10 Unique Ways to Express Thanks and Appreciation to Employees

What is one way to express thanks and appreciation to employees? 

To help you share in the spirit of gratitude, we asked business professionals and leaders this question for their insights. From giving unexpected appreciation to sending handwritten notes, there are several impactful ways to express gratitude to your employees.

Here are 10 unique ways to express thanks and appreciation to employees:

  • Provide Ways for Peers to Recognize Each Other
  • Host a Company Happy Hour
  • Give Unexpected Appreciation
  • Express Gratitude Through Bonuses
  • Show Appreciation With Additional PTO
  • Praise Them Quickly
  • Send Out Handwritten Notes
  • Say “Thank You” With Gift Cards
  • Welcome New Employees From the Start
  • Create “Thank You” Video Messages



Provide Ways for Peers to Recognize Each Other

We incorporated a peer-to-peer recognition program where employees received a budget of $100 per quarter to spend on a gift for one of their colleagues that positively impacted them. We decided to give each employee their own budget as we wanted them to choose for themselves. 

HR and team managers don’t always see how employees collaborate with each other. Through this program, we saw how someone who often flies under the radar was actually a great asset amongst their teammates.

Managers don’t hesitate to point out when an employee is not doing well, so we should also jump at the opportunity to recognize our employees’ successes. Recognition from our peers is equally important. HR should create an environment where our employees know their hard work and achievements are seen and valued by both their managers and teammates.

Jessica Ulloa, MyPerfectResume


Host a Company Happy Hour

One way to express gratitude and thanks to your employees is to throw a happy hour to celebrate your success thus far and show appreciation for your employees. When we have thrown events like this, employees have been very appreciative of the gesture and it has done a lot to improve the company culture of the company. 

Getting people together to talk about things outside of work has proven very beneficial for the health of our employees and helps us retain our talent long term.

Darren Litt, MarketerHire


Give Unexpected Appreciation

If you have noticed that someone is going above and beyond, or spending a lot of time on a project and it turns out great, or even is just bringing great energy to your meetings, show them appreciation.

Unexpected appreciation can be amazing because the employee doesn’t see it coming, but it creates this euphoria and buzz within the company. Here at Markitors, we have Appreciation Grams that can be sent at any moment and Shout Outs in our morning meeting (typically once a week). 

McKenzie Nelson, Markitors


Express Gratitude Through Bonuses

One way to express thanks and appreciation to employees is to provide bonuses to your employees. Your teams usually want more than a thank you card or a gift card to Starbucks. 

Provide teams with bonuses based on their performance over the year and the profits they brought to the company. That should be your base of appreciation and gratitude.

Katie Keirnan, NUE.life


Show Appreciation With Additional PTO

When it comes to rewarding employees or appreciating them for their hard work, you need to offer them something that they truly care about. For some, this could be time off. For others, it could be a personalized gift. 

Since most of our employees value time-off and flexibility, it only made sense to proceed with this approach. The impact of this was quite noticeable since our employees were a lot happier. It even incentivized them to work harder.

Philipp Zeiske, Zeitholz


Praise Them Quickly

To thank employees, employers need to praise them and recognize their hard work as soon as possible. If people don’t receive appreciation or hear from the boss afterward, they might forget what was done well! Do everything you can (and say) that will make your company proud.

Saskia Ketz, Mojomox


Send Out Handwritten Notes

Recently I sent my team members a handwritten note and a merit badge-style patch. In the note, I touched on recent contributions they’ve made and expressed my gratitude for their hard work. 

The merit badge was an image of our team mascot, a coyote. The team messaged me after thanking me for this little gesture, which didn’t cost much out of my pocket, but I feel that it made a big impact because it was personalized.

Tamara Scott, TechnologyAdvice


Say “Thank You” With Gift Cards 

For our team, employees are unsurprisingly heavily motivated by financial rewards, so I suggest you include that in your budget. Remember that well-paid employees stay longer, reducing the costs associated with high turnover. 

End-of-the-year bonuses, attendance bonuses, quarterly bonuses, and gift certificates say “thank you” quite nicely. Gift cards are also appreciated by most of our employees. It’s pretty easy and relatively cheap to give out store gift cards as a way to show recognition for your employees’ hard work. 

Showing appreciation boosts productivity. Appreciated employees feel invested in the success of a company and will make a more calculated effort.

Alexander Shute, FaithGiant


Welcome New Employees From the Start

When we hire someone, we make sure that they feel welcomed right from the start. Each new employee receives a welcome package with a Lovebox and goodies. 

We also organize a welcome game so they can meet the whole team in a casual setting. This has proven to be an excellent way to get everyone off on the right foot. 

We’re a tight-knit team at Lovebox, so we like to get to know our employees both professionally and personally. By showing our appreciation as soon as our teammates are hired, we’re creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.

Jean Gregoire, Lovebox


Create “Thank You” Video Messages

One very cool thing I do for employees to show appreciation after a team member has gone the extra mile or done something exceptional is to send them a video message from a celebrity through the Cameo app. This app allows you to engage a (usually minor) celebrity to send someone a quick video message, usually just 20 to 30 seconds long. 

I do this frequently when an employee has done something special, and I want to show my gratitude. I’ll dig around for one of their favorite celebrities, pay a nominal fee to the star, and they’ll send a quick video message to that team member. 

Employees absolutely love these videos, and they usually end up getting passed around on Slack. It’s a small gesture, but employees really seem to dig it, and it helps to build company loyalty.

John Ross, Test Prep Insight


Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published. 

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