CPS HR Consulting

22 Employee Appreciation Ideas: How HR Can Show Appreciation for Their Workforce

Employees love to feel appreciated when working hard for your organization. But this is something sometimes overlooked by many public sector agencies. When they do receive recognition, it’s often delayed and one on one.

However, studies have shown that recognition is one of the primary drivers of attracting and retaining top talent. Additionally, employees are three times more loyal to organizations that prioritize employee appreciation.

Another recent survey showed that 65% of employees had not received recognition for a job well done in the past year. When they don’t feel appreciated, employees will engage less or be less productive.

A workforce that feels appreciated has many benefits:

  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Lower employee turnover
  • Increased loyalty
  • Higher productivity overall
  • Decreased absenteeism and stress

HR professionals play a pivotal role in supporting managers to improve employee productivity and engagement. Since workforce appreciation fosters trust and a positive work culture, developing a robust recognition program should be a top priority.

Here are some employee appreciation tips and ideas to create a reward program for workers:

Personalized Recognition Programs

One-size-fits-all solutions are not the most effective ways to reward employees. Today, organizations should make recognition programs a cultural priority. The more value you input, the more meaningful it is. A staggering 70% of workers in a 2021 study said that recognition means much more when it’s personalized.

If you’re not customizing employee appreciation regularly, you’re missing a critical opportunity to make them feel valued for increased loyalty and hard work.

Tailoring appreciation to various workers and departments is most rewarding. Getting input from employees through surveys and focus groups can help you determine what your people want and need the most.

Examples of personalized rewards employees find most meaningful include:

  • Personalized or customized symbols
  • Gifts or merchandise
  • A paid meal out
  • Giving employees part of a day off
  • Gifts focused on experiences like a workshop or tour of something non-work related (something local that a tourist may do)
  • Create a program or forum for employee praise
  • Career growth opportunities like learning and development programs
  • A personalized gift card
  • A LinkedIn recommendation

Employee Appreciation Events

A positive work environment is everything for workers and supervisors, and that’s a vital task for HR. Implementing recognition strategies to increase happiness overall can often decrease turnover and increase productivity and profitability. Employee appreciation is necessary for a positive workplace.

Having employee appreciation events is another great way to boost morale and create a positive, inclusive atmosphere where employees feel special.

There are many event ideas for employee appreciation that everyone will enjoy, such as:

  • Bringing in a guest speaker
  • A concert
  • An adult field day at a park with a picnic lunch
  • Team parts outside of work with family
  • Hourly snacks
  • A bowling excursion
  • A team conference or retreat
  • Food truck event
  • Close the office early
  • Milestones or holiday celebrations
  • Let your employees choose a fun activity
  • Half days off
  • Go on an adventure

Flexible Work Policies

Workplaces have changed greatly over the last five years, with a huge shift in the way we work. The traditional 9 to 5 with rigid cubicles no longer works. Flexible work policies and arrangements provide more autonomy and freedom. Research shows that employees who have the option of flexible work have higher job satisfaction.

This shift means that as the office landscape evolves, so do the expectations and needs of employees. Things like remote work options, flexible schedules and even part-time schedules allow workers to adapt their work to their personal lives while still meeting organizational goals.

Implementing flexible work schedules can be challenging. The true solution lies in aligning employee and organizational goals.

Giving workers a say in the flexible work arrangements and getting the job done is the best way to approach these policies. Essentially, the organization provides the scaffolding – the equipment, flexible options, support and the teams. HR and employees decide how to work within those boundaries.

Organizations can retain a diverse and happy workforce. Employees reap the benefits of a flexible schedule, like avoiding health problems and burnout.

Professional Development Opportunities

Professional development opportunities are another great way to show employee appreciation. Whether it’s an in-person conference, online training or something else, investing in their personal and career growth makes them feel valued.

Reimbursement for continuing education like college, is another great way to incentivize and reward employees.

HR plays a critical role in fostering a culture and atmosphere that values continuous learning. They can use AI and data analytics to understand worker learning preferences, career goals and past performance to tailor learning paths for employees.

HR can also match mentors and mentees by assessing experience, personality traits and skills to match people with lasting mentorships. The same goes for upskilling. HR has the tools to evaluate workforce planning and conduct skill assessments for personalized upskilling opportunities.

Employee Wellness Initiatives

Employee wellness includes home, social, emotional and work life. This is a holistic way to view employee health. Work wellness programs are another example of personalized rewards that work well versus cookie-cutter solutions. It’s possible to customize a wellness program depending on your definition of employee wellness in the context of each workplace.

Workers who feel the agency prioritizes their mental and physical health often have higher job satisfaction, which reduces turnover over time. One way to do this is to allow employees one hour to work out on the clock. Another is to give them access to mental health resources or something similar, as long as they are things workers want and need.

HR can work with managers and departments within the organization to develop wellness programs that prioritize employees’ mental and physical well-being. HR can reinforce wellness initiatives by adding health and wellness-related goals to evaluations. Then, you can reward people for participating in them.

Key Takeaway

Employee recognition programs help show workers they’re appreciated and valued. The key is for HR to work with the various departments and supervisors to develop a personalized reward program that goes beyond yearly evaluations.

As shown, there are plenty of smart ways to reward employees. All are great ways to boost employee productivity and engagement and reduce stress, burnout and turnover. It’s worth investing time into developing a unique reward program that benefits everyone and helps achieve organizational goals.