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Empower peer-to-peer recognition with customizable eCards that enable employees to appreciate and recognize each other’s hard work. Foster a culture of appreciation.

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Think about the last time you felt genuinely appreciated at work. Now, imagine spreading that feeling across your entire workplace with thoughtful Employee Appreciation Day ideas.

Every year, Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to tell your employees how much they mean to your organization. After all, people who feel recognized are twice as likely to go above and beyond at work.

This guide shares Employee Appreciation Day ideas to inspire your organization and make sure your hardworking team members feel valued:

These Employee Appreciation Day ideas can be used every day to foster a positive workplace where everyone feels they belong!

Celebrate your team in style with the best Employee Appreciation Day Idea: eCards.
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The Best Employee Appreciation Day Idea: Recognition eCards

It’s hard to beat a classic thank-you note. Bring this Employee Appreciation Day into the modern era by sending eCards.

These eCards show how you can use this Employee Appreciation Day idea to show employees they're valued.
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Use an eCard platform to design digital cards that recognize and celebrate employees’ contributions. Customize your Employee Appreciation Day eCards with messages, images, and even animations to bring your designs to life. Then, upload your eCards to your organization’s internal communications platform so employees can receive and even send them with ease.

How To Power This Employee Appreciation Day Idea

After helping more than 5,600 organizations create eCards, we know a thing or two about using them to establish a culture of appreciation. With our employee recognition eCard platform, you can create custom eCards that show your team you care. Leverage features like:

  • Our drag-and-drop eCard design. Start with a template or create a design from scratch. Upload your own images or use our platform’s collection of stock photos and fun graphics. Choose your eCard’s colors and fonts, and add animations to spice up your eCards.
  • Easy sending and scheduling. Upload your eCards to your employee portal or intranet. Then, email or text the eCards out to employees instantly or schedule them for later. You can even print them out and hand-deliver them to team members!
  • Sender and recipient tracking. Track senders and recipients’ email addresses, to see what messages have been sent and when they’re opened. That way, you can make sure no one gets overlooked!

Check out this video for a virtual tour of our platform:

Best of all, you can create custom eCards for every occasion. Celebrate employees’ birthdays, holidays, work anniversaries, personal achievements, and anything else you can think of!

To see this Employee Appreciation Day idea in action, check out Modivcare’s eCardWidget campaign. With more than 6,500 eCards sent, company leaders were able to encourage peer-to-peer recognition and strengthen connections throughout the organization.

Learn more about how Modivcare uses this Employee Appreciation Day idea year-round.
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Employee Appreciation Day Gift Ideas

More than a third of employees report feeling more satisfied at work for up to six months after receiving a meaningful gift from their employer. However, 63% of employees would rather receive no gift than a poorly chosen one, so spend time picking the right Employee Appreciation Day gifts! Here are several thoughtful employee gifts that your team will love.

An Extra Day Off

Studies show that employees are healthier, sleep better, and are more productive when they take breaks from work. Plus, paid time off is the second most valued employee compensation benefit in the United States. Give your team Employee Appreciation Day off or an extra day of PTO to use whenever they’d like.

Benefits: Improved productivity, work-life balance, loyalty, and mental health

How to tailor this idea: Let employees take their birthdays off or let them choose another day that holds personal significance.

How to use this idea with remote teams: The best part of this Employee Appreciation Day idea is that it can be used in any work environment.

A Goodie Bag

Can’t decide on just one Employee Appreciation Day gift? Try several small ones! Create a goodie bag with snacks, stress balls, hand lotions, or a fun mug. Top it all off with a thoughtful thank-you card designed with eCardWidget.

Benefits: Customizable, can be tailored to fit any budget, and boosts morale when employees receive a collection of thoughtfully chosen items

How to tailor this idea: Tailor your goodie bags to reflect employees’ interests. For example, include items catered to specific hobbies or family situations (like including family passes to a local event). Alternatively, choose a theme. For instance, a wellness-themed goodie bag might include healthy snacks and a fitness tracker.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Mail your goodie bags. Then, have a virtual unboxing on Employee Appreciation Day where everyone joins a video call to replicate the communal joy of opening gifts in person. Alternatively, use a platform like SnackMagic, SugarWish, or another corporate gifting platform where employees can create their own goodie bags.

