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Low- to No-Cost Ways to Show Your Employees How Much You Appreciate Them

November is the month of thanks, and showing your appreciation to your employees is a great thing to focus on at this time of year. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s often easy to overlook employee appreciation.

Showing your appreciation to your employees doesn’t have to be an expensive or extravagant gesture; there are simple yet genuine ways to communicate appreciation and thanks.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite low- and no-cost ways to show employees how much you appreciate them:

Flexible Lunch or Coffee Breaks| Allow employees to take a longer lunch break or add in an extra coffee break with a co-worker. To take it a step further, provide on-site employees with coffee from a local coffee shop or a treat to add to their lunch. If your employees are remote, you could send each employee a small gift card to buy them a coffee or lunch.

Wall of Recognition| Create a space– either a digital board or physical wall in the office– where employees can post notes of appreciation and high fives to each other. This is a great way to recognize small achievements.

Certificates or Awards| Hand out awards or certificates to employees for a job well done. This could be an annual practice at a team meeting or something you do throughout the year when accomplishments are made.

Team Building Activities| Scheduling fun team building activities is a great way to show employees that you’re invested in their team dynamic and support their team growth. Check out our variety of team building ideas for any season.

Celebrations| Including employee appreciation days (or even an employee appreciation week) is a great way to show employees that you’re grateful for all they do. Consider the celebratory activities your employees would like best, and work toward incorporating those into your celebration.

Wellness Initiatives| Appreciating employees' well-being is important, and a great way to show that you care is to provide wellness initiatives that employees will access. Free yoga classes, contributions toward gym memberships, and providing healthy snacks are just some of the ways employers can let employees know that they care about their well-being.

Employee of the Month| Recognizing employees via a formal employee of the month program is a great way to show appreciation. To take it a step further, provide the employee of the month with a menu of perks or rewards they can choose from as part of their recognition.


Flexible Scheduling| Giving employees the opportunity to flex their schedule can be a very simple way to show your employees that you appreciate them and want them to be happy in their role at your organization. Flexibility allows employees to obtain a better work-life balance and it shows them that you trust them as professionals.

Notes of Appreciation| A note of appreciation and recognition goes a long way, especially when the note is handwritten. Try writing out a card for an employee to acknowledge an accomplishment or tell them how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication to their team or a project. Not a handwritten note type of person? That’s okay– an email of appreciation can be just as effective as long as it’s personal and genuine.

Casual Dress Days| Offer employees a day to wear their more casual and comfortable clothes to work as a thank you for all they do. This small gesture is just one more way to show employees that you appreciate them and want them to be happy at your organization.

Public or Private Acknowledgement| Simply paying attention and noting an employee’s hard work or accomplishment will go a long way. Acknowledging employees can be done in a private, one-on-one setting or could be more public at a team meeting or in an organization-wide email. The key is knowing which method of acknowledgement the employee would appreciate most.

One-on-One Appreciation Meetings| Whether regularly scheduled or added to the calendar as needed, holding one-on-ones with employees to communicate your appreciation for all they do is an effective way for employees to understand just how much they are valued as a team member in your organization.

Acknowledgement of Milestones| Recognizing employees’ birthdays, work anniversaries, and other important dates is a great way to show employees that you pay attention and know more about them than just their performance metrics.


When selecting which methods of appreciation to use, the most important thing to remember is that you want to choose actions that will be meaningful to your employees. However, determining which gestures would be most appreciated and impactful with your employees can be difficult for some employers. After all, each person’s preferences for acknowledgement and appreciation are different. So how do you know which gesture of thanks will be best with which employees? 

Try conducting quick stay interviews. Not only does this give employees an opportunity to explicitly share their preferences for appreciation, but it will also provide you with other insightful information about what employees are most happy with in their role, what improvements or changes could be made to make employees even happier, and what reasons employees might have (if any) for wanting to seek employment elsewhere.

Check out our Stay Interview Toolkit to immediately jump in and conduct stay interviews within your organization. Not interested in conducting stay interviews yourself? That’s okay– we’re here to help! Reach out today to learn more about how we can support your organization with implementing stay interviews.


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