by Rebecca Wetherbee
Can I just start by saying, blog reader… you rock! Everyone here on the Achievers team really appreciates YOU for sifting through the vast interweb and landing on the [engage] blog, for spending time reading and sharing the articles we work so hard to create.
We are all caught up in the spirit of Employee Appreciation Day, which is right around the corner on March 4th. In fact, we love Employee Appreciation Day so much that we celebrate it all week! There is so much you can do to express appreciation for the people who work at your organization, and we thought it would be a good idea to share some of our ideas… including things we’ve done in the past that our employees have loved.
It’s essential to make employee recognition, including rewards, part of your everyday company culture. But that doesn’t mean Employee Appreciation Week should go unnoticed. These extra-special perks will remind all of your employees how much the company cares.
- On-site massage therapists or chiropractors
Your employees are on their feet, hunched over computers, and sitting for long commutes… help them relax.
- Guided meditation
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress. Bring in an expert to guide your employees, or host a recorded meditation for anyone who wants to participate in a quiet, dim room.
- Free yoga or other exercise classes
Hire an on-site yoga or exercise teacher to come in for the day and host a series of classes for employees.
- Catered lunch and/or breakfast
Bring your employees together and give them fuel for their busy day, by supplying healthy lunches or dinners for the whole company.
- Fitness trackers
Encourage employees to keep better track of their steps, heart rate, and sleep by supplying fitness trackers. Bonus: the data from fitness trackers can be used for employee step competitions throughout the year!
- Bring in standing desks
Not every employee will want to stand all the time, but you can provide supplies to temporarily convert desks into a standing format, or create permanent standing stations with monitors and power cords throughout the office.
- Educational speakers
Give employees access to thought leaders in your industry. It’s educational, and entertaining!
- Budget for employee-selected training/development
Give team leaders a set budget for each employee they manage, then give employees the freedom to select the training they want – whether it’s a conference, class, or online course.
- Hold executive office hours
Typically, your executive team is only accessible to your high-level managers. Give employees at all levels the opportunity to connect, share ideas, and ask questions of the leaders at your organization.
- Personal project time
Set aside time for your employees to drop their regular projects and work on something they’re passionate about.
- Complete an initiative you’ve been promising
Have you been telling employees forever that you’re going to overhaul performance reviews, bring in better snacks, or renovate the office bathrooms? Nothing will show your employees you appreciate them more than by fulfilling those promises.
- Office revamp
Speaking of renovations, does your office need a facelift? Major construction isn’t in the cards for everyone, but there are a number of things that can improve employee experience, including: better chairs, better lighting, more plants, a fresh coat of paint, or whatever your employees say they need!
- Updated electronics
Time to do upgrades of laptops, monitors, smartphones, and software. Your employees will be thrilled, and probably more productive.
- A half day off work
Your employees will really feel appreciated if you let them leave early on March 4th!
- Flex vacation day
If it’s not feasible for all employees to take an afternoon off at the same time, grant everyone one extra vacation day to use as they please; or put basic parameters on when they can redeem. If you’re going to give this gift though, don’t make it too restrictive.
- Extended break times
Whether your employees typically get 15-minute breaks or 30-minute lunches, double their break times this week.
- Bring your dog to work
Dogs can be great for reducing stress at the office. Not to mention, the owners can save a little money on dog-walker fees.
- Give volunteering hours
Corporate social responsibility is an important way to keep your employees engaged. By giving your employees time off to volunteer, you reinforce your company’s dedication to CSR, and you give your team a great opportunity to get out of the office.
- Public employee recognition
If you use a social recognition platform, this is something that happens every day. But you can make your recognitions extra special by blasting a few out to the company email list, praising someone during a team meeting, or posting recognitions up on public bulletin boards.
- Social media employee recognition
If you want to praise your great employees for the whole world to see, post individual recognitions on your company’s social media channels. Just be sure to get the employees’ permission before you share their names or photos.
- Rewards & recognition suggestion box
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a physical box – but it is a great idea to reach out to your employees and ask them what forms of recognition and rewards are the most meaningful to them. Is there something that your recognition or total rewards program is missing? This is a great time to find out.
- Office awards ceremony
Host a company-wide awards ceremony to celebrate some of the biggest successes over the past year, whether they were accomplished by individuals or whole departments. Make the ceremony a fun, creative, event – not just another company meeting.
- Personalized thank you notes
Recognition technology is a powerful thing, but we still love the idea of hand-written notes every now and then. It gives a certain touch!
Gifts & Treats
- Pick-a-subscription gift
Gifts like monthly cheese samplers, doggie gift boxes, or snack subscriptions are a great way to show your employees you care on an ongoing basis. Send out a list of options that fit your budget, and let your employees pick what works for them.
- High-quality sweet treats
Even if you keep the kitchen stocked with mini candy bars, your employees will be happier if you pick up a box of treats from the local bakery, the popular cupcake place around the corner, or the trendy donut shop.
- Better coffee
Get rid of the rocket fuel. Treat your employees to a selection of gourmet beans and blends. Or if budget allows, bring in a pop-up barista for the week who can whip up lattes and cappuccinos.
- Live entertainment
Concerts, comedy shows, and sporting events are all great bonding opportunities for your employees, whether you bring the performers on campus, or take your employees on a field trip.
- Spot bonuses
You can’t go wrong with bonuses. But if you’re going to go this route, be generous. Sums too small might insult your teams.
- Extra budget for team outings
Give team leaders budget for fun activities. They can plan outings that their team is likely to enjoy, and they can bond more easily in a small group setting.
- Fun desk drops
Give your employees something fun to look forward to all week by leaving quirky, fun, or useful gifts on their desks before they arrive.