Organizational Wellness

Fresh and Innovative Employee Appreciation Ideas

Jul 21, 2023
Last Updated Dec 15, 2023

No doubt, employees are the heart and soul of every business, fueling the engine that propels us towards our organizational goals. One way to fuel these high-performance engines is to show how much you appreciate them. 

Employee appreciation is more than just a pat on the back. It’s the megaphone that announces, "We see you. We value your efforts." It’s the secret sauce that keeps your team motivated, engaged, and honestly, just plain happy to be part of your organization. The result? A vibrant workplace buzzing with high morale, lower turnover rates, and productivity charts that soar through the roof!

In a world that’s continually evolving, how do we keep our appreciation game fresh, relevant, and exciting? Let’s explore some unique employee appreciation ideas. 

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Wellness Offerings  

There are many ways you can encourage work-life wellness. The key is to offer activities that are fun and promote physical and mental health. Here are some unique wellness perk ideas:

  • Guided meditation subscriptions: In the hustle and bustle of the workday, help your team to "find their zen" with subscriptions to guided meditation apps. 
  • Wellness retreats: Ditch the traditional office party for a wellness retreat. You can host a yoga session at sunrise, followed by a hearty and healthy breakfast!
  • Personal health coach: Pair up your team with their very own health coach to keep your staff accountable and feeling motivated.
  • Nutritionist consultations: Offer a few sessions with a nutritionist. After all, you are what you eat, and nutritious food can energize your employees throughout the day. 
  • Pet therapy days: Organize days where trained therapy animals come to the office or join in on video calls. 
  • Holistic health allowance: Offer a monthly stipend for employees to spend on their choice of holistic health options, from aromatherapy to acupuncture. 
  • Virtual reality relaxation: Invest in a few virtual reality headsets and offer employees a VR relaxation break where they can escape to a tranquil beach or serene forest.

Virtual Learning Platforms

Investing in your employees' growth shows you value their professional development. It also nurtures a culture of continuous learning and adaptability, key traits in today's dynamic business landscape. And in this digital era, virtual learning platforms offer a perfect solution. Here are a few virtual learning options: 

  • Online course subscriptions: Give your team access to various online courses from platforms like Coursera or Udemy. This allows them to select courses that interest them, helping them grow as people — it could be coding, marketing, photography, or even mixology. 
  • Masterclasses from experts: Offer workshops from industry professionals to inspire new hobbies and add some novelty into the day. It could be a cooking lesson with a local chef or a writing workshop at a nearby college.  
  • Virtual book clubs: Foster a learning community by setting up a virtual book club.
  • Personal development stipend: Give your employees a personal development stipend to spend on the learning resources they prefer. 
  • Access to virtual seminars and conferences: Provide access to seminars and conferences happening virtually or in-person, so team members can learn from industry leaders. 

Personalized Gifts

There's something undeniably special about receiving a gift that says, "This made me think of you." Not only do they show your appreciation in a tangible form, but they also serve as a constant, visible reminder of your gratitude. Every time your team member sees this gift, they'll think of you. They'll think of your company. It’s a “thank you” that never fades.

Now, let's jazz up the traditional corporate gift with some alternative ideas:

  • Eco-chic offerings: Embrace eco-friendliness with stylish, reusable water bottles, sporting your team member’s name or a fun quote. 
  • A tree in their name: Plant a tree in your employee’s name. It’s a gift that keeps on growing while making the world a healthier place.
  • Personalized swag: Create unique, high-quality company swag with a twist. How about a custom-made hoodie with their name or nickname? Or perhaps a mug that immortalizes a funny quote they dropped in a meeting?
  • Gift cards: Get them a gift card to their favorite store, restaurant, or hobby shop. It's simple but also personal, like  high-fiving  their interests.
  • Customized workstation accessories: Offer personalized stationery, mouse pads, or wireless charging docks featuring their name, or perhaps a favorite celebrity or beloved character. 
  • Artwork portraying their pet: Commission a local artist to create a framed portrait of their beloved fur baby. 

Employee-Designed Workspace

In an era where the line between office and home has blurred, there's a growing emphasis on creating a workspace that's not only functional but also comfortable and inspiring. By offering your employees a stipend to design their own workspace, you're saying, "We value your comfort as much as your contributions." This gesture holds particular significance for remote employees, making them feel invested in and part of the broader team culture.

Here are some items your staff might want in a well-designed workspace:

  • Ergonomic furniture: Ergonomic chairs or adjustable standing desks can promote good posture and reduce physical stress.
  • Noise-canceling headphones: A pair of high-quality noise-canceling headphones can be a boon for those working in noisy environments or juggling work and home responsibilities.
  • Tech upgrades: A larger monitor, a faster router, or a keyboard and mouse set can improve their productivity.
  • Creative lighting: A cool desk lamp or some ambient lighting can create a cozy and focused atmosphere.
  • Stimulating colors: Paint or wallpaper can transform a workspace and impact their mood.  
  • Cozy comforts: Extra items like a comfy throw, a footrest, or a warming coffee mug can elevate the comfort level and make the workspace feel homier.

Support Employee Wellbeing to Show Your Appreciation

It's easy to overlook employee recognition, yet it plays a huge role in motivation, retention, and employee wellbeing. Expressing appreciation helps build employee loyalty and shows staff members they are valued. 

Employee wellness programs can be a powerful tool to express your appreciation — there’s a reason 100% of HR leaders say wellness programs are important to employee satisfaction. Today’s workforce values their wellness as much as their salary, making wellbeing a powerful retention tool.

Wellhub helps you show your employees how much you care about their wellbeing — while saving money. Our flexible wellness platform gives employees access to thousands of wellness partners offering in-person and digital activities, meeting them where they are. Connect with a wellbeing specialist today!

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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