10 Employee-Appreciation Event Ideas

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10 Employee-Appreciation Event Ideas

You know that old adage about getting more flies with honey? Well, it's true. Appreciate your employees and treat them well, and you will reap the rewards. However, it's often difficult to decide how to convey your appreciation. If you're searching for ways to celebrate and recognize your employees for their hard work, here are 10 employee-appreciation event ideas that you may want to consider.

Annual Events

Holiday Party

One of the biggest traditions for many years, the company holiday party has begun to wan in the light of our current economic times. However, while this may prevent your company from sponsoring a gala event at the local hotel ballroom, there are still inexpensive ways to celebrate the holidays with your employees and thank them for their contributions.

For instance, smaller organizations and individual departments may want to gather at the home of a coworker to celebrate the season. Or, maybe an employee potluck lunch at the office is a better option. Even something as simple as a catered or potluck lunch in the conference room can make employees feel appreciated.

Holiday Gift Exchange

If the company can't afford to pony up the cost of a big holiday affair, consider having a gift exchange. Depending on the number of employees involved, there are a several ways to do this.

If it's for a smaller organization or just a department, you can gather for lunch in the conference room and have everyone bring a wrapped gift worth $20 or less. Everyone draws a number, and the person who selects "1" gets to choose their gift first. After the first gift is open, the person who draws "2" can either take that gift or open a new gift. This goes on until all gifts are opened. Also, opened gifts can only be taken twice - the third person is the final owner.

Another holiday gift-exchange idea is to have everyone place their name and three gift ideas (such as gift cards for a favorite store) into a bowl. Names are drawn, and gifts are exchanged secretly at a holiday gathering.

Company Picnic

Whether or not you decide to observe the holidays in December, consider celebrating summer by throwing a company picnic. There are a couple of ways to handle this event.

You can set aside one day at a location where everyone can bring their families, enjoy food and activities, and relax away from the office. Or, if the cost and logistics associated with this type of event are too much to handle, consider hosting a barbecue in the company parking lot during regular work hours.

Take Your Dog to Work Day

More and more, organizations are recognizing the benefit of "man's best friend" to the mental and emotional health of employees by allowing their workers to bring their dogs to work. Some do it daily; others do it at the annual event that occurs each June, Take Your Dog to Work Day.

This special day allows employees to bring their canine companions to work while also promoting the adoption of dogs from humane societies, animal shelters, and breed rescue clubs. If your organization decides to incorporate TYDW Day into its arsenal of employee appreciation tricks, just be sure to follow proper pooch pettiquette.

Staff-Appreciation Day

Generally an annual event, the staff-appreciation day may include hosting a pancake breakfast where managers cook for their subordinates or administering a luncheon in the company cafeteria or local restaurant. It's just a matter of deciding what your company wants to do. 

Monthly Events

Employee of the Month

All right, it's old school. But, it's effective nonetheless. While it does require organizations to establish criteria and procedures, the idea is to recognize an employee who goes above and beyond the norm and exemplifies the characteristics that all employees should strive to emulate.

Monthly Brown-Bag Luncheon

This is a cost-effective way to bring employees together and teach them something new. The monthly brown-bag lunch only requires you to supply a speaker and a location. Employees bring their own lunches as they sit and listen to the monthly topic, which can be specific to the organization - industry updates, new product announcements - or of general interest, such as finding good child care.

Monthly Birthday Party

No matter how old we get, it feels nice when people remember our birthdays. And what better way to show employees how much they are appreciated than to share ice cream and cake once a month in honor of all the employees who were born during that month.

Quarterly and Other Events

Quarterly Value Awards

Company vision, values and mission programs are an important part of the organization's culture. If you want to get employees on board with these programs, then consider recognizing them for exemplifying your company values.

Develop your corporate values - such as teambuilding, honesty, commitment, and responsibility - and define behaviors that embody them. When employees see coworkers displaying one or more of these values, they can submit the person's name, along with an explanation of what they did, to a committee who then selects an employee to receive the quarterly award.

Teambuilding Event

Periodically letting employees out of their usual 8 a.m.-to-5 p.m. environment to share a teambuilding event with their coworkers is a great way to reward them for their hard work. Using a nearby park where employees can spread their wings and participate in teambuilding exercises, games and general camaraderie will go a long way to convey your appreciation.

If you have any other innovative employee-appreciation ideas, we'd love to hear from you.

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