Employee Appreciation Day: When, Why & 15 Gift Ideas (2023)

We’ve talked about how beneficial it can be to share gifts and organize activities that’ll help you make your employees […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

We’ve talked about how beneficial it can be to share gifts and organize activities that’ll help you make your employees feel welcomed and appreciated several times in our blog

This time, we’re focusing on Employee Appreciation Day in particular and we’re going to cover the following:

  • What Employee Appreciation Day is
  • When Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated
  • 15 ideas for special events and gifts to show your appreciation in a meaningful way

Whether you belong to one of those amazing companies that never miss celebrating national Employee Appreciation Day or not, we’ve got some amazing gift ideas for that special day. 

Without further ado, we’re jumping straight into it. 

Table of Contents

What’s Employee Appreciation Day and Why is it Important?

Idea #1: Send out Employee Care Packages

Idea #2: Give Employee Appreciation Shoutouts on Social Media

Idea #3: Host a Happy Hour

Idea #4: Share Gift Cards and Perks

Idea #5: Give Away Must-Have Company Swag

Idea #6: Throw a Party

Idea #7: Create a Unique Employee Experience

Idea #8: Organize a Team-building Session

Idea #9: Organize a Field Trip

Idea #10: Say Thank You

Idea #11: Share Delicious Snacks and Treats

Idea #12: Give Away the Most Useful Tech Items

Idea #13: Send Family Gifts

Idea #14: Take Extra Care of Your Workspace

Idea #15: Create an Employee Benefits System

What’s Employee Appreciation Day and Why is it Important?

Employee Appreciation Day is a holiday that’s becoming more and more popular for small and bigger companies across the world. 

It gives companies the opportunity to celebrate their employees and create stronger relationships with them. 

As its name suggests, the day is dedicated to employees and is observed to show them that their hard work and dedication are respected and appreciated. 

The day is a fantastic opportunity for employers to remember how important it is to appreciate, support, and respect their employees throughout the year. 

Celebrating this day and generally making sure to show appreciation all year round is essential for businesses that want to create long-term relationships with their employees and reduce employee churn

According to a recent Employee Happiness Survey, one in three employees feels undervalued and unappreciated. 

The same survey showed that the vast majority of respondents feel that recognition and appreciation can lead to stronger company culture and increased employee engagement. 

Even though empathy and recognition seem to be important factors in terms of boosting employee morale and engagement, only one-quarter of employees feel that empathy in the company where they work is sufficient.

Image Source: Busineesolver

Therefore, we understand that, even though expressing appreciation can make a huge difference in terms of how team members feel within a business, not all companies adopt appreciation tactics that help them boost job satisfaction. 

On the other hand, there’s a number of different things a company can do to celebrate their employees in fun, positive, and engaging ways, and we definitely recommend that you start working on some of these ideas as soon as you can. 

Before we get into a list of things you can do to show employee recognition, let’s first talk about when it’s celebrated. 

Author’s Note: There’s also a Boss’s Day that’s observed on October 16 in the US. 

When is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March

More specifically, employee appreciation day 2022 is on Friday, March 4. 

This means that you’ve got a few months to organize your Employee Appreciation Day ideas for gifts and activities. 

Let’s get started with the first gift idea we have for you. 

Idea #1: Send out Employee Care Packages

One of the best ways to celebrate employee appreciation day is by creating and sending branded care packages out to your employees

According to a survey, 85% of respondents believe that corporate gifting has the power to strengthen valuable relationships between employees and companies

Having said that, we need to say that sharing thoughtful branded gifts on a special day like this is a must-do. 

Companies that want to profess their appreciation for their employees’ hard work and dedication to the company can offer their employees a number of company gifts and useful items they’ll hold on to for years to come. 

Depending on the items you choose to include in a special appreciation swag box you can thank your best employees, welcome your new employees, and show how much you care about your employees’ wellness

Let’s get to the next one. 

Idea #2: Give Employee Appreciation Shoutouts on Social Media

A great thing to do to celebrate is to set your appreciation free on social media

Here’s an example:

Image Source: Instagram

More specifically, on a day like this, companies can consider crafting thoughtful content that’ll directly reach their employees. 

