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11 easy employee appreciation ideas

Written by: John O'Brien
(View Author Bio)

Here are 11 easy steps to building a successful employee appreciation program:

Make it personal.


1. Employee recognition and appreciation start on day one. Write a handwritten welcome note to new employees.


2. Address employees by name and make it a point to know at least one personal thing about them like their family, pets or interests outside of work. This gives you an easy way to open a casual conversation.


3. Celebrate work anniversaries every year, at least privately. Show them you appreciate their loyalty. On average, companies spend between $15 and $20 per year of service — or between $150 and $200 for a 10-year service award.

Help them grow.


4. Show engaged employees that you care about their career development and well-being by introducing them to other managers. It’s better to advance your best employees within the company than to lose them entirely.


5. Recognize and celebrate employee achievements by sharing how their efforts have contributed to the company’s success.


6. Give credit where credit is due. When you implement an employee’s suggestion, be sure to recognize them publicly.


7. Invite an exceptional employee to attend a management meeting with you. Introduce them to your bosses and peers, explaining that you want this person to learn more about the company because you believe in them.

Give regular feedback.


8. Share messages of appreciation from customers, suppliers, managers, and other employees. Show the message to the mentioned employee first and ask permission to share it more broadly. This appreciation extension works toward engaging all employees.


9. Start open-ended conservations with employees about their current work: “Tell me about what you are working on right now.” Listen and create a dialogue; don’t use yes/no questions. Allow a bit of bragging and end with a “thank you.”


10. Be honest. When you make a mistake or can’t follow through on a promise, communicate quickly and clearly with the affected employees. Although they may be disappointed, they will feel respected.


11. At the end of the day, ask at least one employee what went well for them. This gives you the opportunity to provide on-the-spot recognition for good work.

John O'Brien

John O'Brien

Vice President, Employee Performance Group, BI WORLDWIDE

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviours of employees to align with customers’ business objectives. An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions, and best practices.

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