45 Inspiring Employee Appreciation Awards Ideas in 2021

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45 Inspiring Employee Appreciation Awards Ideas in 2021

Employee appreciation isn’t something you need to do as an act of charity, it will also have a very positive impact on your business. You won’t find anyone that doesn’t like to get appreciated and valued for their hard work and efforts. This is even more true for the employees of an organization or a business. If you want to keep the morale of your employees high, and want them to stay productive, it is necessary you give them employee appreciation awards.

You need to recognize the efforts and hard work that your employees put in for your business. It is paramount that you make them feel noticed, appreciated, and recognized. This won’t only keep your employees happy, it will also have a significant amount of impact on the workplace. These will mean important metrics such as employee engagement, productivity, and retention goes up.

Employee appreciation awards have now become an integral part of the corporate culture. It adds value to the hard work and achievements of the employees in different and unique ways. Due to this, employee appreciation award systems have become popular in organizations and businesses. Providing your employees with the appreciation they deserve will help you get the best out of them. When an employee gets applauded and recognized for their good performance, they feel elated and inspired to keep doing a good job. It also drives them to have bigger goals and ambitions and to be even better in their jobs.

Why Employee Appreciation Awards Are Important

The positive effects of employee appreciation awards are manifold. This has been stated by numerous studies. Shawn Anchor has carried out positive psychology research, and it says a truly happy and engaged workforce is the biggest advantage of the modern economy. According to research, a happy workforce helps increase task accuracy by 19%, sales by 37%, and overall productivity by 31%.

These days all organizations and businesses are looking for ways to retain their top performers. Also, strategies for enhancing employee productivity and business growth are high in demand. Providing employees with proper appreciation and recognition can help a lot in doing so. Things can fall apart in a workplace for lack of employee appreciation and employee engagement.

According to some specific data, the third most common reason for employees leaving their jobs is “lack of recognition”. Moreover, 26% of employees have the opinion that the highest barrier to engagement is not being properly appreciated and valued. 

According to some studies, well-designed appreciation award systems can increase average employee performance by 11.1%. Around 37% of employees think recognitions and appreciation awards are a must. 53% of employees think getting properly appreciated by the higher-ups would make them stay longer at the organization. Also, based on the reports of Cicero, 69% of employees work much harder if they get properly appreciated for their work. Around 47% of employees want to receive appreciation awards spontaneously. 

It is easy to understand that businesses and organizations really need to make their employees feel appreciated. It will help the business grow, also will help to create a better and more engaged workplace.

Here are some key benefits of employee appreciation awards-


Employees that don’t get appreciated are two times more likely to quit the next year, based on the Gallup reports. So, it is really important to have a proper employee appreciation system to retain top-performers. Moreover, recruiting new employees can be a lot of hassle, and expensive. Retaining employees by using employee appreciation can be highly beneficial for a business.


Employee productivity increases a lot with proper appreciation. This will, in turn, help the business with both profit and growth.


The Employee Appreciation Award system can boost the morale of the employees. Higher morale can help with higher creativity, productivity, satisfaction, and better engagement. 


Employee Appreciation Awards can help the employees have a sense of purpose. They will try to work harder and do better to get appreciated. They will also align their works properly with the company values.

Employee Appreciation Award Ideas

A business or organization can appreciate its employees in numerous ways. You can implement many employee awards ideas for employee appreciation in your workplace. Employee appreciation awards can be anything, you just need to add a bit of personal touch and thoughtfulness to them. Here are some ideas for employee appreciation awards ideas:

Thank You Card or Note

One of the most effective and easiest ways to appreciate the effort and hard work of your employees is handwriting a thank you note. If that does not work for you, you can just leave a sticky note on their desk that says a “thank you” message.

Celebrating Employee Birthdays and Anniversaries

You need to make the journey of your employees valuable if you want to create a sense of belonging in them for the company. Celebrating their important dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries is one of the best and most effective ways to do that. You can arrange a small get-together of the team and cut cakes to celebrate these special days. Also, you can send them nice and personalized email greetings.

Surprise Day Off

Nothing is more loved by employees than a day-off. You can provide your employees with the appreciation awards they deserve for their hard work by offering them a day off without prior notice. It will display how much you care about your employees. Also, it will motivate your employees to perform even better.

Wall of Fame

Wall of fame can be an exceptional way of providing your top-performer employees with the appreciation award they deserve. You can have a wall at the workplace that contains pictures of the top performers of the office. You can easily put it up by picking a board and then just placing it on a wall. You can put up pictures of individual employees or teams there to show appreciation for the good job they have done. 