Company Swag

Build company loyalty by handing out branded swag like mugs, USBs, hats, pens, t-shirts, or tote bags. Then, encourage them to share photos of themselves using or wearing their swag with their peers.

Benefits: Creates a sense of unity, promotes company pride, and can be practical

How to tailor this idea: Choose items that reflect your company’s culture and values. For instance, if sustainability is a core value, opt for eco-friendly products such as reusable water bottles, organic cotton t-shirts, and bamboo tech accessories.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Choose ideas that are easy to package and ship. Consider size, weight, and durability to ensure items arrive in good condition without incurring excessive shipping costs.

Coffee and Donuts

Swing by a local bakery to pick up donuts. You can either pick up gourmet coffee or create a fun coffee bar with toppings for people to make their own creations. Including options like espresso, cappuccino, and regular coffee, along with an assortment of donuts—glazed, chocolate, and jelly-filled—ensures everyone has something they enjoy.

Benefits: Provides a break in people’s routines, encourages social interaction, and can be budget-friendly

How to tailor this idea: Take employees’ orders in advance, so you can get their favorite donuts and coffee flavors. Also, grab gluten-free and vegan options for dietary restrictions.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Send remote employees digital gift cards to popular coffee chains or local coffee shops near their locations. Alternatively, arrange for coffee and donuts to be delivered.

Free Development Opportunities

According to a study by Lorman, 74% of employees feel they aren’t reaching their full potential due to a lack of development opportunities. Considering that 70% of employees consider leaving a job to secure these opportunities, this Employee Appreciation Day idea can actually boost retention!

This statistic shows why free development opportunities are a good idea for Employee Appreciation Day.
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Offer employees a learning and development budget or bonuses specifically for taking online certification classes, attending conferences, or subscribing to research publications.

Benefits: Advances employees’ skills, nurtures future leaders, and retains top talent

How to tailor this idea: Provide industry-specific training opportunities. For example, a tech company might focus on software development skills, while a marketing firm might prioritize digital marketing and analytics training. Alternatively, let employees pick their own opportunities.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Find online opportunities, such as virtual workshops and certification programs. Some great platforms to consider are Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning.

Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day Events

Go beyond gifts and throw a full-blown event on Employee Appreciation Day! Here are some classic ideas that can be tailored to any team.

A Catered Lunch

Everyone loves a good meal, so give your employees a fun lunch experience. Work culture events like a fun lunch can help employees relax, get to know one another, and feel more engaged at work. Cater lunch, bring food trucks to your organization’s parking lot, or go out to lunch. If you go out, consider breaking up into smaller teams so different groups of employees get lunch together on different days.

Benefits: Can be customized to fit different preferences, offers a break from the routine, and encourages camaraderie

How to tailor this idea: Survey your employees to see where they’d like to go for their special Employee Appreciation Day lunch. Be sure to choose a spot that offers a variety of dishes to cater to different tastes and dietary needs.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Send remote employees an UberEats gift card or let them expense lunch on their company credit card.

Spirit Week

Why limit employee appreciation to just one day? Turn it into a full week with a spirit week! Choose a different theme each day, like Pajama Day, Decades Day, or Sports Day.

Benefits: Breaks the monotony of the usual work routine, relieves stress, and enhances company culture by showing your company values fun

How to tailor this idea: Let employees vote on each day’s theme! They’re much more likely to participate this way.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Choose themes that lend themselves well to video calls. Have a Crazy Hat Day where people can show off their most outrageous hats or a Pet Day where they share photos of their pets on video calls or in a dedicated chat channel.

Award Ceremony

Host a formal Employee Appreciation Day event to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. This ceremony recognizes individual and team achievements, reinforcing how much your company values its employees. Hand out plaques, trophies, or certificates and provide perks like a designated parking space or a bonus to winners.

For this Employee Appreciation Day event, you can hand out awards with plaques, trophies, and certificates.
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Hand out recognition awards like:

  • Employee of the Month
  • Team Player Award
  • Problem-Solving Pro
  • Unsung Hero

Benefits: Fosters a positive workplace culture, encourages high performance, and boosts morale

How to tailor this idea: Choose the award titles that showcase humor and add a personal touch. Then, have employees vote on one another. This acts as a form of peer-to-peer recognition, so winners aren’t just hand-picked by leadership.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Host your Employee Appreciation Day event online. Everyone can dress up and join your virtual award ceremony!

