Top 10 Ways of Showing Appreciation to Employees

Work team high-fiving

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You can tell your colleagues, coworkers, and employees how much you value them and their contribution any day of the year. Trust this. No occasion is necessary. In fact, small surprises and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year help the people in your work life feel valued by you all year long.

Looking for ideas about how to praise and thank co-workers and employees? The opportunities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

Don't reserve your appreciation for special occasions, but make it standard practice to thank employees regularly, let employees know you care and promote their happiness at work. You can also get in touch with what you appreciate from your coworkers at work. While every employee has different needs for appreciation, your own needs can serve you well as a starting point.

10 Great Ways to Express Your Appreciation to Employees at Work

Here are ten ways to show your appreciation to employees and coworkers. Why don't you go ahead and make their day?

  1. Praise a job well done. Identify the specific actions that you found admirable. This praise feels sincere since you took the time to spell out details—not just, "You did a good job." You also emphasize the actions that you'd like to see the employee do more often and everybody benefits when people experience clear direction.
  2. Say thank you. Show your appreciation for their hard work and contributions. And, don't forget to say please often as well. Social niceties do belong at work. A more gracious, polite, civilized workplace is appreciated by all.
  3. Learn your co-workers' interests. Questions and acknowledgments about their family, their hobby, their weekend or a special event they attended are always welcome. Your genuine interest—as opposed to being nosey—causes people to feel valued and cared about. Demonstrate this interest regularly by asking questions such as, "How did Johnny's tournament turn out this weekend?"
  4. Offer flexible scheduling. If work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance their time off with that of their coworkers. (Note that a flexible work schedule is a benefit that employees desire all of the time.)
  5. Present a personalized gift. Know your coworker’s interests well enough to present a small gift occasionally. An appreciated gift and the gesture of providing it will light up your coworker’s day. A greeting card serves the same purpose. You can give a card for no reason at all, to celebrate a special day such as a birthday, or to offer sympathy when a coworker is ill or experiences a family death. 
  6. Give financial incentives. End of the year bonuses, attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses, and gift certificates say "thank you" quite nicely.
  7. Treat them to a meal. Take coworkers or staff to lunch for a birthday, a special occasion or for no reason at all. Let your guest pick the restaurant. Or, order pizza or lunch from a caterer or a store that delivers. Schedule a brunch for a team that has met its current goals and over-delivers on its promised timeline.
  8. Create a fun tradition. ReCellular employees draw names for their Secret Santa gift exchange. Alison Doyle, a job searching expert, used to work in Career Services at Skidmore College where they did a gift grab at their annual holiday party.
    LuAnn Johnson, who works in Human Resources at the Schaller Anderson Mercy Care Plan says, "We celebrate Treat Tuesday, every Tuesday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We match up departments or people who don't normally work together as a unit and assign a day to provide gooey, healthy or scrumptious treats for the other groups. It's a great mixer, an opportunity to show off our culinary skills and a morale builder—to say nothing of the sugar high."
  9. Bring in little surprises. Offerings such as cookies or cupcakes, particularly anything that you've baked personally, are a huge hit. (Have you tried baking cupcakes in ice cream cones? People love them.) Another hit? Bring chocolate—chocolate anything.
  10. Provide opportunity for advancement. People want chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate in a special committee where their talents are noticed. They like to attend professional association meetings and represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events. Do you currently have only your executives attending these events? Spread the wealth of opportunity to all employees. They will genuinely appreciate the opportunities.

Employee appreciation is never out-of-place. In fact, in many organizations, it's often a scarce commodity. Make your workplace the exception. Use every opportunity to demonstrate your gratitude and appreciation to employees.