Performance-Based Awards

Performance-based awards are highly desired by employees in any workplace, as it is a really good source of recognition. For instance, if one of your employees does a great job in reaching the sales quota of the week, you can provide them with an appreciation for that job specifically. It will boost their morale and drive them to do better. 

Appreciating Achievements that are Unrelated to Work

It is important that the management in an office also appreciates the achievements of employees that are not related to office work. Your employees might have accomplished something in their community, or have done a good volunteering task. You can appreciate them for that. Their teammates will also get to know about these accomplishments through the appreciation awards. 

Award Certificates

You can appreciate your employees for their hard work with special award certificates. It will make them feel highly valued and recognized by the company.

Newsletter or Website Feature

You can showcase the milestones or stories of your top-performing employees in the company’s newsletter or the company’s blog page. You can try including a section called “spotlight” in the newsletter. This can be the place where all the employees will get to know the story of the top performers. This will make your top performers feel highly appreciated and valued. 

Shout Out on Social Media

You can tell the stories of your top-performing employees on different social media pages of the company, and appreciate them for their accomplishments. There are numerous employees that are fond of different social media platforms and tend to spend a lot of time there. If they get recognized in their liked platform, it will make them feel highly valued and appreciated. It will inspire them to keep doing a good job for the company.  

Lunch with CEO

Your company can have a scheduled date every month when a selected employee will get to have lunch with the CEO. Everyone likes to get some one-on-one time with their boss. It helps them to voice their opinions on different stuff directly to the CEO. Also, they will be about to learn a lot of things from their boss and know about their stories and experiences. This will make your employees feel noticed and appreciated by the management, and this will boost their morale. 

Providing Professional Development

You can offer your employees professional training or other resources relevant to their work in order to help them go ahead in their careers. You can encourage them to take various courses and classes, and pay for those. It will make them more engaged with the workplace. 

Team Trophy

A team trophy can be provided to the best performing team in the workplace to appreciate the whole team in one shot. You can appreciate your team for achieving their goals with this team trophy.

Gamifying The Workspace

People hate to keep going back to a workspace every day that’s dull and has no fun. You can appreciate the hard work of your employees by transforming their dull workspace into a fun one. You can gamify the workspace easily by adding a pool table or basketball hoop in the workspace.

Writing LinkedIn Recommendations

These days almost all the employees advertise their professional portfolios on LinkedIn. You can try appreciating the hard work of your employees by writing them excellent recommendations on LinkedIn. Give them a huge shoutout for their good job. 

Donating to A Charity Of Their Choice

You can show appreciation to your employees also by donating a generous amount to a charity of their preference. This way they will feel highly valued, and you’ll also be able to show some kindness towards society.

Hosting A Hackathon

Let your employees hack anything they want at work. It can be their favorite brunch, or it can be a project they want to work on. It will make your employees really happy.

Implementing Peer Recognition Programs

You can implement a system for your employees to appreciate each other’s good work. As team members always work together, and they know about each other’s quality and accomplishments better than the higher-ups, implementing a peer-to-peer appreciation system will be a more authentic approach. Your employees will feel truly appreciated if it comes from their peers.

Surprising Employees with Team Lunch

If a team accomplishes something, you can surprise them with a team lunch to appreciate their efforts and hard work.

Project Completion Parties

Completing a project can take a long time and it can be hard work for the employees. Also, they might have to work late nights. So, it is important that you appreciate your employees after completing a project successfully and throw them an amazing party to celebrate the milestone.

Themed Team Lunch

You can hold special lunch parties at the office. You can also make them based on interesting themes that your employees like. It will make them feel really happy and appreciated. 

Company Apparel

Everyone loves to have apparel that contains the logo of their company. You can send them different clothes with the brand logo as a token of appreciation. It’s a nice and simple way to say ‘thank you’ to your employees. 

Gala Event Tickets

If any of your employees have a liking for charity events and have a particular charity event they would like to go to, then you can get them that access. It will make them really happy and will make them feel highly valued and appreciated by the company. 

Casual Day

Allow your employees to wear a casual dress on a day of their choosing. You can also set a day for the whole office when everyone will wear casual clothes. It is a fun thing to do to keep the employees happy and engaged.

VIP Parking Spot

You can provide your top-performer employees with a VIP parking spot in the office garage to show them appreciation. It will motivate other employees to do better in their jobs as well.

Impromptu Time Off 

You can motivate your employees by giving them an impromptu day-off, or an early leave. There are days when there isn’t much to do at the office. You can let them go early to enjoy the rest of their day. It will make them feel appreciated and valued. It will also make them more engaged with the workplace.

