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10 Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Employees

By Gerald Walsh ©

Many managers understand the worth in showing appreciation to their employees, yet struggle with how to implement an employee recognition process.

Why wait to establish a formal recognition program when there are so many informal ways in which you can achieve the same goal? Informal and unexpected acts of recognition are also often more meaningful.

Here are ten informal and inexpensive ways to recognize your employees:

1. Write a personal note of thanks. I’ve seen these written on everything from greeting cards to ten dollar bills. A nice card is most effective simply because there is a strong chance your employee will display the card proudly in his or her office, making it a constant reminder of the act.

2. Present your employee with a movie pass or couple of tickets to a game or concert you know they will enjoy.

3. If an employee has hit a key target or gone above and beyond the call of duty, show your gratitude publicly by praising them in a staff meeting. Your employee will feel great being recognized in front of peers.

4. If an employee is celebrating an important anniversary (say, 20 years of employment), ask the other employees to write something special about her and turn those notes of appreciation into a scrapbook that you can present to the employee.

5. When the opportunity arises, introduce your staff to key customers, major suppliers, or other visitors to the office. This will make them feel important and valued.|

6. Know your employees’ spouses, the names and ages of their children, and their interests outside of work. Showing genuine interest will make people feel valued.

7. Bring cookies, muffins or another treat for your staff. It’s always a pleasant surprise to staff when the boss thinks of them. Better yet – bake these goods yourself!

8. Take the staff out to lunch once in a while. This unanticipated gesture will be a welcomed break from the routine of sandwiches and soup in the lunch room. And, let them pick the restaurant.

9. Grant a couple of extra days off for a job well done. This is a great non-cash reward that goes a long way especially if your employee has hobbies like golf or gardening that he has been neglecting due to work. Their families will appreciate this one too.

10. Present your employees with opportunities to represent the company at professional association meetings and various community events. Not only will they grow from this involvement but they will feel proud to have been asked to represent the company.

I would like to receive your comments and questions about this topic. Please email me at walsh@geraldwalsh.com and I will respond to you.


Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and writer. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn