11 Ways of Showing Employee Appreciation

employee being congratulated by boss in front of team

Showing employees appreciation can go a long way towards improving overall employee satisfaction in a business. As a business owner, manager, or boss, having the ability to keep staff satisfied and engaged can foster productivity, while having a positive impact on the performance and reputation of your business.

As people react in varying ways to different forms of appreciation, there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to this. Teams, industries, companies and budgets vary greatly, so it’s important to consider what’s applicable to your company when you’re developing your employee appreciation strategy.

If you’re wondering where to begin, we’ve compiled a list of eleven ways to show your employees that you listen to them and value what they bring to the table. By the end of the article, you will have a clear understanding of why this is so important and of your potential first steps.

1. Pay Fairly

What — Fair pay is one of the most effective ways to show appreciation. Offer a compensation that takes into consideration roles’ workload and the value they bring to your company.

How — For starters, avoid payroll mistakes and abide by scheduled paydays — some of the best cloud-based payroll software out there can help you with this. Furthermore, keep up with the latest trends to make sure your employees are getting paid according to the market’s standards. If not, consider giving them a raise or support their choice to start a side hustle.

Why — Paying your employees fairly is a financial way of saying that you accurately recognise their contribution to your company. Consequently, this can make them feel valued.

While it may seem like an obvious point to make, there’s definitely work that can be done on this front. A recent survey highlighted that more than half of UK workers believe they’re not paid enough. Because they’re less likely to ask for pay rises than men, women are even more likely to feel underpaid. The resulting pay stagnation on their side, besides leading to frustration, only widens the gender pay gap in the country.

2. Praise Publicly

What — Take the time to publicly praise those who produce the biggest wins in your venture.

How — A physical meeting focused on collective (and individual) victories is the perfect setting for this because it contributes to team building. If this is not possible, virtual meetings or a company-wide email can do the job.

When it comes to the praise itself, it must be in line with the culture and style of your staff and company. For example, feel free to come up with humorous prizes if that’s their preferred way to celebrate.

Why — Public demonstrations of appreciation can go a long way to show your staff you care about them and their contributions. A recent survey by Gallup, an analytics firm,  found that only one in three workers felt they received praise for doing good work  – which can generate resentment over time.

3. Create a Rewards System

What — Create a reward system that will recognise your staff.

How — Using project management software, track your staff’s productivity and award them points, which can then be exchanged for rewards. As to what these should be, gadgets and gift cards are likely to wow your employees. However, small, personalised tokens (like a mug or a t-shirt) can do the trick as well if you’re on a tight budget.

Why — Gifts and treats can work wonders when it comes to boosting workplace morale and instilling a culture based around appreciation, so you might want to consider creating a reward system that will recognise your staff.

In addition to the appreciation, a rewards system can help gamify your workplace experience, which can help boost productivity. Also, if you’re receptive to your employees’ ideas to create a gift range, it will show them that you’re attuned to their needs, which is another demonstration of care.

4. Be Open to Informal Feedback

What — Listen to (and act upon) the feedback give in informal settings, like work socials or casual conversations.

How — Start by setting up the formal routes, such as anonymous surveys and feedback meetings, but also talk to your staff informally, taking feedback that arises on board.

Why — Giving feedback is paramount to your employee engagement. Gallup discovered that employees who receive regular feedback are nearly four times more likely to feel engaged than the ones who receive it sporadically.

However, feedback should be a two-way street. It is equally as important to create opportunities for your employees to evaluate what they believe is working and what isn’t. By listening to them, you can show appreciation as well as get insights into your company.

5. Offer Food and Drink

What — Offer meals to your staff to ease the burden of food costs.

How — Arrange for free food and drink to be provided in the office. For maximum benefit, you can also try organising lunch trips, which have an additional team building aspect to them.

Why — The cost of living crisis is hitting the UK population hard across many different areas – and its stomach is one of them. With one in seven people skipping meals because of the economic pinch, offering free food and drink to your staff is a relatively low-cost form of appreciation. This display will speak volumes about your awareness of your staff’s hardships.

Even removing the crisis from the equation, the simple act of receiving free food boosts employee satisfaction. A US survey found that a staggering 67% of respondent employees who had access to free food at work claimed to be “extremely” happy with their job.

6. Review Your Annual Leave Policy

What — Support your staff’s life outside of work with a generous paid downtime.

