Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

How to Thank Employees for Their Hard Work This Year

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

December 11, 2020

At any organization, it takes a great team to run the business. Employees put in countless hours of hard work so your operation can succeed, and their dedication and contributions deserve to be valued. With many people still working from home due to the pandemic, this year the in-person get-togethers might not seem possible, but even a small gesture like a thank you note will lift spirits and make your employees feel appreciated. And what better time than the holidays to show your appreciation?

While most organizations run standard employee recognition programs, there may be ways that you can make them special this year. Listed below are some exciting ideas for you to consider.

Personalized Thank You Notes

Begin with the simplest way of appreciating your employees by sending out personalized thank you notes. It could be a written card mentioning their most special attributes, and what makes them a perfect addition to the team. Show them that their efforts have meaning, and make them feel valued.

Surprise Them with Gifts

What better occasion than the holiday season to send a gift and bring a smile to your employees’ faces? It could be an e-gift card so they can purchase anything they like, or you can go the extra mile with tailor-made gifts.

Organize Employee Appreciation Awards

Rewards and bonuses could be one aspect of your employee appreciation program, but to make the team feel valued and a core part of the business is what makes a difference. Organize an employee appreciation award ceremony and give out awards in different categories – maximum projects completed, maximum client appreciation emails, best performing team, the master of all trades, the PowerPoint master, the creative soul, the best desk in the office, the coolest boss, etc. It could be a public poll on the spot. You can make it a fun affair by putting up riddles on the office bulletin board or on the online employee corner section. If hosted virtually, snacks and drinks can be delivered to employees’ homes.

A Day Out or a Holiday Trip

Taking your employees out for a team lunch is a great way to collaborate and get to know each other. People bond over food, and this can be a fun way to end the year. If your budget can be expanded, a short holiday trip will be an amazing way to bring all the employees together to celebrate and the start the new year with a bang. If you can’t do this due to the pandemic, let your staff members know that you’d love for them to be able to order a meal for the family on you, and send out gift cards for food delivery. Alternately, you can let them know that an employee retreat is on the horizon as soon as travel is safe.

A Dose of Entertainment

Book a theater for your employees for a new movie release or a custom show. You could even invite a comic, a band or a singer to the office or a reserved a camping site for some awesome entertainment.

Adventures and Experiences

Engaging employees over adrenaline-rush activities can keep stress levels low and improve their cognitive skills. Experiences like paragliding, surfing, skiing or hiking can be very rewarding. Some activities like this can still be done safely even during the pandemic.

Bonding with Family

Organizing a family day for your employees is another way of appreciating their work. Dedicate a family day where they have activities, food and fun things to do together. You may be able to do this virtually if necessary, by treating each family to a meal or movie rental.

Exclusive Perks

Corporate perks make employees feel happy. It could be free fitness club or yoga subscriptions, reward points which get converted to holiday tickets, branded accessories, staycations, etc. This not only makes your employee feel content, but also keeps them motivated.

Health Services

In the current situation, where health and safety are your biggest priorities, as a responsible organization, you need to ensure that your employees are fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. Offer free consultations and discounts on health services to show your commitment toward their health and wellbeing.

Learning and Development Programs

Invest in your employees. Show them that you believe in their talent and want to further nurture it. Offering e-learning opportunities is an excellent way to upskill your employees and support their career advancement. Employees who seek to learn and stay ahead of the curve truly appreciate this initiative.

Time Off

Giving your employees time off is one of the best employee recognition practices. A surprise week-long holiday during the year-end period makes the new year more special. They’ll appreciate this a lot, and feel restored as the calendar year ends.

An employee appreciation program is a sign of a great work culture. In addition, you need to listen to them, be open to their feedback, offer flexibility and conduct meaningful gestures that make them feel truly valued so they can return to work with a positive attitude.


Tasnim Ahmed
Tasnim Ahmed

Tasnim Ahmed is a content writer at Escalon Business Services who enjoys writing on a multitude of subjects that include finops, peopleops, risk management, entrepreneurship, VC and startup culture. Based in Delhi NCR, she previously contributed to ANI, Qatar Tribune, Marhaba, Havas Worldwide, and curated content for top-notch brands in the PR sphere. On weekends, she loves to explore the city on a motorcycle and binge watch new OTT releases with a plateful of piping hot dumplings!

We provide you with essential business services so you can focus on growth.