Boost Your Business with eCards

Create customizable eCards to impress your audience! Choose a design, add your logo and message, and let your audience share them with their friends.

Spread Love and Raise Funds with eCards

Show your supporters how much you appreciate them with our heartfelt eCards. Our platform allows you to collect donations directly through the eCard, making fundraising easy and effective.

Celebrate Your Employees with eCards

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.

Thank Your Donors with eCards

Recognize and thank your donors with heartfelt eCards that also streamline the giving process by collecting donations directly through the eCard. Show your gratitude and make a meaningful impact with our convenient solution.

Other Popular Use-Cases :   Customer AcquisitionEvent InvitationsCelebrate HolidaysRecognition eCardsGreeting Card SoftwareCelebrate Team-Member Anniversaries And more

Showing employee appreciation can make a huge difference in your company’s overall success. In fact, one study found that employees who feel their team genuinely cares about their personal and professional development are 43% more productive. With a more energized and motivated workforce, your company can power through its goals and increase revenue—all while sustaining a loyal employee base.

Your employees are the driving force behind your organization’s success. To thank them for their hard work, your company should set up an employee appreciation program to regularly recognize, spotlight, and express gratitude to your team of dedicated employees. 

In this guide, we’ll provide your business with everything you need to know to build a rewarding employee appreciation program. Specifically, we’ll cover:

By prioritizing employee appreciation, your business can create a thriving community of high performers who are constantly exceeding expectations. Let’s begin.

Click to learn more about how eCards can help with your employee appreciation efforts.
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20+ Employee Appreciation Ideas

Let’s explore employee appreciation ideas all businesses can incorporate into their recognition efforts:

Our Top Employee Appreciation Idea: eCards

An eCard is an electronic greeting card that makes recognizing employees easy, rewarding, and fun. With eCardWidget, you can create custom cards for a variety of special occasions and accomplishments that represent your company’s values. 

Here’s how your business can create and send eCards:

  1. Your business uploads its own branded designs or chooses from one of eCardWidget’s many business-ready templates. 
  2. Leadership or employees personalize the eCard to the recipient, referencing specific occasions or accomplishments with a custom greeting. Then, they send the card off with one click via email, SMS, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. 
  3. Recipients receive their eCards and feel honored that they’ve been recognized. 

eCards are the best way to create a culture of appreciation and encourage recognition across your team. Plus, they can be created and sent in just a few moments, making it highly convenient for employees to uplift one another.

If you’re interested in an easy-to-use solution that promotes employee appreciation from leadership and between coworkers, check out how eCardWidget can help in this video:

With the right eCard tools, you’ll be able to make a positive difference in your workplace culture and create an environment where employees thrive.

Click to learn more about how eCards can help with your employee appreciation efforts.
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Employee Appreciation Through Recognition

Aside from eCards, there are a variety of other employee appreciation strategies you can employ to properly recognize and show gratitude toward your team members. Here are a few suggestions:

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  • Employee of the Month
  • Social Media Shoutout
  • Wall of Fame
  • Awards Ceremony
  • Milestone Celebrations
  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Employee of the Month

This type of employee appreciation program is extremely common and very simple. Essentially, leadership designates a top-performing employee every month and publicly recognizes their accomplishments. This announcement is usually accompanied by a certificate, trophy, or gift of some kind for the high-performing employee.

An employee of the month program is flexible and scalable as your organization grows. When your company is small, you might recognize a single employee in a meaningful way. When you grow larger, you might instead delegate managers to designate an employee of the month for their team, rather than a single employee for the whole organization.

Social Media Shoutout

Social media recognition can be a win-win for your company and the employees you shout out. It allows your employees to experience your uplifting work culture and can be a meaningful moment in an employee’s career. 

To get started, simply make a post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or some other social media platforms describing the employee’s role and spotlighting how they went above and beyond. This can be a one-off shoutout, such as if an employee closed a particularly large deal, or it can be a part of your employee of the month program.

Aside from giving your employees the appreciation they deserve, it’s also a great window into your company’s values. If your organization has open positions you need to fill, publicly displaying a positive work environment may help you get interviewees and top talent through the door.

Wall of Fame

If you’re looking for a more permanent or visible way to appreciate your employees, a wall of fame is the best way to show everyone that you take employee recognition seriously. Hang plaques on this wall to commemorate high-performing employees, such as receivers of your employee of the month reward. You can also highlight employees with a long tenure at your organization to show appreciation for their years of hard work.

