Send an appreciation note to your work bestie or coworker who's crushing it at our all-new Employee Appreciation Hub.
National Employee Appreciation Day was on Friday, March 5, 2021, but we're celebrating all year long. So, make an extra-meaningful gesture for your team and show employees how grateful you are for their hard work.
Whether you’re coming together as one unit, encouraging self-care for your employees, or showing appreciation by giving the gift of experience or a virtual appreciation note, we’ve curated eight creative appreciation ideas to help you show your team that they’re seen and valued.
This list can serve as a strong foundation to plan employee appreciation activities throughout the year—because appreciation shouldn't just be limited to just one day.
8 employee appreciation ideas for your company.
1. Have your leadership team express their gratitude.
Recognition is especially meaningful when it comes from the top. Case in point, 28% of employees believe the most memorable recognition comes from their manager, while 24% want to be recognized by a high-level leader or CEO.
Have your senior leaders personally thank employees for their contributions at the next all-hands meeting, or encourage your managers to send an appreciation message or note directly to their team members. People managers can also foster community appreciation by hosting a virtual or in-person lunch, depending on your current work setup, for the team to bond and celebrate their shared wins.
2. Host a virtual “outing.”
Treat your team to a virtual activity based on their shared interests and passions. If you have a competitive team, you could host a trivia or board game night. Or, if you have a super collaborative group of employees, have them try their hand at a virtual scavenger hunt or a virtual cooking class.
Regardless of the activity, ensure it’s set up to build meaningful connections across your organization. You can do this by putting people from different departments on the same team or setting up prizes for groups that demonstrate strong collaboration—don’t be afraid to shake it up a bit.
3. Organize an online volunteer day.
Providing your employees with an opportunity to donate their time and skills to a good cause is important to your employees. In fact, 75% of millennials say it’s important for companies to be philanthropic and support charitable causes.
Explore organizations like VolunteerMatch and Points of Light that provide virtual opportunities to safely contribute to communities during COVID-19. They offer everything from volunteer music lessons to collaboration opportunities for research projects.
4. Cook and get creative together.
Your employees are likely missing the snacks and catered lunches they used to get when they were in the office. But it’s not just the free food they miss. They also miss the meaningful conversations shared over food. On National Employee Appreciation Day, you can reinvigorate this desire for conversation and connection by hosting a virtual cooking lesson for your employees. Either hire a pro chef or have one of your employees volunteer to teach their favorite recipe to the rest of the organization.
We recently rolled out “Apron Activities” here at Blueboard. With this program, employees from different teams get paired up and can volunteer to teach a simple recipe to the rest of the company. Last week, we learned how to make fresh guacamole and margaritas—and picked up some fun dinner party facts as well. This was a great activity for everyone, whether they wanted to participate in the cooking or simply join in the conversation.
If you're getting bored with food activities and happy hours, tap into the wealth of hobbies, passions, and interests of your company and encourage employees of all levels to host a learning “happy hour.” We’ve had employees host introductions to Dungeons and Dragons and take us through the process of creating a mandala art piece—just to name a few topics we’ve already explored in 2021! Sharing our passions and interests is also a great way for Blueboarders to live our company value to “Dance a Little Different.”
5. Offer a surprise day off.
Surprise your employees with a day off work—potentially the Monday after National Employee Appreciation Day or on the day-of. Your employees can use the extra time to focus on their wellbeing, spend time with loved ones, or get some much-needed time outside away from the “office.”
One important note: make sure to emphasize that this surprise day off is strictly enforced. Encourage teams to set an out-of-office message and sign out of Slack or Teams chat to truly leverage the value of the time off. And ensure your Leadership team and managers do the same.
6. Treat your employees to a meal.
Sometimes after a long day of work, planning and cooking an entire meal for the family can feel overwhelming. Take this to-do item off their list and create the opportunity and budget for employees to expense food delivery.
Spending quality time with loved ones is a great way to show your team that you not only appreciate their time and energy, but also the support of their family in letting them do their best work. Make sure the amount is enough to cover the cost for their partner or children, so they can dine together and soak up some much-needed quality time.
7. Bring self-care to the home office.
Getting mail at home can be a delightful experience when we’re otherwise bombarded with digital communication. For National Employee Appreciation Day, send everyone at your company a care package that contains small gifts to share—maybe a fun board game, a hot chocolate or tea kit, or a pair of warm socks to encourage them to have a relaxing night in.
If you’re tight on budget, ask your employees to see who has secret wellness talents—like guided meditation sessions—they can share with the office in lieu of a full care package.
8. Gift employees with a meaningful, personalized Blueboard experience.
Want to step it up for Employee Appreciation Day? We’re here to help. Consider gifting your employees a personalized Blueboard experience. Experiential gifts like the ones we curate are proven to increase engagement and talent retention rates.
But let’s be honest: your priority right now as an HR leader is to show your team that you truly care and appreciate their time, energy, sacrifices, and commitment—and that you see them as real human beings.
We partner with hundreds of Best Places to Work around the globe, including Abbott’s diabetes care business, Pinterest, Shake Shack, and Ubisoft, to celebrate their top talent in a memorable way. We let employees choose the experience most meaningful to them—whether that’s taking in-home sommelier lessons, learning to kitesurf, or chasing the Northern Lights—which we then bring to life with our dedicated Concierge service.
Check out our favorite “love letters” from employees who’ve had an amazing time #blueboarding.
Go ahead, make someone’s National Employee Appreciation Day (and year) even better.
National Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect time to celebrate the change-makers, envelope-pushers, innovators, and true partners-in-crime who keep us sane and thriving during these trying times. And we created an employee appreciation note builder so you can let them know how much of an impact they’ve made on your life.
Choose your favorite card design, drop in a personal note, and send it off into appreciation cyberspace. We encourage you to share the love all week and will continue to offer the appreciation message builder for those “just because” moments all year long.
Remember: employee appreciation is an initiative that every company should prioritize year-round. If you’d like to learn more about how Blueboard can help power your efforts, no matter what time of year, request a demo today.