Home > HR Pro Shop > 24 Creative Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day (and 10 Ways to Recognize Your People Year-Round)

Did you know recognizing your people can significantly improve morale, productivity, and employee retention? Talk about a triple-win.

By honoring Employee Appreciation Day 2024 (mark your calendars – it’s Friday, March 1), you can help create a supportive company culture and promote positive employer-employee relations.

Why does employee appreciation matter so much? The below isn’t an exhaustive list, but it helps set the stage for why recognizing your people is essential. 

  • It’s the right thing to do. When crunching numbers and viewing your financial runway, it’s easy to lose sight that your employees aren’t commodities – they’re people. Acknowledging your employees extends beyond celebrating their wins; it allows you to be the thoughtful and caring leader you are. 
  • It raises retention rates. Studies show that toxic corporate culture is the leading reason for attrition. Moreover, the same study concluded that company culture is over ten times more important to employees than salary. Alternatively, creating a positive culture helps retain and attract top talent.
  • It increases productivity. It feels good to be acknowledged, so it’s no surprise that research found that happy employees are 13% more productive than their discontented colleagues during the workday.

24 Creative Employee Appreciation Day Ideas for 2024

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day in the office is an excellent opportunity to show your employees how much they are valued and appreciated. 

There are many ways to celebrate your employees beyond the standard company-sponsored happy hour. Here are ten ideas to consider to help your employees feel valued.

  1. Write customized thank-you notes. Whether you send virtual cards or use old-school stationery, writing personalized notes to each employee is a great way to express gratitude for your team. 
  2. Host office awards ceremony. Recognize employees’ achievements with heartfelt and humorous awards. 
  3. Schedule a themed dress-up day. Choose a fun theme, like Decades Day, for a day of casual, themed attire that is sure to bring laughs to the entire team. 
  4. Have a wellness day. Offer wellness activities like yoga, meditation, and messages with local professionals. 
  5. Cater lunch. Reward employees with a catered lunch or order from employees’ favorite restaurants.
  6. Decorate desks. Decorate employees’ workspaces and break room with balloons and streamers for a fun surprise when they enter the door. 
  7. Allow flexible hours. Allowing employees to leave early or start late lets them use that extra time for personal interests. 
  8. Encourage creativity. Set up a painting or craft station for a creative outlet and break. 
  9. Invite pets to work. Allow employees to bring their pets for a day. 
  10. Hire a food truck. Invite a food truck to shop outside for breakfast or lunch and pay for everyone’s meal.
  11. Set up a coffee station. Create a coffee station and snack bar for an all-day treat.
  12. Block out time for team-building activities. Team-building experiences work with any budget. Low-key activities (like trivia) and out-of-office ones (like a day of curling) allow employees to bond over things other than work.

It’s equally important to celebrate hybrid and remote employees. Virtual celebrations can be just as memorable and engaging as in-person events. The key is finding creative ways to involve your remote team members in the festivities, ensuring they feel appreciated and included.

  1. Cater lunch at home. Give everyone an Uber Eats, Grub Hub, or PizzaTime gift card for a personalized “catered” lunch.
  2. Send personalized company swag. Gift cool tech gadgets or branded company merchandise.
  3. Build a playlist. Create a collaborative playlist with and for employees.
  4. Schedule virtual games. Schedule a virtual experience – like an escape room – for team-building and problem-solving.
  5. Record a thank-you video. Create a video compilation of messages from team members. 
  6. Create an online recognition wall. Create a virtual wall where employees can post messages of appreciation for their colleagues. 
  7. Gift unique items. Get creative with gifts, such as using Unboxed Experiences, that allow your team to select special gifts on their own.
  8. Host an online cooking class. Equip employees with ingredients to make a specific meal in the comfort of their kitchen.
  9. Encourage virtual coffee chats. Schedule virtual coffee breaks where teams can connect informally.
  10. Have a digital team awards ceremony. Host a virtual awards ceremony to recognize outstanding achievements with digital certificates. 
  11. Conduct a virtual wellness workshop. Collaborate with local companies for online wellness workshops, such as a guided meditation session or yoga class.
  12. Grant extra flexibility. Allow virtual employees to adjust their schedule – like no meetings on a Friday – to show your gratitude. 

Virtual Pizza Party with PizzaTime.

Virtual parties boost morale and are a fun way to unite the team.

Ensuring employees feel appreciated is more than just a calendar event. Instead, fostering a culture of appreciation is a long-term commitment that requires ongoing efforts from employers and employees. The more you invest in nurturing this culture, the stronger your team will become and the more successful your organization will be.

