you rock balloons

When Tom Barnett won Burger King’s 2014 Franchisee of the Year, he didn’t buy himself a new car or fancy jewelry—those were provided by Burger King. No, instead Barnett, owner of 24 Burger King locations in Arizona, did the unexpected—he sold the brand new Corvette and Rolex to provide his employees with bonuses.

Barnett and his leadership team are shining examples of how great company culture begins with those at the top. His team understands they could not have achieved such an accolade without the hard work and support of each employee.

Your employees may be adults, but they haven’t grown out of the desire to get a gold star. Employee recognition is critical to building a strong, collaborative company culture, as well as maintaining morale and encouraging innovation. As a small company, you may not have the ability to cash in a Corvette to hand out bonuses, but there are lots of small ways you can show you care.

It’s Employee Appreciation Day, and we’ve got 20 ideas you can use to recognize your employee’s for the work they do each and every day!

1. Hand write thank you cards to each employee.

2. Print an inspirational-style poster sharing how each employee inspires you.

Treat Yourself Tuesday3. Create a treat bar for employees to snack on throughout the day. For the more health-conscious office, considering setting up a blender or juicer for a smoothie bar.

4. Recognize employees for personal achievements (e.g. community service, continuing education, child on honor roll, etc).

5. Pick out a theme song for each employee and have them walk into the office to it.

6. space kitten partyOrganize an after-work happy hour on the company.

7. Bring in a mobile detailer to wash employee cars.

8. Host “Fashion Friday” and have each team/department choose their theme.

9. Hand out humorous awards based on office culture (e.g. Most Coffee Consumed or Fiercest Nerf Warrior).

innovate award10. Create awards based on your company values and hand out to employees who best embody that value.

11. Send a note to the employee’s family, praising the employee for their hard work.

12. Give each employee a standing ovation, or have a red carpet ready, as they walk in the morning.

13. Host a lunch carnival with games and small prizes.

14. Hire an artist to create superheroes of each of your employees and frame as a gift.

15. kaci posterSecretly collect affirmations and compliments from clients or colleagues and give to employees in a scrapbook or as a poster.

16. Provide a “personal day” where employees can take a class in something that benefits them personally, funded by the company (e.g. Music lessons, financial planning, golf lessons, creative writing, etc.)

17. Pamper employees by offering manicures, massages, bringing in a personal trainer, makeup artist, or barber.

18. Donate to their favorite charity.

19. Hide notes around the office for employees to find throughout the day.

20. card making stationEncourage employees to recognize each other with a card marking station.


Consider keeping employee recognition programs going year round. One big blowout each year can be fun, but small tokens of appreciation throughout the year will build lifelong employees.

What are some unique ways you show your employees you care? Share in the comments!