Top ideas for employee appreciation day

Jun 16, 2024
6 mins to read
Top ideas for employee appreciation day

Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with creative, budget-friendly ideas to boost morale and recognize hard work.

What’s employee appreciation day?

Employee appreciation day is on every first Friday of the month March, it’s a day for companies to show their gratitude towards their employees dedication and hard work. Imagine it as a way to say a large thank you to employees. 

Why is this important?

Showing authentic and frequent recognition to employees fosters a positive company culture, improves productivity, and ensures employees feel valued and seen. According to a Gallup-Workhuman survey, organizations that make an effort to prioritize employee appreciation day have employees who are 56% less likely to look for a new job. 

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas 

Here are some casual and mundane ways companies can go about preparing for employee appreciation day.

  • Customized Office Supplies: Give out customized office supplies such as mouse pads, pens, or notebooks with both the company name and employees’ names
  • Office Makeover: Turn the office into a fun environment with banners and decorations for the week. 
  • Snack Cart: Order a snack cart with different snacks, sweets, and drinks for employees to grab from throughout the day
  • Health and Wellness Gift Bag: Give each employee a gift bag with self-care goodies to promote work life balance and mental health.
  • Ergonomic Upgrades: Renew the offices, chairs, keyboards, and general office supplies to be more ergonomic friendly.
  • Dinner: Book a dinner for your team under the company card.
  • Giveaway: Enter all employees into a draw to win different prizes and maybe even a trip. 

Budget Friendly Ideas 

Not every company can afford to spend thousands of dollars, here are some budget friendly options that will still get the message across. 

  • Half Day Off: Who doesn’t like time off work to pursue interest or hang out with family.
  • Live music: Hire a local band or artist to preform for your team/workplace. 
  • Long walk: Perfect on warm sunny days, why not encourage a healthy lifestyle and get everyone off the office chairs!
  • Recognition Awards: Print out an award that's tailored to each team member, these can be based off personality instead of work achievements.
  • Board Game Day: Reusable board games from other events are most definitely somewhere in the office storage room, why not bring them out? 
  • Picnic: Pick a large outdoor space and have a picnic.
  • Give and Receive messages: Get everyone to write a message for the person they recognize on sticky notes and post it on a wall. 
  • Thank you video: Film a short thank you video to employees from a manager/boss.
  • Email: Put together an email with photo memories of the team and a short number.
  • Digital Achievement Badges: Create and distribute personalized badges for employee achievements. 
  • No Meetings: Ensure there will be no meeting for the day. 

Ideas from other companies

These are from companies with the best recognition day events and ideas.

  • Airbnb: Allows employees to stay at different Airbnb locations as a mini trip or vacation, it’s also a great way for employees to actually understand what they are selling on a much more personal level.
  • Google: Organizes on-site events such as concerts, fitness classes, and even gourmet meals. 
  • Salesforce: Plans workshops, concerts, and wellness initiatives such as massages. 
  • Apple: Team building activities and perks off apple products. 
  • Microsoft: Outdoor activities and sporting events. 
  • Spotify: Organizes concerts with their artist’s on their platform for employees to attend.
  • Disney: Milestone and legacy awards, annual pay increases, and individual plaques. 
  • Burton: Famous snowboarding company that gives employees perks such as free lessons, 50% discounts on gear, and even season passes. 

How to choose what to do

Determine what you aim to achieve. Do you want employees to become more knowledgeable through workshops and lessons? Maybe you want employees to feel relaxed? Or maybe you just want them to feel seen. In any scenario ensuring your reasoning matches the purpose of the event will ensure your employee appreciation day will go smoothly. 

Company culture match? Ensure that your event matches your company's values and brand just like Airbnb does.

Determine a budget: Every company differs when it comes to monetary effort, a small budget doesn’t necessarily mean a bad employee appreciation day. There are plenty of recognition ideas that are completely free.

Give employees what they want. If you come at a crossroads of what to do or just have many options, create a survey for employees to vote on what they prefer. 

Kimmy Dinh
Kimmy Dinh

Kimmy Dinh is a young professional interning at Litespace with experience in various industries. Specializing in marketing, Kimmy uses that experience to share her industry insights on the hiring process.

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