Employee Recognition: 40 Great Ways to Say Thank You

Good employees thrive at work when they know their contributions have meaning. Letting your employees know the ways in which their work matters to you, the company or even to their fellow colleagues, helps keep your employees engaged and excited about their work.

It is especially meaningful when the appreciation comes from their supervisors or upper management. It does not take a big raise or expensive gifts to make your employees happy.

One of the simplest ways for companies to formalize employee recognition and ensure the happiness of their workers is to ensure bosses and managers acknowledge and appreciate the work their employees have done. Every employee needs to know that they are appreciated by their superiors and the more effectively you are able to do that, the better results you will achieve from the people on your team.


“Feeling appreciated is one of the most important needs that people have. When you share with someone your appreciation and gratitude, they will not forget you. Appreciation will return to you many times.”

– Steve Brunkhorst


Here are 40 great ways to say thank you to your employees:

Give up the good parking spot
Consider offering the best parking spots in the lot to those employees for a job well done. If most of your employees take public transportation, get them a transit pass for the employee of the month.

Wall of Fame
Another great way to say thank you to your employees is by acknowledging their work and informing the rest of the employees about it. You could create a wall of fame for each recognized employee. Be sure to write below their picture what they did that you are recognizing them for. This is also a great way to encourage and motivate other employees, letting them know that all good tasks achieved and accomplished are recognized.

Praise often
Another way to say thank you to your employees is by praising them and praise them quick! As an employer, you have to recognize people as soon as it happens. Otherwise, people would forget and they would think nobody is paying attention.


“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.” – Sam Walton


Lottery tickets
You could get a couple of lottery tickets as a way of saying thank you to your employees. It may only cost you a few dollars but you could be handing them a winning ticket!

The gift of wellness
What a better way to say thank you to your employees by looking after their wellness. You do not have to provide monthly gym membership but awarding complimentary passes to a nearby yoga studio or gym may be feasible. Healthy employees are productive workers.

Have fun
Head out after an important lunch and plan something fun. A rock climbing outing, hiking or even a paintball session to show employees that you know they accomplished something special. Try picking something that fits with your corporate culture. This not only is a way to say thank you to your employees but it also encourages employee participation and a great team bonding event.

Recognize good work
Give credit when it is due. When someone makes a project go smoothly, tell the whole team at a meeting or in a group “all staff” email.


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter works, but to live by them.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy


Sticky notes
What more authentic way to say thank you to your employees than by leaving notes on their desk or computer monitors. Post a sticky note on their monitor saying thanks and explaining why. It is simple but effective way to say thank you.

Free lunch
A way to your employees’ heart is through their stomachs. Take them on a company paid lunch once in a while and thank them as a team. You could also bring in some doughnuts or cupcakes for their morning or afternoon snack. A meal or snack is a great way to show your gratitude to your employees who have worked hard for you.

Office comforts
Another great way to say thank you to your employees is to upgrade their work space. Do your employees have ergonomic chairs and decent lighting for them to work with? Otherwise, upgrade and improve their work conditions in order to keep things comfortable and efficient.


“Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They’re just more engaged at work.” – Tom Rath


Trophy baton
Create a fun way to say thank you to your employees. This is interesting and will definitely bring fun, laughter and employee recognition at the workplace. Get a big trophy and give it to the employee you are recognising for the week. At the end of the week, the employee must return the trophy but before doing so, they need to add something to the trophy – like a trademark.

Give the trophy to the next deserved employee of the week and it continues from there. At the end of the year, you will have a trophy with 52 things stuck to it. It will definitely look hysterical but it brings lots of memories. Retire the trophy at the end of the year and put it in your reception area for visitors to the office to see.

Bottle of wine or champagne
Say thank you to your employees by getting them a bottle of wine or champagne that they can enjoy with colleagues (after work, of course) or even at home with their loved ones.

Random gifts
Who does not love surprises? Surprise your employees by giving them small gifts and tokens. You can leave token gifts like movie tickets, candy bars or gift cards on employees’ desks with a note that says, “Thanks for all your hard work. I noticed!”

Stock it up
Stock up the kitchen or the pantry with tea-time goodies and assorted choices of tea and coffee. Most workplace would stock coffee, creamer and sugar for employees but go a step further. Fill the fridge with juices, sodas, fruits, nuts and cookies.


“A man doesn’t live on bread alone. He needs buttering up once in a while.” – Robert Henry


Employee of the Month
You could select an employee of the month and inform the rest of the team during production meeting or announce it via email. Do not forget to mention why they were selected and their accomplishments. This can be a great way to show recognition as long as employees take the award seriously and it comes with real perks like flexible hours or a longer lunch hour.

Acknowledge them in meetings
What a better way to say thank you to your employees by acknowledging them in meetings. When an employee has a good idea, performs above and beyond, secures a big win or account or does something worthy of mentioning – it is always a good time to acknowledge it in front of their peers.

Say it with fruit or cookies
Send the employee a small hamper of healthy, edible fruit or cookies. You can have it delivered to their home so that they are able to share them with their loved ones or in the office if they live alone. It may sound like a simple way to say thank you to your employees but always remember that it is the thought that counts.

Making it official
You could put your employees’ achievement in writing and put it in their personal file. After you write a personal, handwritten note to the employee, thanking them for their effort or accomplishment, put a photocopy of the note in their file.