Best practices for building a culture of continuous appreciation and gratitude are:

  1. Creating a bonus structure. Bonuses and other career-based awards are incredibly motivating and acknowledge hard work and meeting goals.
  2. Investing in robust benefits. Another way to show your appreciation is by offering a strong benefits package. You’ll attract and retain top talent and equip employees with the tools to be their best selves.
  3. Featuring exceptional employees in company newsletters. Recognizing employees and their efforts across the organization signals that leaders care about their teammates and contributions. 
  4. Using a recognition platform. Recognition platforms, such as Assembly, elevate internal communications and help all employees recognize colleagues. 
  5. Hosting frequent team-building events. Team-building sessions aren’t just fun and interactive – they also help employees practice collaboration and problem-solving skills.
  6. Organize a community service day. Volunteer as a team for a local community project and encourage those working remotely to schedule volunteer activities with friends or family.
  7. Offering professional development opportunities. Offer courses or workshops for skill enhancement. 
  8. Grant e-learning subscriptions. Provide subscriptions to online courses or learning platforms for continued education and career growth. 
  9. Building an employee recognition program. Celebrate work anniversaries, acknowledge high-performing employees, and welcome new employees to impact your workplace culture positively. 
  10. Model a healthy work-life balance. It’s one thing to encourage employees to focus on their well-being, but another to see it happen. Work-life balance starts with the leadership team modeling that behavior for the entire company.

In addition to Employee Appreciation Day, numerous other celebrations throughout the year can help boost employee morale and strengthen employer-employee relations. Recognizing the value of diverse professions and acknowledging their hard work fosters an environment of continuous admiration and appreciation. 

Some of these inspiring celebrations include:

  • Community Manager Appreciation Day: Jan 22, 2024
  • National Employee Benefits Day: April 6, 2024
  • National Lineman Appreciation Day: April 18, 2024
  • Administrative Professionals Day: April 24, 2024
  • Global Employee Health and Fitness Month: May 2024
  • Public Works Week: May 19-25, 2024
  • System Administrator Appreciation Day: July 26, 2024
  • Global Company Culture Day: September 18, 2024
  • National Pharmacy Technician Day: October 15, 2024

Measure the Impact of Employee Appreciation InitiativesWhile it’s vital to implement employee appreciation initiatives, you’ll also want to measure their influence on employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. By tracking and evaluating the success of your efforts, you will gain valuable insights into their effectiveness and make informed decisions about future initiatives.

To measure the impact of your employee appreciation initiatives, consider anonymously collecting employee feedback, measuring employee engagement and retention rates, and analyzing the impact of these initiatives on employee productivity. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine whether your efforts are making a positive difference in your workplace and identify areas for improvement.

Employees celebrating Employee Appreciation Day with measurable impact

PrimePay’s Human Resources Team uses Assembly to cultivate employee appreciation in an ongoing manner. Company activity is reviewed within Assembly to understand team recognition better.

Employee Recognition Helps Build a Positive Company Culture

In short, celebrating Employee Appreciation Day and fostering a culture of continuous appreciation is crucial for building solid employer-employee relations, boosting employee satisfaction, and improving employee retention. By planning creative celebrations for both in-office and remote teams, you can ensure that every team member feels valued and appreciated.

Adapt your appreciation efforts to accommodate remote and hybrid teams’ unique needs, and remember to measure the impact of your employee appreciation initiatives to ensure their success. Doing so will help create a thriving work environment where employees feel motivated, engaged, and committed to performing their best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an official Employee Appreciation Day?

Yes, Employee Appreciation Day is officially celebrated on the first Friday of March each year.

What is the official National Employee Appreciation Day for 2024?

Celebrate and show your gratitude on March 1, 2024—National Employee Appreciation Day!

Is there a National Employee Appreciation Week?

National Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March every year, and provides an opportunity to recognize employee achievements and contributions in all industries. This year, Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 3rd, and some companies even choose to extend celebrations for a whole week or month.


What to say to employees on Employee Appreciation Day 2024?

Show your appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day 2024 by recognizing all employees, including those in-office, remote, and hybrid. Celebrate with group points deposits, give gifts with meaning, and share special messages of gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Let your team know how much they matter through words of appreciation and peer-to-peer recognition.

How can I adapt Employee Appreciation Day celebrations for remote and hybrid teams?

Show your remote and hybrid team members some love by organizing virtual events, sending personalized gifts, or hosting online team-building activities. Let them know they are appreciated!

Recognize Employees in Performance Reviews

Look to your performance reviews as you transform your culture into one of consistent recognition. Embed your year-end reviews with positive feedback and verbal recognition to acknowledge your employees’ hard work. Interested in learning more about creating holistic performance reviews?


Dustin Slightham is the Senior Director of PrimePay.com. He has over 15 years of experience in writing and content development. Before joining the PrimePay team, he built a successful small business, helping other business owners create effective sales and marketing strategies. Dustin frequently shares his insights through articles, enriching the knowledge base with almost two decades of valuable experience. Starting his career at Xerox, Dustin displayed remarkable leadership skills as he oversaw a team of 200 employees. During this time, he achieved significant success by turning a struggling unit into a profitable business, demonstrating his strategic acumen. In 2011, Dustin ventured into entrepreneurship, leading a startup dedicated to helping small businesses boost their revenue. Following this entrepreneurial spirit, he went on to establish 434 Marketing, where he served as CEO for over a decade. During his tenure, the company grew to include 15 employees, and Dustin played a pivotal role in guiding B2B sales and marketing teams to success through buyer research, content marketing, and SEO strategies. His experience in leadership, culture development, and business strategy flourished during this period. Presently, Dustin holds the role of Senior Director at PrimePay.com, where he oversees digital marketing and content strategy. Drawing from his extensive experience as a small business owner, Dustin frequently shares his insights through articles, enriching the knowledge base with a decade's worth of valuable experience.

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