Time Off Coupons

You can give away time off coupons to your hardworking and top-performing employees. For instance, every time someone does a good job, you can provide them with 15-minutes or 30-minutes off work coupons as an appreciation award. They will be able to redeem it later at their preferred time. 

Breakfast Treat

You can surprise your employees with nice breakfast treats at the office. You can bring in delicious breakfast items such as pancakes, donuts, morning coffee, etc. to treat them. It will make them feel appreciated and motivated. 

Point Reward System

You can develop an award program based on points in the workplace. Employees will get points every time they do a good job at the work. After getting a certain amount of points, they will be able to redeem those points for gifts of their preference. 

Coffee Shop Meetings

You can often hold meetings at your local coffee shops so that your employees can feel relaxed and comfortable about the meeting. They will be able to enjoy the meeting. You can pay for their coffees or other drinks as a treat. It will highly boost their morale, and they will be more productive.

Employee Competitions

You can incorporate some fun and healthy competitions between your employees in the workplace. It will inspire the employees to work harder, and bring in better results for the company than others. At the end of the competition, provide them with awards of appreciation.

Family Invites

You can invite the family members of your employees to different office parties. It will make your employees happy. 

Special Projects

You can often provide your employees with special and interesting projects to work on as an appreciation award. If you let your employees work on special projects outside of their usual responsibilities, it will show them that you have trust in them, and you value them highly.

Covering Major Expenses

When your employees do a great job for their office, they go beyond their abilities to accomplish something for the company. You can provide them with proper appreciation awards by covering a major expense for them. If their work brings in huge profits for the company, you can get them something really expensive, or take them somewhere expensive for dinner. You can also bear the costs of something of their preference. 

Traveling Trophy

You can create a traveling trophy for the employees that will move from employee to employee based on who does an outstanding job in the office. 

Team Appreciation Bulletin Board

You can appreciate different departments and teams on a rotation basis. Every month a bulletin board designated for appreciating teams will highlight the contributions of different teams to the company. It can also show appreciation to individual employees and their accomplishments.

Off-Campus Outing

You can often take your employees on different outings to show them your gratitude and appreciation. You can take them to the theatre, or a golf course, or a bowling club, or a bar, or anything to make them enjoy themselves. 

Secret Santa

You can implement a ‘Secret Santa’ style appreciation system in your workplace. Here employees will give each other gifts anonymously on occasions. They would get the name of a teammate and will buy gifts for them without letting them know that they got their name. It will make your employees feel more engaged with the workplace. 

Pleasant Break Rooms

Redecorate the break room of the office, and make sure that they remain clean regularly. Making sure that your employees get to have a pleasant and relaxing time during breaks is really important for the morale of employees. It also increases positivity in the workplace. 

Ambassador Assignments

You can often send selected employees to represent their department or the company in business meetings that they wouldn’t typically attend otherwise. It will help increase their morale and confidence. They will feel highly valued. 

Spot Awards

You can often provide your employees with instant appreciation awards on the spot to make them surprised and happy. They will feel highly appreciated with gestures like that.

CEO for a day

You can let selected employees handle managerial work for a day to show them that they are valued and appreciated by the company. Your employees will feel highly motivated to do better with appreciation awards like this. 

Company Merch

You can often reward your employees with merchandise such as mugs, tech accessories, bags, etc that hold the company logo. Employees feel appreciated when they get something that holds the brand logo. It also helps showcase their pride in the company they work for. 

Gift Cards

Often provide your employees with gift cards from their favorite clothing brands or restaurants to appreciate their efforts and hard work for the company.

Corporate Wellness

You can arrange different wellness programs in the company to make your employees happy and motivated. It will also make them feel appreciated and valued by the company. You can set up a gym at the workplace, or arrange massages, or other wellness programs to provide your employees with well-earned comfort and relaxation. It will help them get rid of the stress they suffer from because of work.

Other Awards

You can offer various kinds of appreciation awards in various names for your employees, even for the ones with leadership positions. It will increase collective morale, and everyone will be more driven to do a better job at the workplace. Getting these employee appreciation awards will also make them feel valued for all their hard work. Some of these awards can be-

  • Recognition Master Award
  • Most Recognized Employee Award
  • Going Above and Beyond Award
  • Exceptional Listener Award
  • Excellent Feedback Award
  • Living By the Values Award
  • Coaching Champion Award
  • Driving Success Award
  • Inspiring Growth Award
  • Customer Service Award

Final Words

Employee Appreciation Awards are crucial for recognizing top performers in your organization. Recognition shows others how much you value their work and it generates goodwill internally and externally. As one of your corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, it will help build a company culture that is socially aware as well. 

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