25 Creative Employee Appreciation Ideas for 2021

Appreciation Treats
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Admit it, your workplace wouldn’t be the same without the hardworking and dedicated employees that walk through the doors every day. Employees who feel appreciated in the workplace have greater job satisfaction, which leads to increased productivity. Sometimes all an employee wants to hear is a “thank you.” For all those other times, especially this March when you can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, we’ve put together a list of 25 creative ways to say “thank you” without actually saying it.

You don’t have to wait around once a year to make your employees feel appreciated. You can easily make every day Employee Appreciation Day by incorporating the fun ideas below into your workplace throughout the year. Be sure to stock up on employee appreciation gifts for your celebration or event, or just to recognize your team for all the little things they do to make your workplace greater.

1. Teach Employees About Proper Hydration TM-1758_1

A healthy employee is a productive employee, and a great way to help your staff is to teach about proper hydration. You can provide them with our new 2-in-1 bottle-to-tumbler to do just that! Whether they use the bottle to fill up on water or the tumbler for tea, this will be useful all year round.

2. Recognize Employees Wearing Their “Badge of Honor” BH-506
Make sure all of your employees have badge holders. On a randomly chosen day each week, fill a bowl with the names of people who are wearing them. Then, draw a name and award that person a prize.
3. Bring Out The Bags TB1800Y
Tote bags are a stylish way to organize and carry all of an employee’s essential belongings. With plenty of room to fit what your hard working employees need to bring back and forth to the office, or to pack for a getaway weekend at the beach, tote bags and backpacks provide utility and appreciation.
4. Plan a Surprise Motivational Speaker GN11589
Announce a mandatory training session for your employees. But instead of organizing one, plan a motivational speaker. When the employees enter, yell “Surprise!” After the speech, hand each employee a Bluetooth® Speaker.
5. Put Together the Pieces SK-2351
Show staff members they’re a good fit for your team with a fun team-building activity. Pick up a puzzle that has approximately as many pieces as you have staff members. Bring everyone together. Let each person pick a piece. Then, ask employees to walk around the room and find people who have pieces that attach to theirs. Reward participants with a treat pack.
6. Host an Innovation Day VP-8262
Let your employees be inventors for an afternoon. Divide them into teams, and provide each team with a box of random office supplies. Instruct each group to come up with an invention using the items. Have them make presentations about their inventions, and give them gifts for participating.
7. Host a “Cool” Ice Cream Contest AOS-813
Take the ice cream social up a few notches. Hold a competition amongst employees to find new ice cream sundaes (combinations of ice cream flavors and toppings). Provide all of the ingredients to make them. Give employees mood bowls to put their sundaes in. Gather the names of each employee creation and which ingredients are involved. Let all staff members vote for their favorite dish. Present the winner with a custom fleece jacket.
8. Send Employees Some Socks G10705B
Employees should feel appreciated both at the office and at home. Let your staff know how much you mean to them by giving them their favorite new pair of socks! Each time employees put on that pair they’ll be reminded of how awesome they are.
9. Promote Your Favorite Podcast G-239K
One morning, surprise your employees with Wireless Bluetooth® Earbuds. Tell them to tune in to your favorite podcast, perhaps one with a positive message about teamwork. Then bring in coffee and donuts to bring your employees to one area where you can all discuss the message together.
10. Put It in Writing VP-8757
Sometimes praise from co-workers means just as much, if not more, than praise from management. Pass out stationery sets to your employees. Encourage everyone to use the custom notepads to write positive notes to other employees. They can leave notes on desks for the recipient to find or hand them over in person.
11. Throw a Parking Lot Party LB1321Y
Celebrate your staff by staging a tailgate party in the work parking lot. Clear an area of vehicles and set up grills and tables. Serve up food and drink and pass out custom coolers.
12.Take Out Stress GN11037
Treat your hard-working employees to a “Relax, You Deserve It Day.” Hire a massage therapist to give 10-minute back and shoulder rubs throughout the day. Have a professional speaker explain the importance of organization, and how less clutter could lead to less stress. Send employees home with a trunk organizer to put practice to work.
13. Make Appreciation Fashionable PSH1181
Outfit your entire staff with custom t-shirts to wear on your Employee Appreciation Day celebration. Gather everyone together for a few words of inspiration and encourage all to join in a rousing round of applause and cheers. While this is going on, have someone place a gift of appreciation at each employee’s workstation.
14. Host a Wonderful Week of Events LP1808L
Hold a week of theme days to generate fun and build enthusiasm. Start with “Motivational Monday.” Give a stirring speech and hand out tokens of appreciation. On “Teamwork Tuesday,” let employees wear their favorite sports team shirts. Celebrate “We’re Wild About Our Staff Wednesday” and encourage employees to wear animal-print clothes. For “Thank You Thursday,” give everyone a thank-you note. Finally, celebrate “Fiesta Friday” with a Mexican food luncheon.
15. Create an Employee Appreciation Yearbook VP-4833
Design a memento for your staff members. Gather individual photos of all your staff. Then, choose a title for each staffer, such as Most Organized, Funniest, Most Creative, etc. Put the photos and titles together in a “yearbook.” Have high-quality copies made. Give the booklets to your staff members with a keepsake card and keychain.
16. Make Note of Your Appreciation GN11550
Surprise employees with a simple, heartfelt gift that puts your appreciation into words. The night before your Employee Appreciation Day event, place a mini jotter and pen set at each employee’s workstation to be discovered first thing in the morning. Be sure to write a small note of appreciation in each jotter!
17. Encourage a Little Friendly Competition OSA4354
Divide your staff into teams and ask each one to pick a rock band name. Have the teams compete in games, such as Charades and Hangman, for a week. Award points to the winning team of each game. At the end of the week, tally the points and present custom awards to the members of the team with the best overall score.
18. Celebrate Diversity with a Worldly Meal NT-5487
Highlight the diversity of your staff by planning a luncheon of international foods. Ask employees for food and drink suggestions of their favorite cultural foods. Decorate the dining area with maps from all over the world. At the luncheon, give employees custom lunch bags to use for leftovers.
19. Keep Employees Powered Up GN11039
Show your gratitude with a power bank for their smartphones and devices. But you can also teach them about how little workouts throughout the day, like a brisk walk around the building, can help keep their focus and energy powered up. Then present them with a pedometer!
20. Organize a Heart-Healthy Luncheon GN11597
Organize a luncheon with heart-healthy foods such as salads, available buffet style. Make sure all salad ingredients are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Have a nutritionist come in to speak about eating heart-healthy foods. Pass out salad or food containers at the end of the luncheon.
21. Shower Your Employees with Recognition G-240K
Decorate a bulletin board or display case with paper raindrops and hang a sign that reads, “We Shower Our Staff With Appreciation.” Draw a template of a large raindrop on a sheet of paper and make copies of it. Write thank-you notes to employees on the paper raindrops, and, each day for a week, tack up several of the raindrop notes. At the end of the week, distribute umbrellas to employees.
22. Protect Employees From the Unexpected GN11604
You can’t stop bad things from happening on your employees’ commute, but you can help make your employees ready for whatever comes their way with a 22-piece tire case
23. Provide Daily Fruit VP-8397
Snacking is beneficial to health, if done correctly. Provide your employees with healthy snacks by serving fruit mid-morning. Pick a category of fruit per day, such as citrus or berries—or choose a color such as yellow to focus on daily. Hand out a fruit infuser tumbler to each employee along with the fruit.
24. Create Employee Appreciation Picnic G-56Y
Without a dedicated staff, your business wouldn’t have reached its current heights of success. Throw an in-office picnic and provide fresh food and drinks to your team. Hand out fleece picnic blankets and water bottles for your employees to take home.
25. Light Up Your Employees Day GN11384
Let your employees know they are the light force driving your business. One day, turn out all the overhead lights, and line up LED lanterns throughout the halls and walkways. Give each employee their very own at their workstations.