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Giving Thanks to Your Team: An Employee Appreciation Guide

A company is a lot like a beehive. It takes many different ‘worker bees’ to make the whole process run smoothly. Producing goods and services is no small feat and it’s important to recognize each and every one of your team members for their role in helping you run your business. With all the hard work that your employees do, they deserve something as sweet as honey as a reward. But how do you know what is included in employee appreciation and what instances warrant acknowledgement? Keep reading as we review what exactly employee appreciation is, why it’s important and when it is needed. 

What is employee appreciation? 

Employee appreciation is often defined as the act of employers or organizations recognizing and rewarding their employees for their valued contributions. This approach doesn't just focus on their performance but also celebrates their worth as a member of the team. 

Why is employee appreciation important? 

As well as boosting motivation, employee appreciation has countless benefits for your business. By appreciating your employees, you can help them feel valued, happy, and satisfied at your company. This can positively impact you in the various ways: 

1) Recruiting 

Recognition and appreciation programs can help you recruit top talent. With a strong employee satisfaction and experience system in place, employees are more likely to promote and talk positively about your company. 

2) Retention

Employee appreciation can improve retention rates and low turnover. Employees who feel valued by their manager are more likely to stay at a company longer.

3) Productivity 

Employees who feel a sense of belonging at their company are more likely to have a higher level of job performance. According to a report from Oxford University, happier workers are 13% more productive at work.


What are the different types of employee appreciation? 

Employee appreciation can take many forms, from a simple immediate reward to a planned-out system. Luckily, employee appreciation can be broadly divided into three categories:

1)  Micro Appreciation 

This type is also known as ‘day-to-day’ appreciation and is frequent and ongoing. It is usually simple – for example thank you cards or putting positive notes on a bulletin board. To learn more about some of the best employee appreciation messages to send to your team members, stay tuned for our later blog post. 

2) Informal Appreciation 

This type of appreciation is used when individuals or teams reach milestones or complete a big project. Think of this kind of appreciation as an occasional gift that you give to your employees on special occasions. For example, a pizza party or potluck. 

3) Formal Appreciation 

This form of appreciation requires a more structured and thought-out approach. Formal appreciation can also include a selection process and nomination. Examples of this form of appreciation are an awards ceremony or special event. 

In what instances do you use employee appreciation? 

It is not only important to appreciate employees correctly, but also to appreciate them for the correct things. Here are a few examples of instances where you may want to show employee appreciation: 

#1: Appreciate employees for tasks you’d like to see them do more often.

Remember that what gets appreciated, gets repeated. When an employee does something you want them to keep doing, acknowledge it. The positive feedback can help encourage the actions you want to see repeated. 

#2: Appreciate employees who help your company achieve its goals. 

Appreciating employees whose work aligns with your organization's goals, mission, and vision is important. As we mentioned earlier, no business meets its milestones without the hard work of their team. Acknowledging these achievements is crucial and allows your employees to see that you are noticing their efforts and are celebrating them.

#3: Appreciate what others are noticing about your employees. 

It’s quite possible that even though you work with your team members every day, you may not be exposed to certain qualities that make them special. But your customers, vendors and managers definitely do and may give you insights on the great work of your employees. Telling employees that their teammates have noticed their hard work can help boost morale and help your employees feel that they are valued by those around them.

No matter what kind of appreciation you choose, the most important part is to make sure you put meaning and thought into how you reward your team. Your employees will appreciate the effort you put into acknowledging and valuing their input to the company.

But it can be hard to determine which forms of employee appreciation best suit your company’s specific workforce. If you are struggling with how to properly show your employees the appreciation that they deserve, there are professionals available that can help you brainstorm ideas. Here at STEPS, we offer small business support services and would be happy to work with you to develop a strong employee appreciation system that can give the ‘thank you’ to your team that they deserve. Learn more on our services page or reach out to us on our contact page!

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