Friday, March 7 is National Employee Appreciation Day. I know, I know it sounds like one of those hallmark holidays, and that may very well be where it started, but the fact of the matter is your employees make your organization and you should be taking advantage of every opportunity to show them that you care and appreciate what they do for your organization.

Recognizing employee efforts is one of the critical components of strong cultures of employee engagement, so take the opportunity and let them know you care and appreciate them.

15 Things You Can Do To Show Appreciation

1. Breakfast

Surprise employees by providing a continental breakfast in the break-room. This can start the day off in a positive way and provide an opportunity for employees to engage and interact with each other.

2. Cater in Lunch

Have lunch brought in and gather all employees for a meal together and thank them for their efforts. Add a game with prizes and you’ll surely have a hit for the day!

3. Mail Box

Put a little something in each employee’s mailbox. A chocolate bar or someone’s favorite candy can send a positive message and make employees feel special.



4. Handwritten Note

Hand write notes to all employees thanking them for their service. If there are hundreds or even thousands of employees ask line managers to write a special note to each of their direct reports.

5. Bring on the Games

Take an hour out of the afternoon and host a game event.  A Wii tournament is something most employees would enjoy participating in. Make it a competition and award prizes for the winners.  Anything that gets them up, moving and laughing will be a win-win!

6. Customer Testimony

Find an appreciative customer and have them stop by to thank employees for the products or services they provide. Nothing sends a more positive message than hearing directly from those we serve.

7. Compressed Work Day

Notify employees of a compressed work day. Allow them to come in late or leave early with pay to make them feel special and valued.

8. Pot Luck Meal

Ask the cooks in the group to participate in a pot luck lunch. Ask anyone who enjoys showing off their culinary skills (caution not everyone likes to cook!) to share with the rest of the employees. People who like to cook enjoy blessing others with their creations! Offer to pay for ingredients to offset their costs.

9. Group Photo

Bring in your camera and take photos of employees with their work group and manager. Email digital copies to everyone or have the photos printed and framed for everyone’s desk or work area.

10. Small Gift

Surprise employees with a token gift on their desk or workstation. There are many things that can show employee appreciation without breaking the bank. Try a gift card to the local coffee shop, restaurant or even movie tickets.

11. Visit Work Areas

Employees are proud of their work so take some time to stop at employee workstations and thank them for what they do. It is also a great opportunity to ask them how you can help make their jobs easier. You’ll be surprised at what you learn if you just ask the question.


Click for 25 Employee Reward Ideas

12. Bring A Pet to Work

Let employees bring their (manageable) pets to work. A small dog, kitten or pet rabbit may lighten the mood for the day. Schedule a time when employees can share their pets with each other. Work in some expectations (like kenneling during busy hours).


13. Bring the Family

Include the family in office activities. Invite family members to come in for a late afternoon reception with food and activities. This makes them feel part of their family members work life.

14.  Free Lesson

Find out what employees like to do and have an artist come in and give a painting class, a golf instructor to give golf lessons or a dance instructor to show how to do the gangnam style dance!

15. Group Class

Have a cooking instructor come on site to do a hands-on cooking class. Get everyone involved and watch their creative juices flow!


The goal of acknowledging employee appreciation day is to demonstrate gratitude for what employees contribute to the organization. Be creative and surprise them to add a bit of excitement to the day.  You don’t need to spend a lot of money, just a bit of creativity, thought and planning will go a long way. our employees will appreciate you acknowledging them and what they do!

Do you have plans for your employees on national employee appreciation day?

This article is by Patricia Lotich from

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