5 Tips for Inspiring Employee Appreciation Ideas

HR teams are constantly pressed for employee appreciation ideas, and for good reason — according to Gallup, employees who don’t feel appreciated are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.

Over the years, Kazoo has helped countless companies with their employee recognition software. If your team needs inspiration for some employee appreciation ideas, the five tips below are based on success stories from Kazoo customers.


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Tip #1: Delivery Matters

The best employee appreciation ideas can be ruined by bad delivery. We coach every customer to be specific, timely, personalized, and consistent with employee appreciation.

If the specific reason for appreciation isn’t clear, employees aren’t appreciated in a timely manner, employee appreciation ideas aren’t personalized to your people and culture, or your company isn’t delivering it consistently, the delivery of your ideas may be doing more harm than good.

Tip #2: Don’t Forget Donations

Employee appreciation ideas are often tied to monetary rewards and gifts, but giving employees the chance to give back at work builds engagement.

Some employees appreciate the opportunity to donate to the nonprofit of their choice instead of small gift cards or monetary rewards, so add donations to your employee appreciation ideas to match your employees’ unique motivations.

Tip #3: Appreciate Entire Teams

Go beyond individual shout-outs and rewards with your employee appreciation ideas. By appreciating entire teams or departments, you can motivate many people at once and justify bigger donations or more expensive perks with each idea.

For example, one feature in the Kazoo platform allows teams to “pool” points they’ve earned with appreciation to pay for team happy hours, kegs of cold brew coffee in the office, or donating enough to send children in need to summer camp.

Tip #4: Realize Cash Isn’t King

As Gallup found in their own employee recognition research, money isn’t the best option when it comes to employee appreciation ideas.

This doesn’t mean you should forget about cash bonuses and gift cards — just that you should have other personalized options on hand. Even if employees opt for cash, studies have shown that simply having options makes the appreciation more impactful.

Tip #5: Bring the Swag

Many times, corporate “swag” (stuff we all get) seems like an afterthought — every one of us has received the branded tchotchke at kickoff meetings that’s forgotten by the time we get back to the office.

Make your swag a little more hard-to-get, however, and suddenly it becomes effective for employee appreciation ideas.

Some Kazoo customers add premium branded items to their employee rewards catalogs, turning them into badges of honor employees can redeem for after receiving appreciation.

As Trintech VP of Human Resources Erinn Gray revealed in a Kazoo case study, “I look out on our volunteer days and see a sea of Trintech shirts. Redeeming for swag reinforces our company values. It shows that those wearing it have gone above and beyond. They earned it.


About Kazoo

Kazoo amplifies company culture through its award-winning employee experience platform that delivers engagement, retention, performance management, and improved business metrics. As a dominant force in the HCM market with an industry-leading retention rate, Kazoo partners with more than 400 global organizations to build high-performance cultures and engaged workforces. Founded in 2013, Kazoo continues to revolutionize the employee experience with its platform based on the science of motivation, rewards, and recognition. To request a demo, visit info.kazoohr.com/demo-request