The Power of Appreciation: 6 Creative Ideas for Employee Recognition


Everyone knows that a happy employee is one that sticks around and does the work without complaint. However, there are other benefits to keeping them happy, such as increased productivity and better customer service. 

Meaningful recognition of an employee’s accomplishments can go a long way to improving their moods and creating a healthy work environment. Staff appreciation also shows that you’re paying attention to the effort they put into each day.

Here are six ideas for employee recognition that you should try out. 

1. Continuous Positive Feedback

First of all, one of the best employee recognition ideas on a budget is to simply provide continuous positive feedback.

Stay in touch with what your employees are doing, regardless of the task. Let them know when they’re doing something well, especially if it’s a new task or one they’re unfamiliar with. Even if it’s a routine task that’s expected of them, it feels good to receive recognition from the higher-ups. 

It’s difficult enough for employees to stay happy and motivated when they’re working a 9 to 5. Work can easily stress someone out, and it doesn’t help if an individual is constantly hounded on by other staff members. 

One way to stay connected with your employees is by staying transparent and honest. Promote a positive work environment and set an example for them to follow. 

2. Private or Office Outing

Another way to show employee appreciation is with private and office outings. 

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Private outings allow you to show recognition for one’s services without drawing too much attention to them. Some people work better without a lot of attention on them. You may also want to avoid drawing the office’s ire if other staff members have yet to receive the same kind of recognition. 

The best option is to take your employee out to lunch with just the two of you. Alternatively, you can provide a paid meal for them and their spouse. 

If the entire office has done well, then an office outing may be in order. This is great for promoting a positive work environment because it doesn’t put a single person on a pedestal. Instead, you get to celebrate every single person that has put in work towards a common goal. 

You can opt for something like trivia night, bowling, or even an escape room. It all depends on how close the office is and what your budget allows. 

3. Wellness Day Activities

Employee wellness has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. There’s more focus on both mental health awareness as well as promoting healthy habits. 

If you want to show your employees that you care about their well-being, then you can hold wellness day activities. These don’t have to take up a whole day, and you can hold these activities during downtimes when you expect less work. 

Some examples of what you can provide include on-site massages, guided meditation sessions, and fitness classes. Alternatively, you can focus on mental health by bringing in puppies and kittens for the employees to spend time with. Or you can let them listen to music during long periods of data entry or paperwork. 

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4. Corporate Awards

Some employees deserve recognition beyond a free lunch or a “thank you” email. For those select few, you can buy them a corporate award or plaque. Nothing says employee recognition much like a physical award you can hang on your wall or place on your shelf at home. 

While these are a more pricey form of recognition, they’re also something your employee can carry around with them for years. It may be especially important for an individual hoping to earn a promotion or rise in the ranks. 

Your company can also reward entire teams with a reward if they’ve accomplished a long-term task or goal. In this case, you’ll want to keep the award in the office so that everyone working there can appreciate it. 

View here for corporate awards, corporate gifts, and more. 

5. Surprise Treats and Office Parties

A low-budget way to show appreciation for your team is by bringing in treats or catering. Throw a party for everyone and let them bring in their own favorite foods. You can make it into a potluck, a disco night, or even a holiday-themed event. 

Do a quick office poll on things like dietary restrictions and favorite treats. You don’t want to bring in a meat platter only to discover that three of your staff members are vegetarian. No one should feel excluded. 

However, keep alcohol out of the equation. While it can help lighten the mood at other parties, alcohol should never be allowed in the workplace. It’s also dangerous to take away a person’s inhibitions when they’re around the people they need to work with every day. 

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6. Public Praise

One of the most common ways to show appreciation for employees is through online shoutouts. This is especially useful if your company works in social media or marketing. 

For example, you could make a post on your Facebook page every week or month praising a particular employee who has put in a lot of effort. Another way to do this is with company newsletters. Every newsletter can have a section showcasing how an employee has put in extra work this quarter. 

If you like more office-related recognition, then there’s also the option of a wall of fame showcasing the employee of the month. 

Whatever type you choose, make sure that it fits your company culture. It’s important that you cultivate an office environment that supports one another so that these public praises don’t come across as antagonistic. 

Try These Ideas for Employee Recognition

Something to keep in mind when exploring ideas for employee recognition is whether or not they fit your workplace. It doesn’t make sense to hold an office party if most of your employees work remotely. At the same time, giving a shoutout to someone on social media may not mean as much if they aren’t active online. 

Check out some of our other articles if you’re interested in learning more about topics ranging from business to social media. 

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