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Grow Your Business Your Team

10 Creative Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

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

Anyone can perform a task at work knowing the end result is a salary. However, passion and hard work often stems from affirmations employees hear from their boss or manager. Workers don't just crave a paycheck -- they want recognition, verbal appreciation and encouragement.

Of course, it's easy to say "thank you" or "good job" and be done with it; but there are countless ways to show your support and respect for your employees. Business News Daily asked business owners and experts to share the best ways to make your employees feel more appreciated.

"[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

"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 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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"One way to an employee's heart is through their stomach. Putting sweet treats in the break room, or delivering delicious chocolates like these artisanal chocolate truffles are always a big hit. You can also cater in lunch on Employee Appreciation Day – it's an easy way to say 'thank you' for the work they do." – Patricia Carl, senior vice president of human resources at FTD.

"We distribute a quarterly pulse survey which allows them to give us [anonymous] feedback about the company at a macro level. We ask a set of 15 questions around teamwork, leadership, career growth, etc. each quarter, to measure movement on any dimension, and then we give them three open text boxes to answer the questions: What are we doing well? What do we need to improve? What else is on your mind? We get our results each month with an average participation rate of about 75 percent, and have more than 225 lines of data from the responses to those three open ended questions. This allows all employees to feel heard and want to contribute to making our company win!" – Mai Ton, vice president of human resources at OneLogin

"Company events are usually quite popular when we do team building activities. The bottom line is that all employees want to feel part of the team and believe strongly in the company. If we can create a positive, fun and flexible workplace, most employees appreciate the independence of knowing they are trusted to get the work done and feel part of a team." – Patric Palm, CEO of Hansoft and Favro

Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan (Helmrich). Some source interview were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a senior at Rowan University with a major in writing arts and a double minor in journalism and psychology. She is President of Her Campus magazine and I Am That Girl at Rowan, and contributes to other writing platforms on and off campus. She expects to graduate in 2017 and continue working as a Purch B2B writer and assistant editor. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.