This day is a great opportunity to highlight your employees on social media, give them a public thank you on LinkedIn or Instagram, and show the world your team’s great work.

This will make your employees feel proud of themselves and realize that their work is seen and appreciated. 

Author’s Note: Giving employee appreciation shoutouts can be a great surprise for employees working for companies that have adopted a remote work model. In other words, digital platforms give companies the perfect opportunity to show their love and support no matter where their employees are based.

Moving on to the next idea for a special Employee Appreciation Day. 

Idea #3: Host a Happy Hour

When it comes to showing appreciation to employees, the most important thing is to organize activities and share gifts that are memorable and unique. 

A great idea for a memorable experience is a happy hour event at work.

If your team is 100% remote, then you can always have some of these super cool cocktail kits sent to your employees’ houses and thrown a virtual party on Zoom. 

Author’s Tip: If you want to take this idea to the next level, you could consider customizing branded drinkware items that you can share prior to the event to make the experience even more special for your employees. 

Keep reading to find yet another gift idea.

Idea #4: Share Gift Cards and Perks

Who doesn’t love gift cards and perks they can use to buy products and services from their favorite brands and companies?

Even though gift cards are quite common and some might say quite impersonal, we believe there’s something thoughtful about giving someone a gift card from a brand you know they love and buy products from. 

Author’s Tip: To make sure that your employees will be happy with your gift card, make sure to ask them – prior to Employee Appreciation Day – where they want to get their small gifts from. 

Let’s get to the next one. 

Idea #5: Give Away Must-Have Company Swag

On Staff Appreciation Day, you can turn your workplace into a branded paradise where employees can enjoy all the different, useful, and beautiful gifts you’ve customized with your company logo. 

Giving away must-have company swag is a fantastic way to create stronger relationships with your employees while giving them items they can actually use and enjoy. 

Doing so might sound like a tricky task but it can be as easy as finding a reliable swag company to partner with and letting them take care of the rest. 

For example, what we advise our clients to do in such situations is to create a swag pop-up store and allow their employees to choose the branded items they love the most, for free. 

This allows our clients to aggregate information in terms of what their employees want, what size, color, etc., in no time, and streamline the creation and delivery process. 

Some of the most common branded items included in such pop-up shops and could make great appreciation gifts include custom t-shirts and clothing, custom branded socks, and promotional mugs for tea and coffee. 

Moving to the next idea. 

Idea #6: Throw a Party

To make a workday feel more special than any other day at the office, you could consider throwing a party. 

Send an email asking your employees to agree on a date that can be turned into a company-wide half day. 

If that’s the official Employee Appreciation Day, then that’s even better!

Once you’ve established a date, make arrangements for a party that celebrates your employees’ best work and dedication to the company. 

They’re gonna love it. 

Let’s get to appreciation idea number seven.

Idea #7: Create a Unique Employee Experience

We’ve said it before; creating unique employee experiences is the most important element for a successful Employee Appreciation Day. 

The list of activities is endless; from fundraisers that’ll get everyone involved to scavenger hunts, company marathons, and board games, there’s so much you can do to bring some playfulness into the workplace and differentiate this day from the rest of the year. 

Moreover, you could even bring ice-cream and food trucks to work to show your employees that you’re imaginative and want them to have the most fun experiences at work. 

Ice cream is a great reward after a hard week at the office!

Below, we’ve got another idea for you. 

Idea #8: Organize a Team-building Session

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way companies and teams operate big time. 

That’s why we think a team-building session is a great way to make up for it and allow employees to connect with each other and the company again. 

Celebrate that your employees did their absolute best in the last year with a team-building session outside of the workplace or a short trip that’ll allow them to unplug and enjoy some authentic human interaction with their colleagues. 

This can boost employee wellness, and ultimately, raise retention and productivity. 

Author’s Tip: If you’re going for a short team-building trip, you can create custom backpacks and branded travel bags your employees can use. This’ll enhance the feeling of belonging to a team and make them happy. 

Moving on. 

Idea #9: Organize a Field Trip

Similar to a team-building session or short trip, a field trip to an unexpected location can be yet another great surprise for your employees. 

Discover some of your city’s most beautiful and special places together with your team members by throwing a field trip that employees will cherish for a long time. 

