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80 Creative Ways To Appreciate Your Staff

by Carmella Wehrle, Workability Expert

Continuous, meaningful, and cost effective ways to reward and your staff will provide higher morale and performance levels. The following ideas will help you to incorporate employee recognition into your everyday work.

  1. Create a wall with photos of outstanding employees. Update quarterly.

  2. Give employees time off to give blood, or for volunteering.

  3. Recognize employees who actively serve the community.

  4. Plan a picnic.

  5. Answer your assistant's telephone for a day.

  6. Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education.

  7. Post a thank you note on an employee's door.

  8. Managers wash employee's car in the company parking lot during lunch hour.

  9. Acknowledge individual achievements by using employee's name when preparing a report.

  10. Create a photo collage about a successful project that shows the people that worked on it, its stage of development and its completion and presentation.

  11. Find out employee's hobby and buy an appropriate gift.

  12. Make a thank-you card by hand.

  13. Cover the person's desk with balloons.

  14. Make and deliver a fruit basket.

  15. Inscribe a favorite book as a gift.

  16. Establish a place to display memos, posters, photos and so on, recognizing progress towards goals and thanking individual employees for their help.

  17. Swap a task with an employee for a day - his/her choice.

  18. Establish a "Behind the Scenes" award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight.

  19. Give the person a copy of the latest best-selling management or business book or a subscription to a trade magazine.

  20. Nominate an employee for an award.

  21. Create Company Ambassadors to explain to new employees the norms and culture of your department.

  22. Give special assignments to people who show initiative.

  23. Design a "Stress Support Kit" that included aspirin, a band-aid to cover the small things, wind up toys and a stress ball - design your own.

  24. At a monthly staff meeting, award an Employee of the Month - provide everyone with the criteria for the award.

  25. Serve ice cream sundaes to all of your employees at the end of a project.

  26. Serve a team a hero party sandwich at the end of an assignment, for a job well done.

  27. Once a year, have a "Staff Appreciation Day" where the managers supply, cook and serve food to staff and a guest.

  28. Give employees an extra long lunch break.

  29. Have staff vote for top manager, supervisor, employee and rookie of the year.

  30. Name a continuing recognition award after an outstanding employee.

  31. Include an employee in a "special" meeting.

  32. Give a shiny new penny for a thought that has been shared.

  33. Send a small gift to an employee's home as a thank you.

  34. Allow employees to attend meetings in your place when you are not available.

  35. Purchase a unique pin to serve as a memento for a task well done.

  36. Create an Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) Award.

  37. Hold informal retreats to foster communication and set goals.

  38. Send a letter to your staff members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation.

  39. Start an employee recognition program. Give points for attendance, punctuality, teamwork, etc. Provide gift certificates to employees who reach certain point goals.

  40. Start a suggestion program.

  41. Recognize employee's personal needs and challenges.

  42. Give an employee a blue ribbon for achievement.

  43. Write a letter of praise recognizing specific contributions and accomplishments. Send a copy to senior management and the employee's personnel file.

  44. When you hear a positive remark about someone, repeat it to that person as soon as possible (Face-to-face is best, e-mail or voice mail are good in an pinch).

  45. Call an employee to your office to thank them (don't discuss any other issue).

  46. If you have a newsletter, publish a "kudos" column.

  47. Acknowledge individual achievements by using employee names in reports.

  48. Video tape a special event and share copies with participants.

  49. Express an interest in employee's career development goals.

  50. Post a large "celebration calendar" in your work area.

  51. Create and string a banner across the work area.

  52. Give a deserving employee a bowl of treats.

  53. Give a framed poem as a thank you.

  54. Greet employees by name.

  55. Practice positive nonverbal behaviors that demonstrate appreciation.

  56. Support "flex-friendly" schedules.

  57. Encourage employees to identify specific areas of interest in job-related skills. Then arrange for them to spend a day with an in-house "expert" to learn more about the topic.

  58. Share verbal accolades - forward positive voice mail messages.

  59. Actively listen to co-workers, especially when discussing their accomplishments and contributions.

  60. Use 3x5 index cards to write "You're special because..." statements.

  61. Have a recognition event created by a peer group that decides what they will give and why they will give it.

  62. Keep a supply of appropriately funny notes that can be given as immediate rewards. Keep the supply visible - in a basket or box in your office.

  63. When someone has spent long hours at work, send a letter of thanks to his/her home.

  64. Acknowledge and celebrate Company Anniversary Dates.

  65. Give a note reading, "Thank you. You are a ______!" Attach a roll of Lifesavers.

  66. Make a necklace of lifesavers and give it to someone "For being the lifesaver of ___________."

  67. Serve popcorn and lemonade on Friday (especially after a particularly hard week).

  68. Allow an employee to choose his/her next assignment.

  69. At an employee meeting, randomly tape gift certificates to the bottom of chairs (for the first time, choose chairs only in the front row).

  70. Recognize a team accomplishment by designating that team as consultants to other teams.

  71. Give a puzzle as an award to a problem solver.

  72. Recognize those committed to personal health and wellness.

  73. Have weekly breakfasts with groups of employees.

  74. Treat an employee to lunch.

  75. Give out gold coins (can use the chocolate coins) for a job well done.

  76. Bake a gift (cookies, bread, etc.) for an outstanding employee or team.

  77. Send birthday cards to employees' homes.

  78. Have a Treat Tuesday - different departments bring a treat on Tuesdays

  79. Use candy and other treats to help share a thank you/encouragement message including:

    • Kudos ® to You!
    • You are worth 100 Grand ®!
    • Thanks for all the laughs and Snickers ®
    • You are Out of this World! (Mars ® or Milky Way ®)
    • You Deserve a Sweet Escape ® for All You Do!
    • Thanks for the Mounds ® of Work You Do!
    • Hope your vacation is Carefree ® (Gum)
    • You are M&M!!! Marvelous and Magnificent)
    • Working Together Makes a Sweet Symphony ®!
    • Thanks for putting up with us Ding Dongs ®!
    • You are O'FISH'ally Awesome!(Gold Fish ® crackers or candy)
    • We Love You!!! XOXO (Hershey's Hugs and Kisses ®)
    • You Deserve an Extra Payday ®!
    • Thanks for always being willing to do EXTRA ®! (Gum)
    • You are a JOY! (Almond Joy ®)
    • We are NUTS about you
    • You are a "mint"
    • Snack bag of chips with note "You're all that and a bag of chips!"
    • Have a poppin' good weekend (popcorn)
    • Thanks for pudding up with us. (Snack pudding)
    • Have a Cracker Jack ® of a summer!

  80. Smile - It's contagious.

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