Team Happy Hour

For this Employee Appreciation Day idea, host an in-office happy hour or take your team out for drinks at the end of the workday. Encourage a healthy work-life balance by not cutting into their evening hours too much. Also, be sensitive to anyone who doesn’t drink by offering alternatives like mocktails and soft drinks.

Benefits: Promotes camaraderie among team members and alleviates stress

How to tailor this idea: If your employees aren’t big on drinking, host a non-alcoholic happy hour with craft sodas, herbal teas, infused waters, or smoothies.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Invite everyone to your Employee Appreciation Day happy hour with custom invitations. In your message, add a recipe or two for people to make at home. Be sure to add a mocktail version! Either ship the ingredients or reimburse everyone. Then, join a video call to make the drinks together.

Ice Cream Party

An Ice Cream Party is a delightful way to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. Grab some tubs of ice cream and set up an ice cream bar with toppings like sprinkles, cookie dough chunks, crushed Oreos, sliced strawberries, and whipped cream. Offer a selection of ice cream flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, as well as more unique or gourmet options. Don’t forget the ice cream cones!

Invite people to your Employee Appreciation Day event with an invitation like this one to an ice cream party!
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Benefits: Easy to organize and more affordable than other Employee Appreciation Day ideas

How to tailor this idea: Consider dietary needs by providing non-dairy and sugar-free options. To scale up, you might take a trip to a local ice cream shop for gourmet flavors.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Send ice cream gift cards to local vendors. Then, organize a virtual meet-up where everyone can enjoy their ice cream together over video chat.

Field Trip

On Employee Appreciation Day, get out of the office and take a field trip to a local museum, historical site, botanical garden, winery, or other venue.

Benefits: Provides a unique experience that employees will value, reduces stress, and can provide an educational experience

How to tailor this idea: Choose a location that aligns with your team’s interests. It could be educational, recreational, or cultural. Ensure the destination is accessible for employees with physical limitations.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Give remote employees a voucher for a local attraction. Alternatively, many museums, historical sites, zoos, and natural parks offer virtual tours. Arrange a group session where the team can simultaneously explore these places online.

Other Excellent Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

If you don’t want to hand out gifts or host an event, here are some other creative Employee Appreciation Day ideas your team might enjoy.

Workplace Giving Opportunities

Workplace giving opportunities can be a meaningful way to engage employees and demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility. After all, 71% of surveyed employees say it’s very important to work for a company with a culture that supports giving and volunteering.

This initiative allows employees to contribute to the community and causes they care about. Here are three popular programs you can launch on Employee Appreciation Day:

To use employee giving as your Employee Appreciation idea, launch programs like matching gifts, volunteer grants, and giving stipends.
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  • Matching Gifts: Launch a charity matching gift program in which your organization matches employee donations to their chosen charities. This will amplify their contributions’ impact and show that you support causes important to employees.
  • Volunteer Grants: Reward people who volunteer at nonprofits by promising to donate to those organizations!
  • Charitable Giving Stipends: Provide each employee with a charitable giving budget. They can donate to their preferred charity or disperse the funds across multiple organizations.

Benefits: Enriches employees’ sense of purpose and connection to your organization

How to tailor this idea: There’s not much you need to do to tailor this Employee Appreciation Day idea. Employees will pick the causes most important to them. If desired, you can add guidelines, such as what types of nonprofits you will support, or even suggest specific nonprofits.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Simply choose the right workplace giving software, and anyone can participate!

Social Media Posts

If you need to show appreciation on a budget, try posting on your organization’s social media accounts about standout employees on Employee Appreciation Day. With their permission, include a picture of the employee or team and share specific accomplishments. This gives them something to share with their own networks.

Benefits: Zero costs and great for recruiting employees since appreciation will be public

How to tailor this idea: Have managers record an individual video for each employee. This will mean more to your team than a generic video from the CEO to your entire organization.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Email your custom videos to employees, and you’ll be good to go!

Custom Video

Creating a custom video for Employee Appreciation Day is a personalized way to express gratitude and celebrate your team’s achievements. This approach leverages the emotional power of video to create a lasting memory for your employees.

