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November 4, 2018
"The Basics" of Employee Appreciation & Recognition

Showing appreciation and recognition doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, the most impactful acts of appreciation and recognition are often simple and free!


Showing appreciation is really about being humbled by an individual’s contribution to your business.

Before investing in a formal and structured recognition program make sure you haven’t overlooked “the basics”. Without the basics, the costly endeavours do not have a lasting impact. (It’s like having the glaze, but no donut)!

Incorporate 1 or 2 of these into your management toolbelt each month and see the difference it makes in those around you.

Effective Ways to Show Employee Recognition and Appreciation: "The Basics"

  1. Express your gratitude on your company’s social media platforms.
  2. Offer a platform by having them share their tips and stories with others. This will provide validation of their efforts and boost their confidence.
  3. Encourage their feedback. Have a problem or situation you are working through? Bring them into the know and ask their opinion on solutions.
  4. Record your appreciation in a newsletter that goes out to clients or customers.
  5. Regularly tell your employees that you appreciate them - in meetings, in the halls, at the end of the week. Telling groups of employees that you appreciate them has value. Telling individual employees you appreciate them goes even further.
  6. Ask them about their interests. Be knowledgeable about their family, hobbies, or weekend. Your interest in their life helps them feel cared about beyond what they do for you in their work day. Following up conversations with “How is your daughter feeling today?” after an employee has to leave early because of a child’s illness lets them know they are cared about.
  7. Involve them in company decisions and outreach efforts. Employees who feel like their opinions are valued are going to have greater buy-in to an organization's success.
  8. If a customer or worker’s colleague praises a worker, be vocal about it. Spread the word and let that worker know of the appreciation.
  9. Celebrate small accomplishments in meetings, by email, and in person.
  10. Recognize when people participate in continuing education. It benefits the company and encourages the action!
  11. Rather than calling someone or emailing them, call them into your office to thank them. The personal gesture will be a pleasant surprise.


Add on to the basics of recognition with tokens of gratitude:


Adding affordable items with a personalized and genuine note of gratitude will say to your people that you are thinking of them.

  1. Take an employee out to lunch “just because”.
  2. Provide a token of appreciation. Some ideas include:
    1. tickets to a movie, sporting event, theatre, or family attraction.
    2. Unscratched lottery tickets
    3. Gift card to Starbucks or Amazon
  3. Turn up the ‘cheese’! Include an employee appreciation message to items such as:
    1. “You’re a lifesaver!” (Lifesavers)
    2. “You deserve a break!” (Kit Kat bar)
    3. “Thanks for going the EXTRA mile!” (Extra gum)
    4. “Hands down. You’re the best!” (soap or hand lotion)
    5. “You’re the balm!” (lip balm)
    6. “I donut know what I’d do without you!” (Donuts)
    7. “Thank you for helping me out in a CRUNCH!” (Crunch bar)
    8. “My boss thinks I’m a big deal!” (coffee mugs)

Once “the basics” are in effect, these more costly items will have a far-reaching, more resonating effect.

  1. Give employees extra time off. Time is our most valuable resource. An unexpected gift of time has incredible value.
  2. Provide paid volunteers days to allow them to make positive societal impacts through work tied to important causes that they feel strongly about.
  3. Tokens of appreciation such as voucher for house or vehicle cleaning services
  4. Team building activities
  5. Provide opportunity for training, cross-training or sitting on special committees where their talents will be noticed and used.
  6. Allow everyone to leave early the day before a holiday weekend. It’s a simple way to make their week better!
  7. Have them attend professional association meetings and represent your organization at civic and philanthropic events.

Leave a note and tell us how “the basics” changed your workplace culture!


***The content on this website is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. We attempt to ensure that the Content is current but we do not guarantee its currency. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the Content.

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