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6 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation: Employee Wellness Tips

March 1, 2021 / Employee Engagement

Written By: Jordan Dunne

In a challenging year filled with change, uncertainty and overwhelming stress, your employees have gone above and beyond to deliver for your organization. They’ve quickly and willingly adapted to new work locations, virtual meetings, new business goals, COVID regulations, changes to work-life boundaries and more. It’s time to show them how much their dedication and efforts mean to you.  

But with celebrations like office parties, company lunches and team outings off the table this year, how can your organization celebrate their hard-working team members in a way that resonates with them?  

Launch an Employee Appreciation Newsletter 

According to Employee Benefit Adviser, 84% of highly engaged employees receive regular recognition for their hard work vs. just 25% of disengaged employees.1 While it’s nice to casually acknowledge the accomplishments of your employees, sharing individual successes with the entire organization will make those members of your workforce feel extra special. 

Work with your broader HR team and managers to build a monthly e-newsletter that highlights a handful of workers who performed exceptionally over the past few weeksAsk managers to communicate noteworthy employee behavior and ask a member of the HR or employee experience team to select their top picks to include in the company-wide email. Your people will not only see that leadership values their performance; they’ll also be motivated to work hard and earn a spot in that newsletter. 

Concerned about the mental wellbeing of your employees, but not sure where to start? Learn more.

Buy Lunch for the Team 

While a catered meal isn’t an option for remote employees, you can still provide lunch! For smaller organizations, you can have employees place an order for delivery from a local eatery selected by your company. Larger workplaces or those dealing with nationwide or global workforce should consider sending each employee a gift card for delivery, such as UberEATS or GrubHub. This will allow each member of your workforce to choose a restaurant that best fits their location, dietary preferences and preferred delivery time.  

Host a Virtual Employee Appreciation Event 

Send out an invite asking employees to block off time during the workdafor a fun online social event to celebrate your workforce. You could keep it casual by making it an online happy hour, but with many employees feeling the effects of Zoom fatigue, a virtual event that feels a bit more interactive will be better received. Here are a few ways to get a little more creative with your employee appreciation event: 

  • Hold an employee performance awards ceremony to celebrate individual and team successes 
  • Organize an online game or trivia night 
  • Plan a virtual wellness retreat 
  • Host your own art or crafting class 
  • Have your leadership team present a stand-up comedy hour for employees 
  • Lead a healthy cooking class 

Your employees will appreciate the opportunity to connect with their colleagues and workplace leaders without the pressure to maintain conversations on-camera for an hour or more. A fun event will have people talking and reminiscing about it for days or weeks following, helping to build stronger social connections and inspire teamwork.  

Surprise Them with a Day Off 

Everyone loves a surprise, especially an unexpected opportunity to relax! While it may be tough to shut down operations across the organization for a full day with minimal notice, try offering employees a flexible day off to be taken over the course of the upcoming weeks. Talk to team leaders about how to best coordinate time off with their teams to minimize disruption to business, such as staggering the days that each individual opts to take.  

Send a Self-Care Package 

Many employees are struggling to manage their stress levels, find balance between work and home life and stay socially connected these days. It’s more important than ever to ensure that your people have the tools and resources they need to stay mentally healthy.  

Beyond providing the essential mental wellbeing benefits like one-on-one live coaching, access to mindfulness training, opportunities for socialization and access to a holistic digital wellbeing platform, you can send each employee a care package that encourages them to practice good mental hygiene. Some items to consider include a candle, a sketchpad, a meditation book, a relaxing selection of teas or a pair of cozy socks. If sending a self-care package to each employee is out of your budget, offer a series of virtual yoga sessions, guided meditations, crafting sessions or art classes once a week to remind employees to prioritize their own wellbeing.  

Help your employees develop a daily mindfulness practice to manage stress and establish a sense of mental wellbeing in our exclusive interview with Whil. 

Encourage Employees to Celebrate Each Other 

Employee appreciation doesn’t always have to come from workplace leaders. In fact, organizations can that encourage peer recognition are 36% more likely to see a positive impact on financial results than those that only rely on manager recognition.1  

Remind employees of the importance of celebrating the success and hard work of their colleagues. It can be as simple as sending thank-you notes over email or sharing a message of appreciation over a team chatYour workforce can also leverage their digital wellbeing platform to acknowledge colleagues for a job well done. In our Winter ‘20 Launch, we added a new feature to our Rewards and Recognitions offerings within the Virgin Pulse platform called Shoutouts. Shoutouts support engaged and thriving workplace cultures and provide a critical tool for social connection in a time of distancing and isolation. When your employees feel like an essential part of a team, both from a management and coworker perspective, they’ll be more motivated to deliver and have a closer connection with your organization.  

Taking the time to recognize the hard work of your employees is something that should be practiced regularly. Call out an employee’s recent success on a team meeting, write an email acknowledging a job well done, send a gift card for coffee or lunch, give your workers a Shoutout in the Virgin Pulse app—there are so many ways to show your people that they’re valued. A little effort on your end will go a long way when it comes to boosting employee engagement, productivity, company loyalty and overall wellbeing.  

When employees feel their best, they perform their best. Show your remote and on-site employees that you care about them all year long by giving them the gift of wellbeing. Learn more about how our Homebase for Health™ approach can help your organization support the whole-person wellbeing of your entire workforce—request a demo today. 


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About The Author

Jordan Dunne is a copywriter and editor on the marketing team at Virgin Pulse, focusing on social strategy and health and wellbeing content. Outside of work, you can find her at the gym, hosting trivia, taking photos of food, or snuggling up on the couch with her dogs.

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