7 Unique Ideas for Employee Appreciation


Top-notch employees deserve top-notch perks. A key difference between a top ranked company and mediocre one, is the culture. Elite organizations take a holistic approach to effectively encourage team members to perform at high levels. Here are some employee appreciation ideas that go beyond the gift cards and certificates.

1. Mobile Salon and Barbershop


Having onsite hair stylists, barbers, nail techs and even makeup artists on campus or inside business offices is the newest trend among top employers. A mobile salon and mobile barbershop pairs well with in-office massages. While not everyone is comfortable with the touch of a massage therapist, receiving a haircut and getting it styled is a highly desired, convenient employee perk, for the time strapped professional. In addition, if you choose a mobile salon and barbershop to partner with, this employee perk can also fits nicely under inclusion and diversity, if the selected vendor places an emphasis on catering to both men and women of all hair and skin types.  Show appreciation to top performers by giving them a complimentary service or paying a stipend so that the employee receives a discount on services.

Employee centric companies like Google, Facebook and Havas, have turned conference rooms into salon and barbershop spaces. Other companies designate outdoor parking areas for beauty salons and barbershops on wheels. This service is not just beneficial for team members, but employers have found it aids in attracting and retaining top talent, as well as, increasing engagement and productivity. When team members look good, they feel great, and perform better.

2. Nap Pods


More and more well-known, highly admired, entrepreneurs are speaking up against the idea of getting anything less than 8 hours of sleep.  The notion that being successful requires skipping out on a good night’s sleep is a thing of the past. Sleep deprivation has proven to be a serious problem for working professionals. Some team members have been caught falling asleep at their desk, and others are simply not performing at their full potential. In addition, mental fatigue and exhaustion can also lead to health issues such as, risk for diabetes, weakened immunity, memory issues, accidents and weight gain. As HR professionals think of preventative products to incorporate into their well-being programs, Nap Pods are an enticing option.

Power naps during the day can help get those creative juices flowing by reducing “brain fog” and irritability.  It’s likely that after a rejuvenating nap, an employee is eager to resume work with more focus.  Nap Pods are sleep stations designed for employees to lay comfortably in a quiet room to get 45 to 60 minutes of sleep. Rather than team members loading up on coffee throughout the day, encourage power naps, which are a much healthier, and more beneficial option.

3. Overt Recognition


Certificates, medals, trophies and shoutouts are a thing of the past. Take recognition a step further, so employees, executive leadership, and customers can’t help but take note how much your company appreciates its employees.  Here are a few bold ways you can recognize team members:

  1. Name a conference room after a deserving team member
  2. Hang a framed picture, painting or caricature of an employee near the office entrance once they’ve hit a significant milestone (i.e. 15 years with the company)
  3. Recognize a stellar team member monthly, and feature them on the company website
  4. Name a product, system process, or large project after an employee

4. Free Meals And Snacks


Companies like Asana, Sprout Social and Robinhood offer free lunch to their employees.  If your company isn’t able to provide such a generous benefit, an alternative solution is providing complimentary meals and access to free snacks, to show appreciation to an individual or small group.

As they say, a way to one’s heart is food.  Besides, eating cafeteria lunches or dining out everyday, can get costly. Create vouchers that can be earned by team members for doing good work.  These vouchers can be used in the cafeteria, or to get snacks from the vending machines.  They can also be used to order food delivery for themselves.  If you want to take it up a notch, allow them to get lunch for their regular lunch crew, team or department.

5. After Work Happy Hour


Make your employee look like a hero in the eyes of their team members.  Host an onsite happy hour in their honor.  Happy hours are a great option, because you may find that modest employees don’t want a huge picture of themselves at the lobby doors, or a feature on the company website.  In this case, a great alternative to individual attention and recognition is celebrating top achievers together, and letting their team members take part in the celebration.

A group celebration gives peers the opportunity to express congratulations and thanks for their hard work and dedication.  It will encourage others to exceed expectations and earn a happy hour for their team as well.  This is a great way for the company to also create a platform for cross-functional engagement.

6. Personal Development Reward


Pay for an online class or leadership training of their choice. Employees find great satisfaction in learning new skills and concepts while on the job.  Even if the online class is not directly related to their current role, you may find that their level of engagement increases, because they appreciate the company’s willingness to support subjects that interest them.

Paying for your employee’s development shows that you’re willing to invest in them and that sentiment goes a long way. Online course platforms like Teachable, Harvard Business Review and Coursera are popular, and offer a broad range of e-learning classes.

7. Celebrate Employee Appreciation Monthly


Employee Appreciation Day doesn’t have to be once a year. When you make the day an event celebrated monthly, your company is encouraging team members to consistently work hard to gain recognition each month. This will increase the number of people that receive recognition.  An increased number of employees being praised for a job well done, will certainly help boost team morale.

Plan for twelve different appreciation tactics, one for each month.  Use the 7 from our list, include a day off, and use traditional ideas like gift cards, money, anniversary shout outs, and group outings.

Creating a healthy, happy workforce where employees feel appreciated and valued is a simple way to inspire high effort, increase productivity and achieve results.