“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” – Margaret Cousins


Magazine subscription
You could also say thank you to your employee by provide your employees with a subscription to any magazine of their choosing. As this gift is often a monthly all year round, employees are often reminded of what they are being recognised for and why are appreciated for.

Training and conferences
You could provide training opportunities to high performing employees or send them to an annual conference they would enjoy, and your business would benefit from.

Email everyone
Not everyone is a big fan of email blasts, let alone receiving them. But in this occasion, email blasting is encouraged. You could send an email to the entire company explaining how impressed you are by your employee for going above and beyond. Don’t make it a daily occurrence though!

Appreciate personal wins
Try and appreciate your employees for what they have done as a personal achievement instead of the things they do for you. If your employee has achieved a milestone in his personal live outside the office, celebrate with them in the office. You could decorate their cubicle with balloons and cards when they achieve a personal win, like completing a marathon, winning a tournament, buying a new home or graduating from a class.

Celebrate birthdays
What better way to say thank you to your employees by celebrating their birthday. Everyone likes to be remembered on their birthday. Celebrate with a cake or take the whole office to lunch and treat the birthday employee’s lunch.

Boss for a day
It may be a little uncomfortable to some but try to swap a task with them for a day. Not only will they get to go through the pressure and stress you would encounter on a daily basis but you would also get to understand what your employees are going through as well.

Concert shout out
Get your employees tickets to see their favourite band in concert as a way of saying thank you to them. For additional effect, you could call the event in advance and see if you can get the band to give them a shout out during the concert.

Picnic basket
Always remember that a way to your employees’ heart is through their stomach (again!), especially if they are sharing it with their partners. Provide your recognised employee a catered lunch in a picnic basket and invite their spouse or partner to enjoy it with them during an extended lunch break. Not only they feel honoured but their spouse will also get to spend some time with them and know that the time at work is treasured.

Pizza party
Have a spontaneous pizza party and cater to your employees’ lunch. Lunch with colleagues are always fun as it breaks up the routine and keeps employees in the office.


“Research indicates that employees have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” – Zig Ziglar


Movie Time
You could also say thank you to your employee by provide your employees with a pair of movie tickets, and the time off to go see their favourite movie during the workday. You could even make it as a company event.

Write a note
Write a hand-written thank you note is often appreciated as it adds a personal touch. Employees will know that you took the time out of your hectic schedule to personally write them a thank you letter and that their effort is being acknowledged. You could even mail it to your employee’s home address, where his or her spouse will also see it and know that the time away from home is valued.

Pay attention
Try to get to know your employees besides just knowing their full name. It would be really helpful if you know the likes and dislikes of your employees as this makes rewarding them easier. The extra effort you make for your employees goes a long way and they would feel honoured that you think of them when deciding a way to say thank you to your employees.

Appreciation certificate
Another way that you could say thank you to your employee is by having the entire team sign a framed photo or certificate of appreciation. The employee will feel honoured and realise that their colleagues do not see them as a threat but looks up to them.

Internet famous
Try to say thank you to your employee by making them internet famous. Post your appreciation of employees on the company’s website. Have a photo and description of what they are being recognised for and any client or customer testimonials as well.


“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.”
– Mary Kay Ash


Thank you video
You can also create a video recognising your employee’s achievement and efforts. Post it on YouTube for your employee and anyone they want to share it with or send it out as an internal mail to notify their peers on your appreciation.

Let your employees take the afternoon off for a relaxing day of all expense paid manicure and/or pedicure. Allow them to get so rest and relax just before they embark on a new project in the office.

Giving time off
One way to say thank you to your employees is by giving them some time off from work. You do not have to go to the extreme of a whole day off work. Allow employees to leave early or come in a little later. Give an afternoon off to someone whose work has been exemplary. Do make sure that the workload is realistic so that your employees would not be working on their day off or having other employees carrying their workload.

Shopping vouchers
What a better way to say thank you to your employees by rewarding them with shopping vouchers and gift cards. Give them a token or carnival chips for every good task they accomplished and they could trade them for gift vouchers at the end of the month.

Appreciation jar
Have every employee write up a gift, privilege or recognition they’d like (or just use this list) and then put each item into a jar. Have the employee being recognised select their method of appreciation at random from the jar.

Collectors’ gift
Take time to find out what your employee’s passions, hobbies or interests are. Then give them a gift in that field. Collectors are the easiest to do this for—they always love to get that perfect coin or limited issue comic.

Casual Week
Do not just wait for Friday to dress casual. Turn one week of the week into a Causal Week. Change things up by allowing flip flops or allowing your employees to dress down as a fun way of recognising success.

Just say it
The easiest way to say thank you to your employees is to say ‘Thank you” to them face-to-face. Try making it a habit of looking at your employees in the eyes and say those two words: “Thank you.”


“The simple act of saying ‘Thank you’ is a demonstration of gratitude in response to an experience that was meaningful to a customer or citizen.”

– Simon Mainwaring


In Summary

There are many other ways to say thank you to your employees and whichever way you do them, employees would always feel appreciated and happy, as they know that all their work is being recognised by upper management.

Always smile and always show respect regardless of your personal feelings towards your employees. Your thoughtfulness will go a long way. Employees who feel appreciated will reward you with their loyalty and more.

Good luck!


From: 6Q Blog Source