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Grow Your Business Your Team

11 Creative Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

11 Creative Ways to Show Employee Appreciation
Credit: vinnstock/Shutterstock

If you want your employees to be happy and productive, you need to give them recognition for a job well done and let them know their work is appreciated and important.

So, how do you show your employees that they're valuable to the company? Business News Daily asked business owners and experts for their best tips. Advice ranged from rewarding employees with small gifts and throwing fun group outings to giving employees more responsibility and letting them in on company decisions.

Ready to give out some recognition? Here are 11 ways to make your employees feel more appreciated.

Let employees reward one another.

"[Put] the power of recognition and reward in their hands. I use apps and programs like YouEarnedIt to give my employees the power to give each other kudos for good work done. I let my team members choose their reward, too, because not everyone wants a cash bonus or a gift card." – Darius Mirshahzadeh, CEO, Endeavor America Loan Services

Spend time with your employees.

"Employees feel recognized when their boss tells them thank you, gives them a bonus, etc., but they feel most valued when their boss invites them to lunch, takes time to have a coffee with them or even takes time to thoroughly review and discuss whatever it is that person has developed." – Suz O'Donnell, director of client services and executive coach, Thrivatize

Offer employees a platform.

"It could be done as a request to share. When we let people know we value what they have to offer by asking if they'd share their story, tips, methods, etc. with others, it provides validation to them that they do have something of value to offer, and it boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem in the process. This doesn't mean we add a training function to their currently overloaded job, but it could be sharing at a team or organizational event, award ceremony or even in a newsletter." – Sandy Geroux, CEO, WOWplace International

Let employees make important decisions.

"Let them make decisions that matter and can impact the company. Verbal appreciation is important, and bonuses or other perks are appreciated, but ultimately, showing someone that you trust their opinion and expertise is far more valuable." – Drew Thomas, chief creative officer, Brolik [Employees Motivated By Rewards, Not Penalties ]

Give them little surprises; they go a long way.

"My favorite forms of appreciation include unexpected treats like group  lunches or a shortened workday. I also like activities that add value for  both the individual and the company, including team-building challenges and  fully paid continuing-education courses." – Kelsey Libert, vice president of marketing, Fractl

Be specific with praise.

"Leaders need to be specific in expressing their appreciation so that it reinforces behaviors through positive feedback for the employee. Instead of a generic 'great job,' be specific — for example, 'I really like how you've pulled the discussion back together – You're an exemplary collaborator.' Being specific also adds meaning and inspires the employee to further develop their skills in that particular area." – Reuven Gorsht, global vice president of customer strategy, SAP

Make it public.

"Publicly recognizing achievements, both big and small, is a great way to give employees a pat on the back, while also boosting team morale and motivation." – Andre Lavoie, CEO, ClearCompany

Give employees extra time off.

"I think the most valuable way to recognize an employee today is through time —that is, time off, time to do something else besides work. It could be family, a hobby, or a charity, or a short vacation. I don't think it needs to be routine or regular, and has the most value when it's unexpected." – Mark S. Valenti, president and CEO, The Sextant Group

Be transparent.

"Company leadership [should let] employees know what's really going on with the company. Granted, there are some things that can't be discussed, but for the most part, keeping people informed goes a long way toward making them feel involved. It generates a 'we're in this together' environment, as well as team ownership of the operation." – Brenda Norwood, HR manager, calltools.com

Encourage employees to grow.

"The best way to show appreciation for your employees [and] people you work with is to give them opportunities to grow and stretch themselves, showing that you believe in them to do well in such opportunities." – Philip Blackett, founder and CEO, Magnetic Interviewing

Take it out of the office.

"Off-site events are a great way to reward hard-working employees and create a culture of gratitude that is crucial to showing employees just how much they're appreciated. Scheduling fun, engaging activities outside of work hours — such as cooking classes, sand-castle building or sporting events — produces happier employees who feel valued and loved. While in-office perks are great, prove to employees they're worth the extra investment by showing appreciation outside the office environment." – Nicole Lavin, vice president of partnerships, Kapow Events

Brittney Helmrich
Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.

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