7 Thoughtful Reward Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

  • author

    BHN Rewards

  • posted

    Feb 28, 2023

  • topic

    Employee Rewards

7 Thoughtful Reward Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

Did you know that the first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day? Workman Publishing launched the holiday back in 1995, and it’s finally gaining steam as companies look for opportunities to improve retention.

Research shows that acknowledgement drives employee engagement, encourages high performance, and retains top talent. It’s clear that telling your employees you value their contributions is more important than ever.

Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect time to expand your efforts, either by incorporating the event into your employee recognition program — or making a company-wide announcement that you’re officially starting one.

To make celebrating your employees effortless on this day — and every day — we’ve rounded up seven special reward ideas.

1. Wellness Perks

With burnout on the rise, consider adding or expanding programs that support employees’ physical and emotional wellness, such as:

  • Paid gym memberships
  • Pet-related PTO or pet insurance
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Free massages (onsite or via gift cards)
  • Vacation Bucks in the form of Visa or Mastercard virtual prepaid cards or airline or hotel gift cards

READ MORE: Improve Retention With These Ideas for Rewarding Remote Employees

2. Social Media Shoutouts

Employee Appreciation Day is ideal for recognizing your employees on your brand’s social media channels. Post a group photograph and thank them for making your business a success.

Then, be sure to keep up your momentum by posting praise for individual employees on an ongoing basis.

Not sure what to say? Keep it simple and be specific: “Naomi’s attention to detail and ideas for improving outcomes keep all of us here at [name of company] on track. Thanks for all that you do!”

3. Employee Tribute Video

Surprise your employees with a video showcasing the many things they do behind the scenes to keep your business humming along. Try to feature as many employees as you can, not just the top brass. Be sure to get footage of remote employees, too. (Ask them to send in short video clips of themselves in their home office for a bogus project so you keep the video a surprise.)

Unveil the video at a company-wide meeting and let employees choose one of these fun reward ideas. Mention that because their individuality is key to your success, they can choose the gift they prefer:

  • A streaming subscription from Hulu, Showtime, or Sling.
  • Coffee Cash to use at Caribou, Dunkin, or Starbucks.
  • A flexible Treat Yourself reward that can be redeemed at Athleta, Cheesecake Factory, Macy’s, and a variety of other retailers

4. Surprise Day Off

Because Employee Appreciation Day always falls on a Friday, this is one of those reward ideas that’s easy to pull off.

Make a company-wide announcement that employees can have the day off for the holiday. If you need to have a skeleton crew staff that day, let the ones who volunteer to keep the office open choose their own day off later in the year. Consider adding Employee Appreciation Day as a floating holiday that employees can always take as an extra day off.

5. Free Lunch Fridays

Giving your employees free lunch on Employee Appreciation Day is expected. Kick things up a notch by announcing that in addition to the catered lunch you provided for your team today, you’re also giving everyone well-loaded digital reward cards for DoorDash or GrubHub so they can treat themselves to lunch every Friday in March.

6. Cold, Hard Cash

As the expression goes, cash always fits. But instead of simply dropping extra money into their paychecks — which they may not even notice! — you’ll make a far greater impact with cash equivalent reward ideas like a Visa or Mastercard digital prepaid card. You can also offer an e-donation option to benefit a charity of their choice.

7. Company Outing

Whether you decide on taking your team to try an escape room, watch a sporting event, or go on a scavenger hunt, be sure to include your remote team members. Flying them in for the event ensures they feel part of the team.

Wrap up the special day with one of these relaxing gift card reward ideas they can use to treat themselves on the weekend:

  • Pampering with Bath & Body Works, Spafinder, or Yankee Candle.
  • Dinner out at Legal Sea Foods, Outback Steakhouse, or Red Robin.
  • Fun and games at the Sony Playstation Store, Topgolf, or Xbox.

Showing appreciation for your team and creating a positive workplace culture has never been more important. Learn more by downloading the 6 Employee Rewards Trends to Watch infographic.

about the author
BHN Rewards

BHN Rewards puts the power of digital rewards to work for marketers, researchers, and HR managers. Don't forget to check out all the great content in our Resources section!

BHN Rewards puts the power of digital rewards to work for marketers, researchers, and HR managers. Don't forget to check out all the great content in our Resources section!