If your office lacks physical space or wall space, create a digital wall of fame instead! Mount a TV screen on a wall and display employees’ headshots and the reason why they’re on the wall. If you have a more generous budget, you could consider purchasing an interactive digital wall system to allow visitors to browse through your top employees.

Awards Ceremony

A dedicated ceremony that takes place at the end of each year brings your entire community together to celebrate individual and collective achievements. This awards ceremony can take place in person or virtually for enhanced flexibility and convenience.

If you have a larger company, consider hosting team-specific award ceremonies. Use this opportunity to spotlight employees who are exceeding expectations, reinforcing your values, and supporting a positive company culture.

Milestone Celebrations

Part of employee appreciation is going beyond work performance. Celebrate your employees’ lives outside the office to show you care. For example, you could host birthday parties for employees, celebrate new parents, or other personal milestones.

Additionally, incorporate work milestone celebrations into your recognition plans to motivate your teams and celebrate employee progress. You can host a small celebration on important anniversaries, including the first, fifth, and tenth years of employment at your organization. Our work anniversary cards guide shares some great examples of organizations that use this approach! Planning these milestones will remind employees that you value their consistent effort and hard work. 

Peer-to-Peer Recognition

With peer-to-peer recognition 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition, it’s clear that peer-to-peer appreciation deserves a spot in your employee appreciation strategy. You can encourage employees to recognize their coworkers and peers in a variety of ways, including starting meetings by asking employees to shout out or acknowledge any helpful peers.

If you’re looking for a more structured approach, eCards are a great place to get started. With a solution like eCardWidget, not only will leaders be able to give kudos conveniently, but employees will be able to do the same for their coworkers. You can start by creating cards based on company values so team members can highlight when their peers embody these values.

Click to learn more about how eCards can help with your employee appreciation efforts.
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Employee Appreciation Through Compensation

Another common strategy companies use to show appreciation for employees is by adjusting their compensation. In addition to adjusting an employee’s wages, consider taking a total rewards approach to compensation, taking into account financial compensation and non-financial compensation. Here are a few ways you can show employee appreciation through compensation:

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  • Wellness Benefits
  • Commute Expenses
  • Training Opportunities
  • Extra Paid Time Off
  • Raises and Bonuses

Wellness Benefits

When working a full-time job, it can be difficult for employees to maintain their health. This is doubly true if they work a desk job, as they’ll spend a lot of time being sedentary. Additionally, if their role is high-stress, employees will be at risk for stress-related health issues.

As a method of employee appreciation, show your team members that you care about them beyond what they bring to the workplace. Offer them wellness benefits such as a gym stipend, catered health lunches, and mental health resources to help them stay healthy. Aside from showing your employees that you care, you’ll also help guarantee a healthy workforce, reducing time off for illness and other health-related issues.

Commute Expenses

Some organizations require employees to work in-office or on-site, and that means that they need to commute. However, most organizations don’t consider commuting as part of the workday. As a result, employees have less free time before and after work and may spend more money on gas or bus fares.

Acknowledge the hard work your employees do and the costs they incur just to get to work by covering commuting expenses. You can do this by offering a monthly or weekly stipend that employees can use on commuting-related expenses or offering free parking.

Training Opportunities

According to one study, 34% of employees who left their jobs did so because they craved more career development opportunities. However, 77% of employees reported that they feel like they’re on their own to determine their career development. This indicates that employees are looking for more guided career development training from their employers.

Support this desire by offering training that will help your employees gain the skills they need to advance in their careers. You might even help them with the costs associated with continuing their education. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate your appreciation to your employees through a commitment to their long-term success. Plus, investing in your team members’ success is helpful to your organization as they’ll be able to apply these skills to their work and aid in your business’s work.

Extra Paid Time Off

One of the most important forms of non-financial compensation an employer can provide for an employee is paid time off (PTO). Although it might sound counterintuitive to allow high performers to take more breaks, it’s actually better to allow them to do so. One study found that for every additional 10 hours of vacation time that employees took, their year-end performance improved by 8%.

As extra PTO helps combat burnout and allows your team members to come back refreshed and ready to work, giving extra vacation days is a great way to show employee appreciation. For example, you might reward top performers with an extra week of PTO and high performers with three extra days of PTO.

Raises and Bonuses

Financial compensation is important to employees—they rely on their employers to provide them with the funds they need to pay for necessary expenses. In fact, 96% of surveyed employees say that compensation is either important or very important to their overall job happiness.

