Home » National Employee Appreciation Day Ideas and Unique Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

National Employee Appreciation Day Ideas and Unique Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Employees working together

The employees at our company are remote, so coming up with employee appreciation day ideas hasn’t always been simple. The company’s first run at coming up with fun ideas for Employee Appreciation Day consisted of a virtual bingo game, but that just went terribly wrong when half of our screens started lagging. 

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The next Employee Appreciation Day virtual ideas they tried included a virtual Zoom social hour, which proved difficult with everyone trying to talk over one another. Eventually, we started mingling in break-out rooms, which created awkward cliques that weren’t good for the company culture.

Eventually, our bosses decided they needed to get a little more creative to show the employees how much they value them. So, they devised a few good ideas for Employee Appreciation Day.

Here are employee appreciation day celebration ideas and how they went: 

Employee Shout-Outs

Employee Shout-Outs are a great way to show appreciation and boost employee morale. Having managers or team members recognize their peers’ hard work through shout-outs during meetings or on collaboration tools is an easy way to increase employee engagement. Employees feel appreciated when their efforts are publicly acknowledged. Shout-outs are an effective employee recognition strategy to retain talent.

Dress Up Day

Dress Up Days are fun team-building events that break up the remote work routine. Having themed dress-up days on certain Fridays allows employees to show off their personalities. Team members feel more connected, and morale is lifted when they participate together in these lighthearted activities. Dress-up days demonstrate that leadership wants employees to have fun together and feel appreciated for their contributions.

Team Building Events

Organizing regular Team Building Events enables employees to bond and strengthen relationships. Gathering team members together for activities outside of their regular work builds camaraderie. Employees feel valued spending recreational time with leadership and peers. Playing games, doing Escape Rooms, volunteering together, or having meals/happy hours allows for meaningful connections that boost employee retention and recognition.

Wellness Hours

Wellness Hours set aside time for employees to rest and recharge. Allowing team members paid time every week to focus on personal health and wellbeing shows appreciation for their hard work. Employees feel cared for when companies recognize the importance of work-life balance through wellness hours. This employee engagement and retention strategy demonstrates that leadership values employees as whole people. One of the best way to reward employees. 

Appreciation Gifts such as Swag Kits and Snack Box

Appreciation Gifts like company Swag Kits or Snack Boxes are tangible ways to recognize employees and show your appreciation. Sending team members curated packages with branded items like water bottles, notebooks, apparel or an assortment of tasty treats boosts morale. Employees feel pride and connection receiving these thoughtful tokens of appreciation for their efforts. Fun gifts increase employee engagement, motivation and retention.

Field trip

Planning quarterly Field Trips gives remote teams a chance to connect in person. Rotating locations for staff to convene for outings like museum tours, sporting events, hikes or volunteer activities provides change of pace. Employees feel valued when companies invest in bringing distributed members together. These trips build meaningful relationships between team members, increasing employee belonging and loyalty.

Happy hour

Hosting Happy Hours gives employees a fun, informal environment to gather and build camaraderie. Providing appetizers and drinks for staff to mix and mingle allows bonds to deepen between team members. When leadership shows gratitude through these social occasions, employees feel recognized for their hard work. Happy hours boost employee morale, relationships and retention.

Curate the perfect box of handpicked gift they’ll love and send joy their way

Gift cards

Gift Cards give team members the flexibility to choose their own gift. Surprising staff with virtual gift cards to popular retail stores, restaurants or entertainment services allows them to select something meaningful. Employees feel acknowledged when companies give rewards on special occasions. Gift cards are simple, personalized ways to increase employee satisfaction and retention.

Personalized Thankyou Notes

Handwritten Personalized Thank You Notes carry more meaning than an email. When leadership takes the time to pen custom messages praising team members’ specific contributions, employees feel truly valued. The sincerity of engraved thanks makes employees feel recognized as individuals. Notes boost employee morale, engagement and loyalty.

Personalized gifts

Personalized Gifts show team members that leadership pays attention to their unique interests. When companies give staff customized items based on hobbies or preferences rather than generic corporate swag, it makes employees feel special. The meaningful, individualized gifts increase employee happiness, engagement and retention.

Play team games

Playing Team Games together in person or remotely facilitates fun bonding. Dedicated time for staff participation in games like digital trivia, online puzzles or TV game shows enables connections in a lighthearted spirit. Employees feel part of something bigger when interacting with leadership and peers recreationally. Team games boost employee morale and relationships.

