HR in the Field Blog

Employee Appreciation Isn't Done in a Day

Written by Amy Ryan

While March 1 is National Employee Appreciation Day, appreciating employees is something that should occur much more often.


After all, employee appreciation isn't just about handing out awards at the end of the year or sending thank-you emails. It's about creating a workplace where people feel valued, motivated, and genuinely happy to come to work. Above all, it is important to be genuine and make it meaningful to the employee.


5 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation


1. Recognition and Praise

This is what most of us think of when it comes to employee appreciation. The thing to remember with this one is to ask your employees HOW they like to receive recognition.


As a young manager, I provided praise for a job well done at an all-staff meeting, thinking that I was doing a good thing. Turns out the person I was recognizing doesn’t like being in the spotlight and was mortified at the attention she received! To avoid this mis-step, ask first.


2. Professional Development Opportunities

Who says learning can't be fun? Investing in your employees' professional growth not only benefits them but also your organization in the long run.


Offer opportunities for training, workshops, conferences, or tuition reimbursement programs. Or get creative with mentoring and job shadowing to fit different learning styles.


3. Meaningful Gifts and Rewards

While monetary bonuses are typically appreciated, thoughtful gifts or rewards tailored to individual interests can have a more profound impact. Consider giving personalized gifts or experiences that show you've taken the time to understand and appreciate each employee's unique contributions.


And if you aren’t sure what’s meaningful to them? ASK.


4. Empowerment and Autonomy

I’ve never met anyone who likes having a micromanager. Instead, employees want to feel empowered to control their work.


Nothing makes me feel more engaged in my work than knowing I’m trusted and have the freedom to make decisions regarding own my work. My boss best empowers me by delegating meaningful tasks and projects and provide guidance and support when needed. It’s a good thing for her, and for me.


5. Celebrate Personal Milestones

Birthdays, work anniversaries, pet adoptions – you name it, celebrate it! Small gestures like a personalized card or a simple celebration can make your team feel valued as individuals.


I'll never forget the time my coworkers surprised me with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" accompanied by a kazoo orchestra – truly a moment for the ages.



Employee appreciation doesn't have to be stuffy or formal, nor is it simply a once-a-year event tied to performance management. It's an ongoing practice to be ingrained in the fabric of your organization.


So go ahead, let your appreciation flag fly high and watch as your team flourishes in the glow of your gratitude.


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