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Employee Appreciation Ideas for 2021

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10 Ideas for Making your Employees Feel Valued

Did you know that Employee Appreciation Day is on March 5th this year? With that date right around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking about how to thank your employees. The past year has been quite difficult, with many people having to deal with reduced hours, higher stress, and confusing changes to their job duties. Let your staff know just how much you appreciate all their hard work with one or more of these employee appreciation ideas.

Idea #1 – Thank Each Employee Personally

Sometimes, the most meaningful way to celebrate is to simply give each person a thoughtful “thank you.” Taking the time to chat with individual employees makes them feel like valued team members instead of cogs in a machine. Make sure to acknowledge how challenging COVID has been, and express your gratitude when they go above and beyond their job description. If possible, try to personalize your chat by mentioning unique accomplishments or positive characteristics of the employee.

Idea #2 – Host a Staff Gaming Break

Give your hardworking employees a little extra time to relax, and ensure they have fun on their break. All you need to do is purchase a few popular board games or card games. Then, let employees know their usual break will be extended for Employee Appreciation Day. This allows staff bonding time without costing a lot of money or requiring elaborate plans. In addition to the fun of the games, it is also a great idea because everyone enjoys feeling like they have a little more free time during the workday.

Idea #3 – Get Everyone Gift Cards

No one said employee appreciation ideas had to be complicated. If you want to give employees presents without breaking the bank, consider getting each one a small gift card or thank you gift. Having the ability to pick out what they want ensures that each employee ends up with a gift they will appreciate. Since most companies run sales that let you get discounts for large amounts of gift cards, you might save a little money, too. Just make sure you get gift cards everyone on your team will like. A coffee shop or big-box store is always a safe option, or you can try a local favorite shop or restaurant.

Idea #4 – Try Doing Your Employees’ Routine Day-to-Day Tasks

Try planning a wacky workday where management staff takes over tasks for other employees. Just about any help is appreciated, especially if you encourage employees to take a break while you handle their tasks. However, it can be especially valued when you acknowledge everyone has a least favorite part of their job. Ask employees what tasks they enjoy the least, such as cleaning a grease trap, and then offer to handle it yourself for the day.

Idea #5 – Recognize Employees Who Do a Stellar Job

If you don’t already have an “Employee of the Month” program, now can be a great time to start. Everyone appreciates a little public recognition. In addition to a picture on the wall or a post on social media, ensure there is a prize associated, as well. A half day off, a sweet treat, or a gift card can encourage all your employees to keep at it. In addition to incentivizing hard work, recognizing even one employee shows all your workers you notice and care about their efforts.

Idea #6 – Change Your Dress Code

When employees come into work wearing a uniform every day, even a little change can be extremely welcome. You don’t necessarily have to let your employees wear whatever they want all day. Even a small gesture like letting everyone wear jeans on Friday or giving everyone a company tee to wear on Employee Appreciation Day can get people excited. Shaking up the workplace a little can help improve employee morale.

Idea #7 – Hold a Happy Hour or Other Special Event

Give everyone a chance to unwind after work with a happy hour, bowling party, or food truck rally. Depending on your local COVID restrictions, some bars and entertainment shops may be closed. However, you can still express your gratitude by having a little party after hours at your place of work. Just a word of caution: make sure this event is not mandatory. You don’t want to force staff to cancel previous plans when you are just trying to reward them for a great job.

Idea #8 – Have Team Competitions

Everyone enjoys a little friendly competition, so a contest can be an excellent way of making Employee Appreciation Day memorable. Divide your workplace into two or three teams and let them compete for a fun prize. Depending on your work, the competition may be something like who bags the most groceries or who can sell the most desserts. The main thing is just to have some light-hearted rivalry that boosts team spirit. Regardless of which team wins the biggest prize, make sure everyone walks away with a little gift.

Idea #9 – Provide Some Tasty Treats in the Break Room

As long as you abide by COVID safety guidelines, delicious snacks in the break room are still a fun option. Even if your business already serves a variety of delicious food, employees will appreciate something new and exciting. Consider taking a staff poll and selecting some food from everyone’s favorite local shop. It can also be fun to add a DIY vibe with individually wrapped portions. Either way, if you choose to go this route for your Employee Appreciation Day, make sure to be thoughtful. If any staff members have allergies or special diets, try to provide options that accommodate their needs, as well.

Idea #10 – Involve Your Employees in the Planning

Whatever you decide to go with, make sure your employees are involved. You could even poll them for their own employee appreciation ideas. Why? Well, remember that employee appreciation is all about your workers, so it is essential to think about their preferences. Consider sending out an employee survey with a few different ideas, and select the idea that is most popular. This ensures that you pick a celebration that works well for most.

Come up with Your Own Great Employee Appreciation Ideas

No one knows your business and work culture better than you do. Because of the pandemic, we’ve all had to flex our creativity muscles and think outside the box. This is another area where you might want, or need, to get creative in order meet safety, budget, and other constraints. Can’t do an in-person event? No problem. Try to adapt it to an online forum instead.

If nothing else, a warm and sincere thank you can go a long way toward making your staff feel valued and appreciated.

At TimeForge, we recognize that your employees are your business’s greatest asset. With our workforce management software, you can make schedules your employees love, communicate effectively with team members, and ensure employees can request time off easily and painlessly.

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