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GiftCard Partners Blog

3 Stellar Ways to Use Rewards for Employee Appreciation Day

Posted, by Hannah Noel on 02/27/2019
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Employee Appreciation Day is an important day of the year, but if you want a bigger impact, you should opt in for showing your appreciation all year long.

Many employers lean on recognition programs to show their employees’ their appreciation, but recognition is not happening as often as it should be, nor is it as well executed as it should be. O.C. Tanner’s year-long, international study, 2018 Global Culture Report, concludes only 61% of employees feel appreciated in the workplace, and when recognition is given, it's done incorrectly 1/3rd of the time.

You may think recognition is as easy as giving a verbal thank you, but don't underestimate the trophy-value of tangible rewards or the importance of reward presentation. The effectiveness of recognition and rewards also depends on your audience: their age, stage in life, and their personal preferences.

Here are 3 ideas for how to use rewards to your advantage so this Employee Appreciation Day makes a lasting impact

1. Follow a gift card with a personal message.

Gift cards have become a prevalent non-cash reward with managers due to their flexibility of use and a wide variety of brand options. You may opt for this reward choice because it can be tailored to fit what your employees care about most—such as dinner experiences at restaurants or supplies for a home improvement project from a hardware store. We suggest adding a personalized note with the gift card that explains what you appreciate their contribution to the team or company as a whole. Tip: be specific with what you think is great about that employee. You'll be surprised how going into detail makes waves.

Here's an example of how you can get specific with your thank you: Jane, I want to take a moment to thank you for the hard work you've done these past few months. Your attention to detail is par none, and I know any project that passes your desk will be highest quality. As a small thank you, here's a gift card to The Home Depot. I hope it helps with the bathroom remodeling you mentioned in last week's check-in.

2. Offer flexibility in work hours on a specific day(s) every week.

We are in the age of the internet and it's easier than ever to stay connected at work, even if you're not in the same location More companies are offering flexible work arrangements—some have even adopted a completely flexible schedule—with options to work remotely or adjust one's office hours every week. That means employees can keep working from home or while traveling without having to cut into their PTO.

A great reward other than flat PTO is to offer this kind of flexibility in hours. If it's not something your company can manage long-term, try scheduling it for a certain time period on a specific day of the week. For example, in celebration of Employee Appreciation Day, for the whole month of March employees can work from home on Fridays or can work a morning and afternoon of their choosing 1 day every week in March.

Allowing employees to have more choice about when and where they can work is not only a powerful way to show your trust and appreciation, but it's also refreshing and can boost a person's productivity! 

3. Try a Non-Cash Bonus.

There are several kinds of bonuses to choose from and each have their advantages. Some give employees a certain share of the company profits, or perhaps a bonus to the entire company, and others are incentives to perform at or above certain thresholds. 

If you’re thinking of giving bonuses this Employee Appreciation Day, your mind probably goes to cash bonuses right away—but why not try a non-cash one this year? In a recent study by the IRF, employees report they want cash rewards, but biologically they are more attracted to tangible rewards that have a specific use, such as travel rewards. So even though cash may seem like the best option, it's usually thought of as compensation, not a special or celebratory reward.

The true purpose of a bonus is to give credit where it's due and boost employee morale. There are several non-financial rewards that can also act as a bonus, such as a team outing, party, or dinner. Often these work best as a team bonus, but something such as sporting event tickets or a weekend getaway can work well for individual bonuses.

However you decide to reward your employees this Employee Appreciation Day, one thing remains true: showing your gratitude to your employees goes a long way for retention and morale.


Find out how gift cards can work for your business. We work with companies of all shapes and sizes to find the best gift cards for your program or audience. Talk with one of our team members today.


Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Incentives & Rewards

Learn how gift cards can work for your business

We work with companies of all shapes and sizes to find the best gift cards for your program or audience.

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