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Employee Experience

Rethinking Employee Appreciation: 10 Ways to Celebrate Your Team

Each of your employees brings value to your organization, but often key employees don’t receive the appreciation they need. A study by former CEO and business writer David Novak reveals 82 percent of Americans feel underappreciated at work and 40 percent of workers say they’d work harder if they were recognized more often.

Clearly, employee appreciation is important and often overlooked. The recent business disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it harder to show appreciation even in small ways, with fewer opportunities to say “thanks for doing a great job” in casual office conversation. Here are our ideas to rejuvenate your employee recognition program.

Employee Appreciation Ideas: 10 Ways to Celebrate Your Team

  1. Make Employee Appreciation Part of Your Culture
    If recognition isn’t part of your corporate culture, work to change it. Start with small practices and repeat them regularly to help give employees a sense of when and how recognition will happen. It can be at the end of weekly staff meetings or Friday over bagels in the breakroom, as long as it happens regularly. It may seem forced at first, but having regular opportunities for recognition is critical.
  2. Ask Questions and Have Employees Help Build Program
    Having employees share ways they want to be recognized also helps smoothly integrate appreciation into your culture, and allows for more authenticity than a recognition program implemented by management.
  3. Celebrate Small and Big Wins
    Often, companies only celebrate big wins. A best practice is to find other opportunities to recognize your people. You need to have three base hits before you can have a grand slam, so celebrate every little win.
  4. Peer Recognition
    While employees love to be recognized by their supervisors, it’s often equally rewarding to hear from peers who see their hard work and want to call it out. Find ways of incorporating this into your culture like using branded cards for impromptu notes of appreciation. Develop ways for teams to nominate co-workers for broader recognition as regularly as possible.
  5. Connect to the Bigger Picture
    Provide context to help your team understand why someone’s achievement is an important piece in reaching a larger organizational goal. This connects personal recognition with collective success. It’s also helpful to connect individual recognition to core values, to show the team how core values can be lived out in an observable way.
  6. Have Fun
    While recognition is important, it should still be fun. Consider offering goofy prizes or desk chotskies as a weekly prize. Alternatively, have a travelling trophy that gets decorated by each recipient and stays on the person’s desk for a month.
  7. The Good-Old Thank-You Note
    In today’s digital world, receiving a hand-written note has added meaning.
  8. Make Employee Appreciation Easy
    Managers are often overworked and forget the importance of recognizing their teams. Find ways they can reward good work without going through corporate red tape. The Hilton hotel chain gives managers a calendar with 365 employee appreciation ideas, along with space to write employee anniversaries.
  9. Celebrate Employment Anniversaries
    Many companies struggle to retain employees after the first year. Part of building a culture of recognition of is to find meaningful ways to celebrate employment milestones. This could be a casual celebrations each year, and bigger rewards at five-year intervals.
  10. Virtual Kudos
    Even before the pandemic, many teams had remote workers. Finding ways to recognize these workers is important to keep them engaged and create team bonds. Send treats or a meal delivery service gift card to help celebrate successes.

How Paycor Helps

Paycor builds HR solutions for leaders. With Paycor, you can modernize every aspect of people management, from the way you recruit, onboard and develop your team, to the way you pay and retain them. See how Paycor can help the leaders of your organization solve the problems of today and tomorrow.