March 8, 2021

4 employee appreciation ideas to surprise and delight your workforce

You know you can’t get the job done without your team; but do they know you know? Saying thank you to your workers for all they do is a simple way to keep morale high and productivity flowing. Especially now, with many teams still working remotely, finding original ways to give a little back to your employees can truly go a long way. Of course, the ongoing pandemic has also made the deep face-to-face connection that drives the best employee appreciation efforts a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of creative ways to show your appreciation in a meaningful (and safe) way.  

The importance of employee appreciation

Making employee appreciation a major part of your managerial style isn’t just a nice thing to do, it makes good business sense. According to a 2019 study by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, happy employees are about 13% more productive than their dissatisfied peers. Offering positive reinforcement at work can be a big part of employee engagement. Finding ways to let your best employees know how valuable they are day to day can also help prevent employee turnover. Rather than putting time and money toward hiring and training a new staff member, take smaller steps to keep the people you already trust happy.

With that said, employee recognition requires more than an annual employee appreciation day or a one-time card during the holidays (although these are both fantastic ways to say thanks). Everyone wants to be a part of a company with a culture that continually rewards hard work and makes employees feel valued. A year-round employee recognition program can help make it a reality at your workplace. 

Smiling workers in the office

Ways to show gratitude that work right now

Even a small gesture can go a long way toward boosting the employee experience. Make sure your employee’s hard work gets the attention it deserves by putting your own personal twist on some of our favorite employee recognition ideas and activities.

1. Outdoor excursions

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for you and your team to celebrate accomplishments together, events that are masked, outdoors and socially distanced can be a fun way to break up the monotony of constant remote work. Get together for team-building activities in a park, or other public space, and shell out for some catered food or a meal from food trucks. This can be done at a milestone, something at the end of the quarter, or as a reward for good work if you and your team hit a big goal.

Not sure an in-person get-together is the right call? There are still options for getting your team members outside and connecting. If you have the time, try organizing a scavenger hunt or other fun challenge that utilizes both in-person and online components. 

2. Public recognition

Being known as a go-getter in the virtual office is one thing, but what about in your community? Give your employees something to really brag about to their family and friends with a Poster, roadside billboard or social media post shouting out their accomplishments. You can either call out a single employee or put up a picture of the entire team, especially if they hit a major milestone. 

Public staff recognition is also great PR for your organization, especially if you deal with local consumers on a regular basis. People love supporting “the good guys,” including businesses that care about their staff. By advertising the efforts of an outstanding employee, you can also promote your company. 

As you start planning, be sure your poster or billboard is bright, attention-grabbing and adheres to the principles of great graphic design. Don’t have an eye for design? You can download one of our templates or talk to an in-house MOO designer about bringing your ideas to life. 

3. IRL gifts 

With so much of today’s work experience happening solely in the confines of a computer screen, it can be hard for employees to feel truly connected to their company — and each other. Fight the malaise with personalized appreciation gifts like a premium Hardcover Notebook

If you’re looking to go above and beyond in your morale-boosting efforts, try making the notebook the centerpiece of your employee appreciation gifts. You can include additional items like gift cards, tasty snacks and candy bars (if anyone on your team has mentioned a favorite, now’s the time to show you were listening). Or keep it simple. Whatever you do, just be sure to include a personalized Thank You Card with each employee gift that lets the recipient know what their work means to you! 

Colorful cloth cover notebooks

4. Employee recognition team calls

At this point in the pandemic, it may feel like the “Zoom happy hour” is played out. Not so! Get your team energized to see each other, even if it’s through a screen, and show them how much their work matters. Use the call as an opportunity for a staff member spotlight to highlight those who have gone above and beyond or give employees a chance to go around and recognize the efforts of their peers. You can also spice things up with a surprising activity like team trivia or a virtual escape room.

Positive company culture doesn’t happen by accident. Thinking of original recognition ideas that reward hard work and boost employee morale is harder than it looks, especially when you already have so much on your plate. Print goods like Greeting Cards, Thank You Cards and Notebooks can help lighten the load.

Need premium printing for more than just your employees? See how MOO can help your business look better than ever.


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