It’s a simple but profound and important word. It’s defined as…
“recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something”
That alone deserves a pause. Stop and reflect on the meaning of “appreciation” before you start brainstorming ideas. When you put pen to paper and make your list of things you can do to show your employees you appreciate them, don’t forget the definition. It includes recognition and enjoyment. You’re celebrating the person – the qualities they bring to you, your life, your business, and your customers.
I also cannot continue without the thought and reminder that Employee Appreciation is every day, not just a week or a month or a specific special day. All of these special days, like “Funny Socks Day” or whatever it is, were all created by some person, organization, or business initially to sell something (most likely). With that said, we have fun with them, we use them, and they’re helpful.
There’s NOTHING wrong with celebrating your employees on National Employee Appreciation Day; I just want to remind us all to celebrate people every day!
Let’s get to the ideas, shall we?
When thinking of ideas, I find it’s easier to break them down into categories. I always say that we should look at things as a buffet: if you don’t like the broccoli – skip it. So scan over these ideas and find what works for you and your shop.
First, go back to the qualities the person brings to your team, your life, your shop. Never forget to celebrate those qualities and, when possible, allow those to guide you in your appreciation decision-making. A great way to get to know your employees better from the start is to have a questionnaire template that they must complete as part of the hiring process. This questionnaire can ask for their favorite foods, hobbies, colors, etc. This becomes a great reference in gaining ideas for unique ways to show your appreciation. Not every person is the same so try to offer your recognition and appreciation in a meaningful way that lets them know that you know them.
Personalization + Customization
- Gift baskets that speak to the employee’s wants, needs, desires, passions, gifts, and life purpose.
- Curate experiences offer opportunities for them to pick their own experiences.
- Include family, friends, etc. – allow them time off to volunteer in their community, participate in children’s school events, etc.
- Surprise schedule them with a self-care day, i.e., massage, mani/pedi, etc.
Practical + Budget-Friendly
- Handwritten notes to the employee. Cards, postcards, letters, notes of encouragement.
- Record a video of personal thanks and appreciation to the employee.
- Gift cards to their favorite places.
- DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc. – have their favorite meal delivered, a favorite coffee drink in the afternoon slump session.
- Celebrate them on social (birthdays, anniversaries, bought a new car, bought a new home, got married, etc.)
For The Group
- Food Truck Friday.
- Dinner together.
- Ax-throwing, Top Golf, Hunting/Fishing outing (or some other group activity.)
Lagniappe (you know that’s how we say “extra” down here in Louisiana)
- Bonuses. Have a great month? Share it. Quarter? Year? Give a bonus unexpectedly.
- Profit-Sharing. Yep, you heard me. Talk to your automotive repair shop coach or CPA.
The local Shop Marketing Pros team enjoying a delicious steakhouse lunch.
Start with the end in mind. That is always a great way to get started — I work backward like this all the time. So, if the end goal is to show someone you appreciate THEM, then start thinking about what THEY like, enjoy, and appreciate. This is where personalization and customization come in.
To be really thoughtful, consider their passions, desires, wants, interests. Consider creating a staff get-to-know-you questionnaire like our example at the beginning of this article. Take it and COPY it. Customize it to fit you, your shop, and your company culture. You can send this to your employees when you hire them — get to know what they enjoy from the very beginning. If you’re implementing this now, just send it to your entire team and start fresh.
Now, armed with this helpful information, you can craft an appreciation gift that’s going to really make an impact.
If you don’t have time, resources, or customization, go with one of the gift ideas that you can do for the entire team, such as an outing together.
No matter what you do – when you put yourself out there and do something special, your team will feel it.
Thoughtful gifts personalized to your employees.
Handwritten notes expressing your appreciation.
Remember: don’t wait for National Employee Appreciation Day to show your appreciation.
Every day can be employee appreciation 🙂 With that said – here are some ideas of things you can do on any regular day:
- Sending a note to them at their home, in the mail. You’ll be surprised what that will do.
- Randomly gift them with a gift card to their local favorite place – if it’s even only $10 for a trip to the local coffee shop.
- Recognize their efforts in front of others.
- Call, text, email, or gift their family member (parent, spouse, significant other). It’s a surprise, and when you tell a spouse or parent how much you appreciate your employee, you respect them or you love working with them, it goes a really long way!
Good luck, my friends! I hope that this has been helpful to you!