Each year, your HR team does its best to come up with unique and engaging ways to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. Taking the time and sincere effort to honor and reward your valued employees has been shown to lead to higher satisfaction and retention.
25 Fun and Inexpensive Ideas to Celebrate Your Employees
It might help you to break down 25 affordable ideas into five different categories to find the best fit for each team member.
Stress Reduction and Wellness Ideas
The American Institute of Stress (AIS) confirms that stress in the workplace has escalated fairly rapidly over the past few decades. AIS goes on to discuss the fact that the job and its tasks are often not the reason for workplace stress. There are several possible factors. However, there are some universal gifts that can help reduce workplace stress.
- Hire an On-Site Massage Therapist. The Engage website’s blog recommends that you help your employees take a break from their computer screen for a few moments of sheer relaxation.
- Bring in a Yoga Instructor. Hire an instructor for the morning or afternoon to offer different types of yoga classes, including gentle stretch and those that feature strength work.
- Schedule a Trip to a Local Botanical Garden. Field trips tend to rouse interest. Any local favorite nature location will work. While the temperature is still a bit crisp, the chance to spend some time walking outdoors in a beautiful setting can reduce stress and show your appreciation.
- Provide a Healthy Locally-Sourced Lunch. The simple fact they do not need to bring lunch reduces stress on its own. Go a step further and reach out to local farm-to-table restaurants that specialize in organic recipes.
- Promote a Group Fitness Plan. Fitness is often easier with encouragement from peers. Use this day as a launch pad to good group health by coordinating break time walking groups and other fitness initiatives.
Work Accessory and Training Ideas
With these gifts, it is important to take care to ensure the gift reflects positive features of each member of your in-house and mobile workforce. You do not want them to think you are giving them a critical nudge. Instead, come up with ideas that help them build on features that are already strong.
- Schedule a Guest Speaker. Research local experts in your business with a keen reputation for excellent and entertaining speech skills.
- Offer Training Sessions. Some employees simply want to learn and progress in your company. Help them out by signing them up for a training course they have had their eye on.
- Assign Personal Projects. Work with managers to come up with unique and personalized projects for energetic and motivated employees.
- Introduce a new Employee Benefit or Initiative. Perhaps you promised your staff a new leave request process or a mentoring program. Now is the perfect time to follow through.
- Buy a New Desk or Office Necessity. According to your budget, help your employees perform better where it counts most. Choose anything from an ergonomic chair or keyboard to an external mouse for a laptop shows you care about their well-being while doing their work.
These ideas get right to the heart of Employee Appreciation Day and help you when building a strong company culture. The following ideas are simple, inexpensive, but often generate exceptional goodwill and inspiration.
- Give Everyone Written Thank You Notes. Ask all management and the executive team to sign each employee’s card.
- Send Out a Social Media Blast. Highlight each employee in a company-wide Facebook post or Tweet. Share with clients to show employees how proud you are of their work.
- Produce and Distribute a Newsletter. Another way to alert everyone of your team’s importance at once is a widely distributed newsletter.
- Plan an Office Awards Ceremony. Make an event of celebrating your employees. Develop categories and special awards for each employee. Design a special plaque, trophy, ribbon, or pin for each employee.
- Create a Hall-of-Fame Gallery. Stake out some space to put up employees’ photographs. Note the traits and skills that make them so important to your team. Hold an “opening” that is similar to an art gallery opening for an exhibit.
Fun, Games, Treats, Rinse, and Repeat!
Creating a fun and upbeat environment on a daily basis is nearly impossible, but doing it as part of your recognition is likely to go over wonderfully. Employees enjoy any opportunity to engage with colleagues and management from a different perspective, so do these types of things as often as you can. As a bonus, fun and games ideas are often the least expensive.
- Order Better Coffee. You might even invest in a high-end coffee-maker, if you can afford it. If not, there is a universe of gourmet and exotic coffees available to offer a variety from standard joe.
- Play Board Games. Ask employees to bring in their favorite board game and spend the afternoon playing.
- Sweeten the Pot. Classic treats for such events includes sweets, such as cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and candies.
- Provide a Delicious Breakfast. Gather everyone for their favorites, which might include waffles, pancakes, omelets, and oatmeal. Everyone can sit down and start the day on a high note.
- Dance Dance Revolution Away the Day. This dance platform can help everyone kick up their heels, relax, and have some laughs.
- Sing Your Hearts Out. Bring in a karaoke machine, and have everyone take a turn if they feel comfortable.
- Invite a Local Musician, Band, or Comedian. Sometimes entertainment is best left to professionals. Prior to the appreciation day date, poll employees to find out the artist they would most like to see in the office.
- Personal Desk Gifts. Take whimsy to new heights, and buy trinkets for each employee’s desk. Do some reconnaissance before shopping to find something in line with their personal tastes. If they have troll dolls, paper clip art, or an extensive magnet collection, you can easily go from there.
- Order Pizzas. Ordering pizza for parties is a classic go-to move for a reason. People love pizza. Do not doubt the power of pizza.
- Invite Employees to Build-Your-Own Sundae. Hire a local sundae bar company to bring in their equipment, and let your employees’ imagination do the rest. Treat it like a combination of an ice cream social and happy hour, scheduling it as a way to end the day.
Approach This Day of Employee Appreciation with Sincerity and Enthusiasm
Engaging your staff throughout the employee lifecycle takes effort. Employee Appreciation Day gives you and your HR team a golden opportunity to let your team know how invaluable they are to your operations.