Ideally, if your budget allows, all your employees should receive a raise each year to keep up with inflation. Keep your high-performing employees satisfied by giving them higher raises and bonuses that reflect their hard work and your appreciation for all that they do.

Employee Appreciation Through Gifts

Much like you would give a gift to a friend or family member to thank them, you can show employee appreciation through gifts to your team members. You can purchase these items yourself or go through corporate gifting organizations to simplify the process.

Here are a few gift ideas that are sure to delight your employees:

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  • Company Swag
  • Free Meals
  • Gift Cards
  • Subscriptions
  • Event Tickets

Company Swag

Company swag, like branded tees, water bottles, and backpacks, helps employees feel valued and more connected to your company. Plus, sporting your company swag can market your business and attract new talent or customers.

Consider creating a tier system, where bigger accomplishments equate to higher-value company swag. For example, your high-performing employees might receive pens and t-shirts. Your top-performing employees might receive backpacks and water bottles.

Free Meals

Employees love receiving tasty meals. Make this a social experience by catering food at your office or inviting employees out to dine together at a nearby restaurant. Alternatively, you can reward employees by allowing them to pick up a meal at any time and reimburse them for the cost.

If you’re committed to creating a more positive work culture, you might consider catering all your lunches with healthy and tasty foods. That way, you’ll be supporting your employees’ health as well as showing your appreciation.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are a versatile and fun employee appreciation gift that’s sure to make any team member smile. Be sure to pick gift cards to stores that your employees would like, such as Amazon, Publix, or Best Buy. 

For a personal touch, you can purchase a gift card aligned with your employee’s specific interests. For example, if you know that your top performer’s hobbies include knitting, you might purchase a gift card from a local yarn store. Or, if they like golfing, you could get them a gift card to a nearby golf course.


You’ve probably already heard of subscription-based services such as Netflix, Hello Fresh, Stitch Fix, and many more. For a fun twist on your usual corporate gifts, give your team members a subscription to one of their favorite services.

Once again, you can feel free to personalize your gift to your employee’s unique interests. If your employee has a pet dog, you might gift them a six-month subscription to Bark Box. Or, if they’re an avid reader, you might gift them the Book of the Month subscription box.

Event Tickets

Some individuals value experiences over material possessions, and for those individuals, event tickets are a great way to show your appreciation. If any fun activities are coming up, such as a ball game, concert, cultural event, or comedy show, consider purchasing tickets for top performers and allowing them to attend the event for free. You can even gift them two tickets so they can bring a friend.

You can also gift tickets to a business-related conference or workshop. That way, employees can further their career development without worrying about the costs!

Employee Appreciation Through Events

Aside from gifting your employees tickets to events, you can also organize and host events dedicated to employee appreciation. Here are a few ideas for employee appreciation events you can host:

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Employee Appreciation Day

National Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March every year. Follow in the day’s spirit and throw a party to celebrate your employees’ hard work. Aside from getting catered food and drinks, you may also wish to write a heartfelt toast to thank team members and encourage them to keep up the good work.

Casual Dress Day

For organizations that usually require more business formal or business casual clothing for work, a casual dress day can be a great way to show your appreciation. Allow employees to dress down for that day, wearing the clothing that they prefer and feel comfortable in. For best results, make this a regular occurrence, such as once a month.

Movie Night

For an option that won’t break the bank, a movie night allows you to demonstrate employee appreciation by offering a relaxing and fun night. Ask your employees to vote on the movie they’d like to watch and purchase snacks and sodas that they can enjoy during the event.

Group Outing

As part of team building or promoting a more interconnected work culture, organizations will sometimes host group outings or activities so employees can interact outside of a strictly work environment. You can use this as a form of employee appreciation by inviting employees out on fun excursions that they would enjoy. This can be a hike, a culinary class, a company picnic, or any other fun activity you can think of!

Holiday Party

Your employees have worked hard all year to meet your company’s goals, so consider hosting an end-of-year holiday party to celebrate. This corporate event gives employees a chance to engage with team members they don’t regularly work with and congratulate one another on a job well done this year. Survey employees ahead of time to find out what type of celebration they might prefer, whether it’s a formal dinner or a mini golf event. Gather feedback on party timing as well, so you can plan a celebration that everyone can attend.