Team meal

Catering Team Meals for staff gives people a chance to connect over food. Providing full meals for departments allows coworkers to enjoy each others company during workday breaks. Employees feel cared for and experience a sense of belonging when companies show generosity through nourishment. Shared meals increase employee retention and job satisfaction.

Curated care packages

Curated Care Packages filled with goodies customized for each employee make staff feel valued as individuals. When leadership puts thought into gifts that align with team members’ unique personalities, hobbies and interests, it boosts morale. The personalized nature makes employees feel recognized and engaged, increasing retention.

Flexible workday

Offering Flexible Workdays where staff can shift schedules or work remotely empowers team members to take needed personal time. Accommodating employee requests around appointments, family commitments or general mental health demonstrates trust and care for their wellbeing. Employees feel respected and appreciated when companies provide schedule flexibility, improving loyalty and satisfaction.

Meditation session

Incorporating meditation sessions into the workweek gives staff opportunities to decompress. Setting aside paid company time for breathing exercises, stretch breaks, and quiet reflection shows leadership cares about employee health and stress levels. Wellness offerings make team members feel their whole selves are valued, driving engagement and belonging.

Board Games

Hosting First Friday Game Days is an impactful way to show employee appreciation and reward staff. Setting aside regular work time on the first Friday of each month for team members to gather virtually or in person for entertaining board games builds camaraderie in a relaxed manner. Leadership participation in these cooperative activities makes employees feel valued for their contributions. First Friday Game Days boost belonging and morale through lighthearted interactions. They demonstrate care for employees by facilitating meaningful connections.

Event Ideas and Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2024

After the virtual bingo and social hour fiasco, HR decided that we needed some better employee appreciation event ideas in order to boost morale and engagement.​​ They began hosting weekly employee appreciation activities to create a more positive workplace culture. Rather than having just one appreciation day on Employee Appreciation Day, they decided that a weekly celebration recognizing employees’ hard work would help keep the positive spirit alive and well all year.

While not all of these employee appreciation ideas were smooth sailing initially, the company finally found a system that worked… 

Each week, the company hosted an employee appreciation virtual event via teambuilds.com. With this system, we were able to participate in fun events such as fun classes, game shows, and trivia. All without anyone’s screen lagging.

National Employee Appreciation Day Gift Ideas

If you don’t want to host an event on Employee Appreciation Day, gifts are another excellent way to show your employees that you value their hard work. Some great Employee Appreciation Day gift ideas include curated snack boxes (perfect for remote employees because they get shipped directly to them), plants, company swag, or personalized items.

You don’t have to go overboard either to show your employees just how much you appreciate them. Inexpensive employee appreciation gifts can be just as effective. When looking for small appreciation gifts for employees, think of ways that you can make the gift personal. A simple idea is to find out your employee’s favorite food and order them their favorite dish

Employees laughing over a game

Creative Ideas For Employee Appreciation Week 

If you want to do more than just one day celebrating your employees as we did, consider celebrating Employee Appreciation Week. Some creative ideas for Employee Appreciation Week include handing out extra bonuses such as PTO or having everyone participate in fun employee appreciation games.

During one of your weekly employee appreciation events, we celebrated with some fun employee appreciation themes. The theme was “favorite movie” and everyone got to dress up as their favorite movie character. It was super fun – although a little strange when we saw Mike from accounting dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

Another week we all received a personalized employee appreciation message from our boss, attached to a gift baskets with snacks. We all met our numbers that week … who’s to say if the two are correlated, I’d like to think they are. 

a great employee appreciation day idea are SnackMagic's Goodie Bags

Employee Appreciation Ideas For Large Companies 

Coming up with employee appreciation ideas for large companies can be a little more complicated. Consider ordering bulk swag and shipping it out to each employee. This could include a custom-branded hat, mug, or sweatshirt–endless possibilities. Shipping out branded merchandise is also one of the best ideas for rewarding remote employees since it’s easy to ship out to any employee – no matter where they are. 

Coming up with clever appreciation gifts for remote employees isn’t always easy since you can’t get everyone together in one place to hand out gifts. That’s why gift baskets and merchandise that can be ordered in bulk are great.

Speaking of employee appreciation for remote employees, here are a few more employee appreciation ideas that our company tested out.

