees to start congratulating themselves and their peers on what they are doing well daily can really benefit their self-esteem and make them feel as if the work they are doing is being valued.

Discussing the positive things that have happened at the end of each day will leave your employees feeling appreciated and ready for the next working day, going into the office with a determined mindset to achieve work of the same level.   

Wall of Fame

An old-school way of broadcasting your employees, but a good way to exhibit and show off how proud you are of each individual. Putting up photos of employees that have done exceptional work, or have done particularly well during the week can majorly boost the confidence of your staff. It will make them feel as if their hard work is being recognized and appreciated by you and other employees too. As long as they are comfortable with it, putting up their picture will also help other employees that are new or work in other areas to become familiar with who they are. These employee appreciation ideas will help to create a tight and connected atmosphere within the workplace too.  

Personalized Appreciation

Personalized appreciation is a much more direct and meaningful way to show how thankful you are for an individual’s input. Taking this specific person out for some lunch or a treat personalized or suitable for them can go a long way. Not only will this make them feel as if they are a really valued member of the company, but also will lead them to feel happier working for you. Rewarding employees in a meaningful way shows that you care about them and their personal interests – gift cards suited to their favorite store or restaurant, or tickets to a local sports match if they are into that are some good starting points too.  

The Employee of the Month

Implementing an Employee of the Month scheme into your workplace can help give your employees something to work towards, boosting their desire to do well and work harder for you. Employees genuinely feel more engaged and help to give somewhat of competitiveness between staff but in a healthy manner, as suggested by this article. By feeling like this, members of staff will feel a sense of belonging and that they are at one with the company. This will also benefit you majorly too – if employees are constantly and persistently trying their best and producing higher quantities of work as a result of this style of program, then you are gaining from the experience too. This appreciation idea can go hand in hand with the Wall of Fame, with the individual’s consent, putting up the employee’s photo to highlight that they have done well can certainly ensure that they feel valued by you.  

Recognize Employees’ Other Talents

Employees have two lives: their work life and their home life. Most people have hobbies and talents that go beyond the workplace. It is important to recognize these and acknowledge the fact that your staff has different capabilities. By showing interest in your employees’ lives, it proves that you care enough to be willing to talk about and discuss individuals’ lives that they have outside of working for you. It helps them to see that they are valued by you and the company. A lot of the time, they bring elements of these talents into the office and document it through the way that they work and what they produce, so identifying this and making conversation can impact and improve the appreciation you have for them. Whether they volunteer or are creating amazing things in their spare time, bringing this to the attention of other employees can help them get to know each other better.  

Talent for Employee Appreciation

Setting Up a Peer-to-Peer System

These mployee appreciation ideas involve getting your employees to reflect and assess each other’s work or things they have created to input towards the project you are working on. Whether this is done within a meeting involving all employees, or a quick 15 minutes spent filling out a sheet based on one piece of work, getting feedback from people working on the same things as them can be really beneficial to improving the quality of their work and also create a sense of unity amongst the employees. This will help them to feel appreciated by their co-workers, allowing a bond to be created by all of them. Not only this, but if you take the time to assess the peer reviews too, it shows your personal appreciation for their ideas and views. It also makes your staff more open to receiving feedback in the future too, whether it be good or bad.  

Ask Employees  for Help

Linking back to recognizing employee’s talents, allowing them to demonstrate that is a completely different ball game. When you ask them personally for help, it makes them feel as if they have more authority and are on your level, allowing them to feel gratitude. This idea gives them recognition and shows your staff that you value their capabilities so much that they are able to help you through whatever it is you need assistance with. There is also an element of trust here too, as you are giving them responsibilities and jobs that usually high-level and leadership roles would complete. Trust is another way of showing appreciation, especially in this case too, as they are being trusted to do work that is not usually supposed to be completed by them.

In turn, it also makes them feel more comfortable coming to you for help or advice on tasks in the future, as you have set up a trustful and honest work relationship.  

Positive Feedback

This appreciation idea is fairly simple and straightforward to implement. Evidently, everyone loves to hear good things about themselves and what they have done at work. Giving your employees positive feedback is a form of appreciation, and it gives them more meaning to their job and why they work there. This also gives them more clarity about what you look for and what you want from them and the work that they create. Additionally, this helps to push their engagement within the workplace and encourages them to be more motivated to work hard. This can also have a big impact on the way your employees work with each other too, if they all feel that they are doing well and completing work to a high level, they will feel more eased within their environment.   

Surprise Time Off

Using time off can really help boost employees’ productivity, so this idea is a really good way to go about recognition if you’re looking for something that can benefit you too. Rewarding employees with time off, knowing that they have been allocated it due to their hard work, will make them continue to put a graft in if they know they could be given a day off as a result – everyone loves a day off! This incentive can actually mean more to employees compared to a cash incentive, so it would be deemed a more thoughtful way to show your appreciation rather than go for the generic ‘bonus’ route.  F. John Reh states that it can actually make “your company more attractive to prospective employees too. You may even consider this a paid day off as well, which would make the reward a lot more advantageous to your employees.

This appreciation idea caters to every employee you have – it allows them the freedom to do whatever they like, and it makes it even more enjoyable for them if they are getting paid for it as well. Allow them to pick the day off for whenever they want it – this adds to the value of the reward.  

Reward Those Who Arrive Early 

Most people dread going to work each day, so giving praise to people who put extra time in and arrive to work early every day or arrive early most days, will really make them feel appreciated for the extra efforts that they go to. This will enhance their desire to work for the company if they know that their time is valued by you and the leaders of the company. Additionally, this could work in your favor with other employees – if you are extremely thankful and reward those who turn up early (or stay late) then this may spur them on to do the same, benefitting you and the workload that is produced by your staff.

What Employee Appreciation Ideas will You be Implementing?

So, those were the 20 employee appreciation ideas that you can begin to or continue to show appreciation to your employees. It really is very important to show gratitude to those who work for you and your company, rewarding them for doing well and working hard can really have the biggest impact on them as individuals. A lot of these are fairly simple and keep the costs low, and a small thank you note takes 30 seconds to do! Making your staff feel important and valued will always work in your favor too!