Benefits: Evokes emotion, can be shared across any platform, and provides a lasting token of appreciation

How to tailor this idea: Have managers record an individual video for each employee. This will mean more than a generic video from the CEO to your entire organization.

How to use this idea with remote teams: Share your custom video online, and you’ll be good to go!


Organizing a raffle as part of Employee Appreciation Day can be an exciting way to show gratitude. Raffles involve drawing names or numbers randomly to win prizes, adding an element of suspense and fun. For the best results, pair this with an Employee Appreciation Day event, so everyone has something to enjoy regardless of whether they win!

Benefits: Encourages people to attend to see if they win and fosters a fun workplace culture

How to tailor this idea: Choose a wide range of prizes tailored to your employees’ interests. You might offer extra vacation days, tech gadgets like a Nintendo Switch, or even a weekend getaway!

How to use this idea with remote teams: Host a video call where you announce the winners. Then, have the prizes delivered to their homes.

Car Washes By Leadership

This Employee Appreciation Day idea involves hands-on work, but it’s a great way to reinforce a culture of humility and teamwork among your leadership team. Announce the event well in advance, detailing the time, location, and how employees can sign up for the car wash. On the big day, organize the car wash in a parking lot. Assign members of leadership to specific washing stations.

Benefits: Demonstrates leadership humility, enhances approachability of leadership, and encourages informal interaction

How to tailor this idea: While employees wait for their cars to be washed, provide entertainment. This could include live music, food trucks, or games. Set up seating areas where employees can relax and socialize with each other. Also, leaders can leave a small thank-you note or gift like an air freshener in each car after washing it.

How to use this idea with remote teams: If they live close enough, they can join too. Alternatively, give them a voucher for a local car wash!

Employee Appreciation Day FAQ

Why should you celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?

In 1995, Dr. Bob Nelson, a founding board member of Recognition Professionals International, created Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate the publication of his book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and to remind managers to thank their employees. Today, employers around the world make the extra effort to appreciate their employees’ contributions on this special day.

By joining in on the fun, you can experience the following benefits:

Reasons why you should celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with fun ideas, written below
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Don’t miss out on these great benefits. Pick the right Employee Appreciation Day idea for your team and start planning!

What should you do for Employee Appreciation Day?

It depends on what your employees value. After all, this day is all about them! Throw a celebratory event, write a thoughtful thank-you message, give a personalized gift, or even cater a meal.

Consider their interests and work situation (e.g., remote, in-person, or hybrid) so you can pick an Employee Appreciation Day idea that caters to them.

How do you write an employee appreciation message?

Craft a strong employee appreciation message with these tips:

  • Be Authentic. Make sure your message is sincere. Authenticity resonates, making appreciation feel more meaningful.
  • Point Out Specific Achievements. Mention specific accomplishments or ways in which the employee has added value to the team or company. This not only personalizes the message but also shows that you pay attention to their contributions.
  • Express Gratitude. Clearly state your gratitude, explaining how their hard work and dedication make a difference.
  • Keep It Positive. Focus on the positive aspects of the employee’s performance and attitude. A positive tone lifts spirits and boosts morale.
  • Keep It Brief and Focused. While it’s important to be thorough, concise and direct messages get your meaning across and are easier to produce for your entire team.
  • Include Future Encouragements. Along with thanking employees, encourage continued excellence and growth.
  • End on a Warm Note. Close your message with warm wishes or a personal remark that reinforces your appreciation.

When your appreciation message is ready, send it soon after the achievement or during a relevant occasion, such as on Employee Appreciation Day or when someone goes above and beyond. Timeliness increases the impact of your acknowledgment.

Next Steps

When Employee Appreciation Day rolls around, make sure you’re prepared with the best ideas that fit your team! Remember, celebrating your team’s efforts is essential for fostering a positive workplace culture.

Starting with eCards is an effective, simple, and customizable way to show your appreciation. Plus, you can use them every day to make recognition part of your organization’s culture.

While you finalize your Employee Appreciation Day plans, explore these resources to keep improving your organization’s work environment:

Get started with the best Employee Appreciation Day idea by exploring our workplace eCard platform.
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