10 Employee Appreciation Ideas for the Holidays


Last minute shopping. Holiday travel. Wrapping up year end projects at work.

The holidays are a crazy time of year both at home and in the office. But, they’re also the perfect time for managers to show appreciation and gratitude for all the hard work your employees do.

While annual bonuses and lavish holiday parties are always welcome (and greatly appreciated), there are other simple ways to show employees appreciation.

10 Ways to Show Employees Appreciation

1. Write a note.

Not an email, not a slack message. Handwriting a thank you note is a more personal, meaningful way to thank individual team members for all their hard work.

2. Be flexible with time off.

The holidays are a busy time of year full of travel for a lot of families. It also happens to be the end of the year when remaining vacation time can be scarce. If your employees want to hit the road an hour early to try to beat traffic, let them.

3. Baked goods are always welcome.

It’s the season to indulge before those New Year’s resolutions kick in. Cookies are always well-received in the office. Bonus points if you wrap them up in little individual packages for your team members.

4. Treat your team to happy hour.

Even if your company throws an annual holiday party, take your team out for a more intimate happy hour to celebrate your department’s accomplishments.

5. Encourage peer recognition.

Encourage your team members to recognize co-workers who go above and beyond to get work done and help others. Create an employee recognition slack channel or even have team members do shout-outs on their LinkedIn pages. This positive energy is contagious and feeds into productivity.

6. Create growth plans for the upcoming year.

Show your team that their professional growth is important to you by setting goals and putting an action plan together for how they’re going to achieve them. Suggest industry publications, local events, or conferences they might want to check out.

7. Make a plan (and stick to it) for ongoing feedback.

Employees want continuous feedback and coaching. Annual reviews no longer suffice, so come up with a plan for how you’re going to give and receive ongoing. Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings, have a department suggestion box, or send out weekly pulse questions to gather feedback on improvements the team can make.

8. Turn casual Fridays into ugly sweater Fridays.

Whether it’s ugly sweaters, flannels, holiday pajamas, or something different every week – come up with a Friday theme for your department to dress up. It’s a fun, simply way to have fun and bring your team closer together.

9. Bring Elf on a Shelf to the office.

Make a play on Elf on a Shelf and Mensch on a Bench by starting a new office tradition. It could be a company mascot or even a Dwight Schrute bobblehead – choose a fun toy to watch over your team and move it around the office each day.

10. Participate in a toy drive.

Provide an opportunity for your team to spread cheer to the less fortunate. Participate in a toy drive, go ring bells for an afternoon, or donate to a foodbank. There are so many great opportunities to give back that will make your team feel proud and appreciative.

Showing Employee Appreciation Beyond the Holidays

While it’s great to show your employees some extra appreciation over the holidays, there’s no reason to stop there. There are plenty of ways to show appreciation year-round through easy-to-use engagement and recognition tools. Spending a little time each week focusing on employee appreciation can make a big difference in team productivity and morale.

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