It can be as simple as going to the biggest park or botanical garden in your city to have a picnic. 

Author’s Tip: If you decide your field trip wil be at a peaceful place, you could organize for your employees to have meditation and workout sessions. Such sessions can boost mindfulness, relaxation, and productivity. 

Let’s get to the next one on our list. 

Idea #10: Say Thank You

We’ve reached idea number ten which is as easy as saying thank you!

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Write an honest, handwritten thank you note which you can leave on your employees’ desk in the morning on Employee Appreciation Day. 

It might sound like a small thing to do, but saying “thank you” is one of the most powerful and successful ways to express gratitude and respect. 

Plus, it can be combined with virtually any other idea included in this list, making the perfect employee appreciation gift. 

Author’s Tip: For extra points, include your handwritten notes in your company swag baskets you’ll be giving away to your employees on that day. 

Let’s get to the next one. 

Idea #11: Share Delicious Snacks and Treats

This one is one of our favorite gift ideas for any sort of business gifting situation. 

Everyone likes delicious snacks and treats, especially when they are given as a reward for someone’s hard work. 

Our experience in the field of promotional products and corporate gifting has shown us that promotional candy gifts and gift baskets with snacks and goodies are very efficient in terms of making employees feel appreciated and valued by the company where they work. 

Plus, another reason why we love this gift idea so much is that they offer endless options in terms of flavors, types of snacks, quantity, and quality which basically means that you can use branded candy to create anything from luxurious branded gift sets to swag gift bags on a budget. 

Wanna see what’s coming next?

Idea #12: Give Away the Most Useful Tech Items

As you’re moving towards the end of our list of fifteen gift ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, we need to mention tech swag

Giving away the most useful, custom tech items that are currently trending will be highly appreciated by your employees. 

In fact, we think that they’ll be thrilled to get branded earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, and laptop stands as a thank you for their work and contribution. 

 Trust me when I say that, with high-quality tech swag, you can never go wrong; everyone uses them and loves them. 

Whether it’s to listen to music, your favorite podcast, or having a killer computer camera for video calls, tech products are bound to impress and be used for a long time. 

Below is the next idea we have for you. 

Idea #13: Send Family Gifts

When thinking about what’s the right way to celebrate your employees and show them that you care, you should keep in mind your employees’ personal lives and try to include their family and loved ones as much as you can. 

A very simple, thoughtful, and straightforward way to do so is to send family gifts and gifts that can be enjoyed by people sharing a household.

For your employees who you know have kids, you could send out customized branded gifts, such as coloring books and pencils, apparel, and so on and so forth. 

Similarly, you can gift your employees board games and other household items they can enjoy together with their partners, housemates, and other household members. 

This shows them how deeply you care about them and their happiness outside of the business side of things. 

Let’s jump into our second to last gift idea. 

Idea #14: Take Extra Care of your Workspace

What’s a better way to show your employees that you care about them and want them to be their best selves than taking care of their workspace?

Make the office brighter and more playful with a few simple changes that can elevate your space. 

You could add some branded desk lamps and ergonomic chairs or add colorful office supplies

Even small changes can help your employees feel more productive and inspired in the workplace can have an impact. 

Below is one final suggestion for a successful Employee Appreciation Day. 

Idea #15: Create an Employee Benefits System

The final item in our list is one that’s more holistic than others and includes a number of changes that should be applied in the workplace. 

Creating an employee benefits system is one of the most effective ways to keep your employees happy and show them how much you value them as team members. 

If you want to know what some of the most common and effective employee benefits are, you can read our recently published guide on the topic: 

11 Employee Benefits all HR Professionals Should Know

Our guide will get you all inspired before you create your own recognition platform or craft a thoughtful recognition program for your employees. 

 We’ve discussed quite a lot of different ideas – it’s time to wrap up. 

Now Over to You

You’ve made it to the end of our Employee Appreciation Day guide. 

We hope that our post gives you a clear idea of what this special day is and why it’s important to celebrate it. 

As you can see, there are lots of different ways to show appreciation and make your employees feel like valued members of your team.

If you need help navigating through the different gift options or need help creating your swag pop-up shop that’ll allow your employees to get their appreciation gifts, we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. 

Contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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