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Employee Appreciation: Understanding the Basics

Your organization may already have an informal approach to employee appreciation, such as verbally thanking employees when you walk by them in the office or sending a quick email congratulating them on a job well done. While these strategies are a good starting point, fleshing out your employee recognition efforts helps employees feel truly satisfied.

Your employee appreciation program should show team members that you are genuinely invested in their well-being, both personally and professionally, and want to create a positive environment where they can thrive. Strong employee appreciation programs have the following characteristics:

  • A rewards system that is tailored to your employee’s interests
  • Support from leadership to consistently recognize and uplift employees
  • Peer-to-peer recognition to foster strong interpersonal relationships

Employee appreciation can take many forms—what’s important is creating a program that makes the most sense for your business and its team.

Benefits of Employee Appreciation

A strong employee appreciation program can provide multiple benefits to both your employees and your company as a whole. These key benefits include:

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  • Improved employee retention. One study found that 66% of employees would quit if they felt underappreciated by their peers and leadership. When you show employees that you are invested in their growth and want them to succeed, they’re more likely to continue working in their roles. 
  • Increased employee engagement. If an employee knocks something out of the park but receives no form of appreciation, they will feel undervalued. As a result, they may not work as hard on the next project or task, leading to gradual disengagement and a drop in productivity. To combat this, consistently provide feedback and recognize employees for exceeding expectations to energize your workers to go above and beyond. 
  • Enhanced company culture. Recognizing and rewarding high performers is an important part of creating a positive, welcoming company culture. This will help you attract and retain talented employees. 
  • Improved customer satisfaction. More than ever, customers care about how companies treat their employees and often determine whether they will support a business based on their reputation. If your business has a positive standing in the community, consumers will be eager to buy your product or service. Plus, happy employees are motivated to create better customer experiences through effective service and thoughtful customer appreciation.
  • Better teamwork and collaboration. With a well-designed peer-to-peer appreciation program in place, you can promote positive working relationships. This will encourage employees to uplift one another and work together to promote the company’s overarching goals.

Employee appreciation affects every element of your business and makes achieving your goals easier. This is true for all types of organizations, including nonprofits and startups. Whether it’s for nonprofit staff members or business employees, you’ll need a strong framework in place to prioritize employee recognition. Let’s take a closer look at best practices for adding employee appreciation to your company’s agenda.

Employee Appreciation Best Practices

Your company can create an employee appreciation program that keeps employees motivated and eager to work at your business for years to come with the right strategies.

Leverage these best practices to guide your employee appreciation efforts:

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  • Encourage managers to celebrate team members. Set up easy ways for managers to give feedback and praise employees. For instance, you might invest in eCard software, allowing managers to acknowledge employees’ accomplishments by sending eCards that they’ll receive instantaneously. These are easy for managers to send and highly rewarding for employees to receive. 
  • Offer consistent and personalized feedback. Show employees that you care about their growth and development at your company by offering consistent feedback. For example, set up a weekly one-on-one meeting between managers and employees so managers can highlight their employee’s recent successes and point them in the direction of improvement. 
  • Provide public recognition. One of the most effective ways to call attention to a stellar employee is by celebrating their success as a team. This can be done through an employee of the month award or employee wall of fame, helping the selected employee feel valued, and encouraging other employees to emulate the quality of their work. 
  • Celebrate employee holidays. Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with your entire company by offering a free lunch, distributing gifts like company swag or gift cards, or hosting a company party. You can also take part in industry-specific holidays that are relevant to your company, like International Nurses Day or Administrative Professionals Day

Employee recognition software and tools will be instrumental in implementing these best practices. While an ad hoc or casual approach can work for some very small businesses, consistency and ease are essential for ensuring your appreciation efforts will stick and have the desired impact over time.

Explore our guide to the best employee recognition tools to get a sense of the range of platforms available and how they can support your engagement and appreciation efforts.

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Steps to Create an Employee Appreciation Program

Now that you know what makes an employee appreciation program successful, it’s time to craft one that’s tailored to your company and its unique employee base. A structured, formal program will ensure that your employees, managers, and leaders are all on the same page and know how they can promote one another’s mutual success.

To kickstart your employee appreciation program, follow these specific steps:

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1. Identify goals and objectives.