Employee Appreciation Day Ideas For Remote Employees 

Two of the best Employee Appreciation Day ideas for remote employees that our company came up with were Snack Day and Employee of the Month. It’s no secret that coming up with staff appreciation ideas during COVID can be difficult, but we gave these two virtual employee appreciation ideas a try, and they were a big hit.

For snack day, we all filled out a survey stating our favorite snacks, and the company shipped us each a personalized gift basket full of our favorites. We got to enjoy our snacks together via Zoom. And there was no awkwardness of people trying to talk over one another because we were all too busy eating. And for virtual employee of the month ideas, the employee of the month got to choose their own gift basket as a prize. 

All in all, employee appreciation goes a long way. Give these ideas a try and see for yourself! 

Show Your Appreciation with Our All-In-One Platform: Celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day 2024 in Style

Demonstrating meaningful employee appreciation no longer needs to be a heavy lift for People teams. Our innovative engagement platform makes it easy to run personalized recognition and rewards programs at scale. With customizable digital appreciation notes, spot bonuses, peer-to-peer recognition, points-based rewards and more, we enable leaders to show employee appreciation in just a few clicks.

Streamline Appreciation and Alignment

Simplify your systems for appreciating employee achievements, milestones and wins. Our centralized platform aligns your entire global workforce around your company values and strategic objectives through targeted recognitions and incentives. Appreciate employee contributions more frequently, equitably and strategically with less effort.

Get Started Now to Boost Retention

Don’t let employee recognition be an afterthought. Show your staff you value their dedication by implementing an online appreciation platform built just for progressive, people-first leaders like you. Schedule a demo to explore the many ways our software can help foster an engaging employee experience. Invest in retaining your top talent today with powerful digital solutions that provide prompt peer and leadership recognition. Exceed employee expectations with the human touch of modern technology.

The time is now to demonstrate daily appreciation for your hardworking staff. Contact us to learn more about simplifying and enhancing your employee recognition program with our all-in-one platform purpose-built to inspire engagement, alignment and belonging across your entire organization. Say goodbye to friction and wow your people with the tailored solutions they deserve.

What are some creative ways to increase employee recognition and a way to reward staff for a job well done?

For a scalable, thoughtful way to boost employee recognition, consider utilizing an employee recognition platform like SwagMagic that allows for customized swag, gifts, and digital appreciation messages. A recognition platform helps automate and enhance peer-to-peer shout-outs and leader praise across your distributed workforce. It streamlines rewards while maximizing positive impact.

How can we craft meaningful appreciation messages to celebrate years of service milestones?

Creating a playlist of personalized congratulatory employee appreciations and recognition for long-service tenured employees lets you show how their commitment over the years is valued, while avoiding costly gifts. The personalized messages from executives and peers carry deep meaning that leave long-lasting positive impressions.

What are some good ideas for free employee appreciation gifts or activities to boost morale?

Dedicating a Special Appreciation Day dedicated solely to team member wellness is one free way to show gratitude for their commitment and efforts. Use that special day to provide care packages, gift certificates for rejuvenation, special messages of recognition and opportunities for reconnecting with one another. The focused time and thoughtful gifts demonstrate meaningful appreciation.

Should we implement a special virtual reality day to give remote staff an immersive experience as a token of gratitude?

Yes, organizing a dedicated Virtual Reality Appreciation Day for remote employees is an innovative way to make them feel valued and connected. Providing VR headsets and a special day for immersive virtual experiences brings a thoughtful, modern twist on employee recognition. It shows deep care and gratitude for remote staff through technology they enjoy. The shared VR events build bonds despite physical distances, boosting engagement and loyalty.

Can you provide a comprehensive list of  employee appreciation events, gifts and initiatives 

Can you provide a comprehensive list of potential employee appreciation events, gifts and initiatives to demonstrate how much we value our hardworking team?

Here is a list of impactful employee appreciation ideas:

  • Catered lunches or virtual happy hours
  • Handwritten thank you notes from leadership
  • Gift cards to choose their own gift
  • Wellness goodie bags with self-care items
  • Shout-out newsletters highlighting accomplishments
  • Peer-to-peer digital recognition badges
  • Customized branding swag boxes
  • Extra paid time off
  • Donations made to causes employees care about
  • Birthday e-cards with personal messages
  • Annual service anniversary awards
  • Fun themed spirit weeks
  • In-person retreats to reconnect

Implementing regular small and large recognition initiatives from across these categories reinforces how much we truly appreciate our dedicated staff!

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