Ideas: Quick Appreciation Ideas

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “Handle with CARE — Motivating and Retaining Employees” (McGraw-Hill 2002). 

  • Give an employee a surprise day off.
  • Write and perform a song about your employees.
  • Have a surprise “Queen/King for the Day” celebration for someone who is always there to support others.
  • Send flowers to an employee’s spouse, parents, or significant other, thanking them for the great work that employee is doing.
  • Use candy names as ways to appreciate employees.  When they have met a sales or other goal, give them a SKOR bar.  If they have gone the extra mile, how about a package of EXTRA gum?  If they have done something really valuable for the team, choose a $100,000 Bar.  If they always make everyone laugh or keep their spirits high, give them a “Snickers.”  If you go to a good candy store, you can personalize something for each person on your team.
  • Find a key employee on your staff who enjoys and is good at making employees feel good and make employee recognition a formal part of his or her job description.
  • Ask each employee to write down at least 8 things they would like for rewards or recognition—at least two that cost no money, two that cost from $5 to $50, two that cost from $50 to $200 and two dream things.Have a senior manager wash an employee’s car.
  • Take out an ad in the local paper celebrating an employee.
  • Give an employee a pair of painter’s gloves with the fingers dipped in red paint as the “I work my fingers to the bone award.”
  • Send each employee a glass container.  Then give them a different kind of candy to fill it every month.
  • On the employee’s birthday let them choose from five different envelopes, each with something they have suggested they would like for a reward.
  • Keep an “Appreciation Box” on your desk so employees can let you know what others have done for them.
  • Help one of your star employees run for an office in a trade association,  If they win, take away some of their responsibilities so they can handle the extra work they’ve taken on.
  • Have an “Achievements Box” in your work area where employees can write down whenever something positive happens.  At the end of the week, read each entry to employees.
  • The CEO of a very large company decided to shake hands with every single employee during Christmas week to thank them for their hard work that year.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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