10 Budget-Friendly Ideas to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Jan 11, 2024   |   5 read


10 Budget-Friendly Ideas to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Your employees work hard to deliver results, so they deserve to be celebrated on Employee Appreciation Day. However, if you’re running a low-cost business, you may worry you don’t make enough to show how much you care. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank!

10 Cost-Effective Ways to Celebrate Your Employees

A recent study found that 37% of employees considered employee recognition the best way to promote wellness.

Here are 10 budget-friendly ideas to help you show your appreciation.

1. A Round of Applause

Sometimes, the simplest things end up meaning the most to people. With this in mind, take a few moments during a staff meeting to recognize employees for their hard work. Everyone should come together for a big round of applause for each employee in the meeting.

Inflation has hit all industries and startups hard, so if this is all you can do for now, express this to your employees honestly. Your employees will respect the fact that you told them the truth. All employees want to be appreciated, and it’s important to do so, even if you have little money.

2. Handwritten Notes

Show your appreciation with heartfelt thank you cards. A surprise card that shows how much you appreciate your employee’s hard work can mean a lot. Plus, a written thank you will be cherished forever. You can keep your note simple but sincere, or long and very detailed.

Writing the perfect thank-you note isn’t easy, but you can start off by using templates. With that said, you should include specific details about your employees and avoid being generic.

3. A Small Token of Appreciation

Give an inexpensive gift like a t-shirt or coffee mug with the company logo on it. Even something as simple as a mug or a notebook can go a long way in showing appreciation. Better yet, you can give employees a gift card for their favorite restaurant, shopping center, or online store.

If you have remote workers, deliver a few staff appreciation boxes to their doorsteps. These boxes can include everything from stationary to beer and cheese to air travel discounts. In-office employees will equally love to open up a box of goodies, so include them in on the fun, too.

4. Office Treats

Everyone loves to munch on treats when they’re hard at work. Show your appreciation with fresh fruit or donuts for the team. Or send out vouchers for cake or pizza to reward the team for their hard work. If you have the budget, you can also get a cake or treat delivered to the office.

Before purchasing snacks, write down any possible allergies or food preferences. You’ll want all of your employees to join in on the fun, so be sure to buy something the whole team will enjoy.

5. Give Out Awards

Recognizing your employees for their achievements can come in the form of framed awards or certificates. You can personalize these with the employee’s name or a funny message. Publicly rewarding employees can show your appreciation and also encourage others in the team.

On the other hand, you could design custom badges with each employee’s name, their photo, and the reasons why they deserve the appreciation. This way, they can wear their award. No matter what you choose, encourage your employees to keep their awards in their offices.

6. Take Them to an Event

If you need to buckle down and save money, then take your office to a free or low-cost event. This is much easier if you live in the city, as there’s probably something fun going on. If you live in a rural area or have plenty of remote or hybrid workers, put on an online event instead.

Some inexpensive online event ideas include game shows, virtual campfires, internet scavenger hunts, game nights, virtual jam sessions, remote dinner parties, and virtual dance parties.

7. Flexible Work Hours

Allow your employees to switch shifts for the day. Or let them take an extra-long lunch break. Or even better, you can introduce a new wellness policy you were working on. For example, if your employees are able to work from home, let them choose between remote work or the office.

If that isn’t possible, introduce a flexible work policy. With flexible work, your employees will have more time to see their families, make doctor's appointments, or meet personal goals. Don’t just keep these policies active during Employee Appreciation Day; keep them going.

8. Offer Opportunities

Cross-training is when an employer trains an employee to be proficient at a different, typically related, skill or task. When employers cross-train, they’re improving a team's ability to work together. Plus, they also provide employees with skills they can use throughout their lives.

On Employee Appreciation Day, consider cross-training a bunch of your staff. This will increase employee engagement, improve succession planning, and increase flexibility during shortages.

9. Recognize Milestones

When an employee passes a milestone, take a moment to recognize their success. This could be a significant anniversary, project completion, or achievement. Of course, this assumes that your staff reached a milestone around Employee Appreciation Day, but many of them won’t.

In that case, you can invent silly milestones that show off your good humor. For example, you could give a “cleanest sneakers,” “best office decorations,” or “coolest water bottle” award. This type of awards show became popular after The Office aired because they’re always fun.

10. Build a Wall of Fame

Create a wall of fame in the office with photos of employees who have achieved a special accomplishment. This is a great way to recognize employees while sprucing up common spaces. Plus, employees will understand what they need to do to get placed on the wall.

On Employee Appreciation Day, consider putting everyone’s picture on the wall of fame. This shows that every single employee deserves to be appreciated because they all contribute.

In Conclusion…

Showing appreciation to your employees doesn’t have to be costly. Small gestures like these can go a long way in showing how much their efforts mean to you. Create moments of appreciation and acknowledgment to boost morale and create an awesome work culture.

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