How — Offer a sizeable amount of paid unworked days. To take things further, experiment with allowing your staff to take “duvet days,” which are holidays that can be taken without a notice. Alternatively, you can offer extra days off as a prize for a particular goal or target achieved.

Why — A study found that 41% of employees were attracted to their job because of the work-life balance it offered. With this factor becoming increasingly more important to employees, allowing them to engage more with non-work activities is a surefire way to show appreciation.

7. Celebrate Non-Work Achievements

What — Champion your employees’ life outside of company quarters by giving kudos on their personal wins.

How — Use internal communications to celebrate your team’s external achievements. You can use a board, write company-wide emails or, if you have capacity, create a newsletter specific to this theme.

Why — One of the fundamentals of workplace inclusion is the ability of employees to bring their “whole selves” to work. Celebrating the things they do unrelated to their role is a way of recognising their initiative, individuality, and life journey. In turn, this boosts their sense of appreciation.

8. Support Your Staff’s Health and Fitness

What — Promote activities that support your staff’s fitness.

How — Consider have a quiet room for your staff to relax and create incentives for your employees to have regular breaks. You can also experiment with establishing collective stretching or exercises sessions. If it’s within your budget, consider offering gym subscriptions or have one at your office accessible to your employees.

Why — Several studies have pointed the correlation between health and happiness. By investing in activities that can foster happiness in your workforce (like cardiovascular activities), you are showing both that you care about their emotions and their work-life balance in one go. If the activities you go for a collective, they can also contribute to team building. Another plus: if they take place in your office, it can serve as extra push for attendance, helping you curb employee absenteeism.

9. Promote Social Events

What — Get your staff together to bond and have fun together, without the pressure of deliverables.

How — If you run a small company or don’t have a lot of budget, promote collective birthdays in the office. However, if your company has part of the budget set aside for social activities, consider renting a venue and organising themed parties.

Why — Social events usher in a fun, relaxed environment, promoting your staff’s ability to feel comfortable around each other while giving them a chance to make friends.

According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, friendships at work greatly influence employee satisfaction and retention. By showing that you’re openly fostering friendships and happiness, you’re showing appreciation that can result in your staff staying with you for longer and even recommending your company to potential employees.

10. Foster Your Staff’s Growth

What — Offer your staff opportunities for growth and learning that allow them to expand and refine their skill set.

How — Make internal development activities or courses available to your employees. If your budget allows it, include external ones as well. Also, promote internal progression by favouring existing staff for vacant roles.

Why — By offering learning opportunities to your employees, you’re demonstrating that their development as professionals is worth your time and money and that you support their career. This is a great way to show appreciation and it reflects on other factors too. Crucially, according to a study, jobs with more expansive learning opportunities have been more associated with employee satisfaction.

11. Allow Some Leeway

What — Unless they’re part of an ongoing trend or are cumulatively bad for your business in the long run, be tolerant with minor mistakes made by your employees.

How — When spotting a minor error or misjudgement, talk to the employee privately about it in an understanding manner. Try to come up with a joint solution on how to avoid it in the future but avoid taking punitive measure.

Why — Employees are human and mistakes are made. They can also go through rough patches in their personal lives, which can contribute to this. By approaching minor mistakes seeking dialogue and understanding, you’re showing them appreciation for the times they do get it right as well as trust that they can work towards a better outcome in the future.

Showing Employee Appreciation: Final Thoughts

In whatever form it takes, employee appreciation can yield great benefits for your business. It plays a key role in boosting morale and satisfaction in your workplace. With our list as a guide, you now have a few solid starting points to kick off your plans.

However, this list isn’t exhaustive: the main goal of the recommendations we picked is to give you ideas and get you to start thinking about employee appreciation. Every company and team is different, so you’ll need to work out the best way to communicate your appreciation before moving ahead with public praise and celebrations.

Ultimately, employee appreciation is about demonstrating that you recognise the critical part your team plays in working towards a common goal, and motivating them to keep producing their best work.

Written by:
Lucas Pistilli author headshot photo
Lucas is a Brazilian-born journalist and Expert Market’s go-to writer for all things EPOS systems, merchant accounts, and franking machines. Having covered business, politics and technology for many years, he’s driven by his passion for the written word and his goal to help people make well-informed decisions.