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8 Ways to Demonstrate Employee Appreciation

Appreciated employees are more loyal, engaged and productive employees, which typically translates into greater profitability for their companies. Boosting morale and keeping your employees motivated doesn't require large amounts of money or time. See if a few of these easy-to-implement ideas can help you craft a company culture that celebrates the value each employee brings to the team.

Employees enjoying a pizza in the office.

1. Throw a company party over an extended lunch break.

Set aside two or three hours on a preannounced day to treat your company to an in-office catered lunch break. While pizza is always appreciated, consider working with a professional caterer to come up with an ever more memorable menu. Special touches like a s'mores or sushi bar can really amp up the fun. You might host a leisurely brunch where crepes, waffles and pancakes are made to order.

2. Schedule a "bring your pet to work" day.

Invite your staff's four-legged family members to the office. Pets in the workplace can act as great icebreakers between employees while facilitating teamwork and better communication.

3. Coordinate a family day.

Welcome your employees' children and partners into the workplace. It's a great way for your staff to see coworkers in a new light as they interact with their loved ones, and the effort demonstrates that you promote a family-friendly work environment a balanced work and family life. If your office location isn't suited for a casual get-together, plan a barbecue or company-sponsored picnic at a nearby park.

4. Implement a wellness program.

Employee wellness programs can improve office morale and reduce the number of sick days taken by employees. Keep costs lower with ideas that include:

  • Organizing daily or weekly group activities, such as power walks or bike rides around the office's neighborhood.
  • Forming a paintball, softball or bowling team.
  • Handing out pedometers employees can use to track their daily steps.
  • Partnering with a local health club that offers a corporate rate, so you can sponsor all or part of the monthly membership fees for interested employees.
  • Designating a recreation room in the workplace equipped with a treadmill, mini rebounder and yoga mats.

5. Create an employee recognition program.

Giving your all at work and feeling like your efforts are going unnoticed can be demoralizing and demotivating. Recognize your employees' contributions consistently in creative ways. It could be a monthly trophy presented to someone who best exemplified your company's values. Maybe it's a photo and an engraved plaque on your organization's Wall of Fame honoring the Employee of the Quarter. Other ideas include:

  • Thank them with something they need — Purchase a supply of gift cards from Amazon or a local grocery store or gas station. Rewarding employees with gift cards that help cover food or transportation costs can be a big financial help any time of year.
  • Treat them to an indulgence — Even employees not on tight budgets may be reluctant to splurge on personal luxuries, such as massages and meals in upscale restaurants. Express your appreciation for their efforts by letting hardworking employees pamper themselves on your dime with gift certificates.

6. Develop an education assistance plan.

If your budget permits, provide financial reimbursement for costs associated with tuition, fees and books for employees who want to return to school. You could also cover part of the expense involved in attending a career-related seminar or workshop. Helping your people develop into better professionals with a tuition reimbursement program can greatly benefit your company.

7. Surprise them with a paid day off.

Reward high achievers with a paid mental health day. Encourage them to tack it onto a weekend for a three-day break that leaves them refreshed and refocused when they return to work.

8. Invite them into your home.

Hosting a meal at your own home is an intimate way to acknowledge the people who work for you and build trust. If it's a group affair, let a caterer and bartender run it so you can relax and enjoy your guests.

If you create a team of happy and motivated workers that feel valued, they'll probably be less inclined to look for opportunities elsewhere. The spillover effect can result in a more positive company culture, happier clients and a more profitable business for you.

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