Here at Achievers, we spend a lot of our time evangelizing about the importance of acknowledging your team on a daily, ongoing basis. We still love annual celebrations, though, because “positive emotions …actually help us to think better.” In the spirit of pure creativity and the fine art of recognizing each other’s diverse talents, here are 25 fresh ideas for your 2019 Employee Appreciation Week:
Focus on Empowerment
1. Make everyone’s schedules flexible for the week
People will appreciate being able to get some errands accomplished, and you may decide that all the benefits mean you should make the change permanent.
2. Roll out new educational opportunities
People want to further their education, and you can roll out a new program during Employee Appreciation Week. This should include appropriate prices and tuition support.
3. Bring in a couple of temp workers for the week
Arrange for each employee or team to have a turn offloading some of their stacked-up busywork to new hands. This might even become a seasonal “catch-up” event.
4. Offer anonymous feedback opportunities
While this may not exactly qualify as “fun,” it will definitely show your team that you value their opinions, and anonymity helps boost the voices of shy employees. Be sure to listen and take action on feedback. “Employee feedback software is a need-to-have because it’s the best way for us to keep our finger on the pulse of engagement.” according to our Chief Workforce Scientist, Dr. Natalie Baumgartner
5. Arrange for an ergonomic consultation
You can show employees that their health and comfort are important to you by arranging for an ergonomic consultant to come in during Employee Appreciation Week. You’ll need a modest budget for equipment changes, but it might make a long-term impact on the employee experience.
6. Announce the beginning of a one-year wellness initiative
Employee appreciation begins with supporting health and wellness, and you can kick off the campaign by handing out discounts on a gym membership or upgrading your wellness program.
7. Offer a range of fun activities
Employees need to feel they can choose which style of fun works best for them. Group activities like a visit to a winery or a bowling night are affordable, and by emphasizing the chance to choose, you’re showing that you value diversity and their opinions.
8. Sponsor a retreat
The right retreat can help employees bond as a team and encourage everyone to share their thoughts and ideas. A recent survey found that 82 percent of employees have ideas that they feel will improve their company … but sadly, between 30 and 39 percent of employees say that nobody will listen to their ideas if they share them.
Reward Everyone’s Efforts
9. Announce future holiday events
Give your workers something to look forward to after Employee Appreciation Week: maybe a photo booth and costumes on Halloween, or a getaway trip in the fall.
10. Create a round-robin gifting circle
Who says gift-giving should be limited to a few holidays each year? Divide your team into 5 groups, and have each group select and order small gifts for another group — all on the company’s dime.
11. Set up a mini-golf tournament in your office
Yes, of course it’s a ridiculous idea. But if LinkedIn can do it, so can you! The act of setting up the course will be as much fun as the competition. People can win extra points for using office supplies creatively.
12. Take your team to a local escape room
These innovative activities only require an hour or two, and deliver loads of clever team-building efforts. You may need to arrange a few separate times, if your group is large.
13. Underwrite a family fun day
Weekend tickets to a day at the waterpark or on the ski slopes will warm parents’ hearts. Be sure to offer some alternatives: Childless workers might prefer tickets to an evening sporting event or film.
14. Bring in a caricature artist
Every employee will have a portrait to either bring home or hang in their cubicle, and even though they’re silly, it’s another way for people to stand out as individuals.
15. Divide your group into restaurant-review teams
Have each team draw the name of a new local restaurant from a hat, and then write a review afterwards for the company newsletter. You pick up the tab, of course.
16. Focus on team-building via LaserTag
Corporate events are increasingly using the fun and challenge of this activity to spice up their employee appreciation.
17. Upgrade the employee break area
How about some new seating, or a fresh paint job? Too often, the customer-facing areas of a company are beautiful and inviting, while employee areas don’t get any attention. Add some art from a local artist (maybe someone who works for you) and ditch any stale posters.
18. Do a coffee makeover
Is it time for a high-end coffee maker? Your workers will appreciate it. Include an excellent selection of varietal coffee beans and a grinder, and have some good cream and non-dairy additives available for the full experience.
19. Bring in a VR experience
Rent the headsets and buy an immersive experience to take your workers to the Grand Canyon. An instant getaway, with none of the hassles of real-life travel!
Recognize Each Employee as an Individual
20. Create an employee recognition campaign
Empower your employees to give their peers recognition. Allow employees to reward points with recognitions that can actually be exchanged for specific gifts. “82% of employed Americans don’t feel that their supervisors recognize them enough for their contributions,” according to Harvard Business Review.
21. Sponsor a mini “Maker Faire”
Your workers are talented and imaginative people. Let them show you and their peers what they’ve been up to, in this chance to share the creative paths they follow during their non-work hours.
22. Add staff photos and bios to the company website
Show the world that your employees matter: Create a new page in your company’s website to show all the people who make things happen behind the scenes. Even consider spotlighting employees in a blog post, asking them a series of fun questions to answer.
23. Send a LinkedIn recommendation
Employee Appreciation Week is the perfect time to demonstrate that you’re invested in your staff’s career futures by adding a recommendation to each person’s LinkedIn profile. Afterall, Achievers study found that 44 percent of workers who are planning to change jobs give their reason as the lack of recognition and engagement in their present workplace.
24. Announce a specialty potluck
Have an extra-long potluck lunch, and ask each worker to bring their personal favorite contribution. This can either be something they love to cook, or just their favorite store-bought treat.
25. Salute your remote workers with a virtual party
Do you have employees spread across the globe? Send each of them a coffee gift card or order them a pizza, and invite them to join your whole staff at an online group hangout.
About the Author
Diane Scheidler is a business focused Human Resources executive with significant functional experience in all areas of HR. She has worked in both early start-up and established high growth, Software and SaaS organizations supporting North American, LATAM, and European business units.
Diane is currently the Head of HR for Achievers, where she continually focuses on the employee experience, ensuring a culturally rich and engaging work environment.
Prior to Achievers, Diane has acted in a Sr. Leadership capacity to lead functionally diverse areas of Human Resources for employee populations ranging from 200 to well over 100,000 employees for Samsung Canada, Amazon Canada, Blackberry and Altana Pharma.
Diane currently holds a Master of Human Resources and Organizational Development degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor degree from the University of Western Ontario. Diane is also a Certified Compensation Professional.