Employee recognition is about more than saying “thank you” to your employees. It’s a way to keep them engaged and to make your work environment more positive. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. In the business world, that can make the difference between happy, productive workers and disgruntled workers who end up looking for another job.

As Tony Schwartz, author and CEO of The Energy Project, put it: “Whatever else each of us derives from our work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter—that we contribute unique value to the whole, and that we’re recognized for it.”

According to Gallup research, only one out of every three employees in the U.S. strongly agreed that they had received recognition for their work in the past seven days. That means the majority of the workforce out there feels that employee appreciation is lacking in the workplace.

What’s more, when asked what employers could do to improve ‘>employee engagement, 58 percent of respondents to a Psychometrics survey said “give recognition.”

The best thing is you don’t have to wait until ‘>employee appreciation day to give your employees recognition. Here are 10 ways you can show appreciation to your employees.

  1. Offer a meal. Whether it’s a catered breakfast or taking them out for lunch, offering your employees a meal is a tried-and-true way to let them know how much you appreciate them. And a guaranteed morale-booster.
  1. Give more PTO. Everyone loves more paid days off, so giving employees more PTO is a great way to thank them. Also, encourage them to take the time off so they can relax after putting in extra hours at work for a big project, and they’ll come back ready to re-engage.
  1. Go old school. An emailed “thank you” is all well and good, but since most people send and receive work-related emails all day, it can get lost in the shuffle. Try sending your employees a handwritten note thanking them for their hard work.
  1. Take it up the chain. Whenever you do send an email thanking your employees, consider copying your boss on it, so that he or she also knows how well your team is doing. This is a great way to show appreciation because you’re putting employees in the spotlight for the higher-ups.
  1. Get sweet. Appeal to your employees’ sweet tooth by bringing treats to the office, like cupcakes or brownies. You can even get creative and bring in something different, like cotton candy or snow cones.
  1. Be flexible. Flexible work schedules are one of the most sought-after benefits today. As a thank you for their hard work, consider offering your employees a flexible work schedule, like coming in and leaving earlier or working a day from home twice a month.
  1. Provide opportunities. Employees work hard so they can show what they’re capable of. Reward them by offering opportunities like taking the lead with a new client or managing their own project. They’ll appreciate that you can tell they’re ready and able to handle more responsibility.
  1. Use peer-to-peer recognition. According to a Globoforce study, 41 percent of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition see an increase in customer satisfaction. Leverage peer-to-peer recognition by encouraging your employees to praise each other when they do a good job.
  1. Promote all-stars. You may not be able to promote every employee, every time they do a good job, but you can promote those who consistently go above and beyond. Keep a running list of your employees’ accomplishments and promote those who truly excel.
  1. Make a BIG policy change. Finally, if you feel like you’ve had a great quarter, year, or couple of years thanks to your team, you could consider making a big policy change. This could be something like offering paid parental leave or allowing everyone to telework one day a week.

Have you tried any other ways to show appreciation to your employees?

Adina Miron


  • Avatar James C says:

    I’ve choose to work for the company I’m currently with for two reasons. They have yearly bonuses and they have short Fridays. These two things were implemented at the employees’ request, and this makes me think they do care about how to keep their workforce happy. 

  • Avatar Julia K. says:

    I strongly encourage managers to listen to each member of the team and to have an open door policy. We once had a sad case where someone was going through a personal drama and no one knew. It would have been nice if the person could have discussed his problems with the management to find solutions for him and to make him feel valued. Since then, we’ve implemented monthly hangouts just to bond, where all members of the team have lunch at the same hour and periodical one-on-one meetings. 

  • Avatar Amanda Gustard says:

    I work in a medium-sized company, and to show appreciation we provide them with gym memberships, Monday fruits, Wednesday pizza, and minus-one-hour Friday. The employees choose whether they want to arrive one hour late on Friday or if they want to leave one hour earlier. All the methods were chosen by them, so they feel that their voice is important.

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