Top 10 Ways to Show Your Appreciation to Employees

You Demonstrate Appreciation to Encourage Motivation and Commitment

Work team high-fiving

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You can tell your colleagues, coworkers, and employees how much you value them and their contribution to the job any day of the year. Trust this. No occasion is necessary. In fact, small surprises and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year help the people in your work life feel valued by you all year long.

Don't reserve your appreciation for special occasions, but make it standard practice to thank employees regularly, let employees know you care, and promote their happiness at work. Unpredictable, unexpected praise and the expression of appreciation in surprising ways is the best way to help your employees and colleagues feel your appreciation.

Know what your colleagues and employees would appreciate in types of praise from you? You can get in touch with what you appreciate from your coworkers at work. While every employee has different needs for appreciation, your own needs can serve you well as a starting point for showing appreciation to others.

Looking for ideas about how to praise and thank coworkers and employees? The opportunities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

10 Great Ways to Express Your Appreciation to Employees at Work

Here are ten ways to show your appreciation to employees and coworkers. Why don't you go ahead and make their day?

Praise a job well done.

Identify the specific actions that you found admirable. This praise feels sincere since you took the time to spell out details—not just, "You did a good job." You also emphasize the actions that you'd like to see the employee do more often and everybody benefits when people experience a clear direction. For example, "Mary, when you enclose graphics and charts when you write reports, your research message is visual and much appreciated."

Say thank you.

Show your appreciation for their hard work and contributions. And, don't forget to say please often as well. Social niceties do belong at work. A more gracious, polite, civilized workplace is appreciated by all.

Learn your coworkers' interests.

Questions and acknowledgments about their family, their hobby, their weekend, or a special event they attended are always welcome. Your genuine interest—as opposed to being nosey—causes people to feel valued and cared about. Demonstrate this interest regularly by asking questions such as, "How did Johnny's tournament turn out this weekend?"

Offer flexible scheduling.

If work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance their time off with that of their coworkers. This is a much better solution than the manager picking and choosing who gets time off and when. (Note that a flexible work schedule is a benefit that employees desire all of the time.)

Present a personalized gift.

Know your coworker’s interests well enough to present a small gift occasionally. An appreciated gift and the gesture of providing it will light up your coworker’s day. A greeting card serves the same purpose. You can give a card for no reason at all, to celebrate a special day such as a birthday, or to offer sympathy when a coworker is ill or experiences a family death. 

Provide financial incentives.

End of the year bonuses, attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses, and gift certificates say "thank you" quite nicely.

Treat colleagues by providing a meal.

Take coworkers or staff to lunch for a birthday, a special occasion, or for no reason at all. Let your guest pick the restaurant. Or, order pizza for lunch from a caterer or a store that delivers. Schedule a brunch for a team that has met its current goals and over-delivers on its promised timeline.

Create a fun tradition.

ReCellular employees draw names for their Secret Santa gift exchange. Alison Doyle, a job searching expert, used to work in Career Services at Skidmore College where they did a gift grab at their annual holiday party. LuAnn Johnson, who works as an SVP and Chief HR Officer HR/Communications/Facilities and Real Estate at Quest Software says:

"We celebrate Treat Tuesday, every Tuesday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We match up departments or people who don't normally work together as a unit and assign a day to provide gooey, healthy, or scrumptious treats for the other groups. It's a great mixer, an opportunity to show off our culinary skills and a morale builder—to say nothing of the sugar high."

Bring in little surprises.

Offerings such as cookies or cupcakes, particularly anything that you've baked personally, are a huge hit. (Have you tried baking cupcakes in ice cream cones? People love them.) Another hit? Bring chocolate—chocolate anything.

Provide an opportunity for advancement.

People want chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate in a special committee where their talents are noticed. They like to attend professional association meetings and represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events. Do you currently have only your executives attending these events? Spread the wealth of opportunity to all employees. They will genuinely appreciate the opportunities.

The Bottom Line

Employee appreciation is never out-of-place. In fact, in many organizations, it's often a scarce commodity. Make your workplace the exception. Use every opportunity to demonstrate your gratitude and appreciation to employees.