Follow the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) model to create concrete goals that will guide your appreciation efforts. You should set specific goals on: 

  • Employee retention rate. Take a look at your retention rate over the last few years and create a goal that is reasonable but ambitious. Ideally, your company should aim to have a retention rate of 90% or more
  • Employee turnover rate. Your turnover rate is the percentage of employees who leave your business. Try to keep this to 10% or less. 
  • Productivity levels. Track productivity levels before and after you kickstart your appreciation program, and set a goal for how much you hope it increases. This might be the number of projects your employees complete in a month, the number of sales they achieve, or other relevant metrics. 
  • Level of engagement and satisfaction. Distribute a survey to your employees that assesses their level of engagement in your business and how valued they feel as employees on a scale of 1 to 5. Set a goal for how much you hope this metric increases across your team. 
  • Number of employee referrals. Referrals demonstrate existing employees’ loyalty to your business and can help your business find new talented hires.  Track the number of referrals you’ve had in the past and set a target for how many more employee referrals you hope to acquire.
  • Participation in your employee recognition program. If you’re planning to host employee appreciation events, set a goal for attendance numbers and the number of events you plan to hold every month.

As you roll out your appreciation program, track your key metrics. These will help you assess the performance of your employee appreciation program and whether it’s resonating with your team.

2. Get buy-in from leadership.

Business leaders are responsible for announcing, organizing, and executing your employee appreciation program. As a result, your entire leadership team needs to be on the same page to create a program aligned with your company’s values and objectives. 

Set up meetings to review your employee appreciation goals and determine the resources you will allocate to the program. With a wider budget, you can add in more rewards, events, and other valuable incentives to motivate employees to strive for greatness. 

When leadership is actively involved in employee appreciation, it sets the tone for your program and demonstrates to employees that your company is genuinely invested in their professional development and well-being. Make sure all leaders, from managers to senior executives, are involved in your employee appreciation efforts and will regularly provide feedback and reward their direct employees.

3. Gather input from employees.

Different employees like to be appreciated in different ways. For example, while one employee might like tangible rewards like gift cards or company swag, another might prefer a company-wide spotlight in your all-hands meeting.

Survey your employees ahead of time to ask about their appreciation preferences. This can help you get a better understanding of what rewards most motivate your employees.

You can also ask employees which forms of peer-to-peer recognition they think would be most valuable across their teams. Ultimately, these should be as convenient and accessible as possible so employees will regularly recognize their peers without feeling like it’s tiresome to do so.

4. Develop the program framework.

To structure your employee appreciation program, identify the specific ways you’ll demonstrate employee recognition. For example, you might choose to:

  • Send electronic letters
  • Give honors and awards
  • Distribute gifts
  • Offer extra time off or bonuses
  • Host monthly or annual events
  • Donate to a charitable cause on behalf of the employee

There are many ways you can show employees that you want them to excel. Ensure that the rewards system you use aligns with your company culture and values. Doing so reinforces employee behaviors that push your goals forward. 

5. Implement the program.

Launch your employee appreciation program through a company-wide announcement from leadership. Your business should outline the following details to create transparency and ensure employees understand what they’re working towards:

  • The goals of your program
  • Relevant deadlines or dates of employee appreciation events
  • How employees will be recognized
  • Instructions for management on how to show employee appreciation
  • Instructions for all employees on how to engage in peer-to-peer recognition

Make sure your employee appreciation program is inclusive so all employees can benefit. For example, if you only set employee appreciation goals for the sales team, other subsets of your employee base will feel undervalued. Carefully consider how each team member will fit into your employee appreciation efforts.

6. Evaluate the program’s effectiveness. 

As your employee appreciation program kicks off, actively assess whether it’s meeting the goals you’ve laid out. While you may need more time to determine whether your employee appreciation program is making a difference in your retention and turnover rates, you can assess how employee appreciation affects your productivity and engagement levels every month.

Send out an employee feedback survey on a monthly or quarterly basis. This way, you can actively troubleshoot issues or take steps to improve your employee appreciation program. Have managers ask their direct employees about what they would like to see changed or added to the employee appreciation program.

If you’re planning to host employee appreciation events, compare your registrants and attendees to the total number of employees at your company. If a low number of employees are attending your events, determine how you can improve your approach, whether that’s by better marketing your employee appreciation events or hosting events that are more closely tailored to employees’ interests.

Wrapping Up 

Whether your organization is a business or a nonprofit, employee appreciation is a powerful way to retain talented team members and increase productivity across all departments. With the right strategies, you can effectively show employees that you value their contributions and are invested in their professional growth.

Curious to learn more about employee appreciation? Explore these additional resources:

Discover how eCardWidget can support your organization's employee appreciation goals!
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