According to the 2020 Global Culture Report, compiled by O.C. Tanner Institute, as much as 50% of employees in the UK feel underappreciated at work. Added to this, social distancing measures mean that as much as half of the employed population are still working remotely, further adding to the likelihood of them beginning to feel detached and neglected.

Lewis MacSporran, Creative Director at Thriving Box Co. comments, “These statistics are quite frightening but all is not doom and glob because instead, many companies are finding fun and creative ways to keep their employees feeling engaged and valued.

“Looking after staff is such an important element of business happy employees will almost certainly result in increased productivity, enhanced workplace morale and lower rates of staff turnover. Employee recognition is a huge part of a positive working culture and will reap endless benefits for both you and your company.”

Here are 7 engaging ideas that businesses can easily implement to ensure employee recognition, cultivate a positive working environment and demonstrate to their workforce just how much they are valued.

  1. THE POWER OF A VIRTUAL PARTY – The recent COVID-19 pandemic is making it harder, if not impossible, to get your employees together to blow off some steam and have fun. Here’s a tip: keep your plan in place but take it online. Think virtual staff parties, online post-work drinks and birthday Zoom calls. Everyone loves an excuse to party. How about celebrating holidays, sales goals, or just plain old Fridays. It’s always five o’clock somewhere! You can also get creative by setting a theme, making a scavenger hunt or even organising an online bingo night. Teambuilding offers online remote workplace activities from miniature campfires to storytelling workshops. The possibilities are endless and so are the benefits.

    2. TREAT YOURSELF – And by yourself, we mean your employees. With baked goods. We’re all for gratitude in food form (let’s be real, who isn’t?) and believe us when it comes to treats – the sweeter the better! Small businesses on Etsy – like CunningCookieCo –  are offering a variety of sweet treats delivered straight to you, or your employees. Contacting a local bakery or cafe is another great way to send yummy goodies to your staff. These treats will ensure your employee’s hard work (and their sweet tooth) are recognised, along with supporting independent local businesses. It’s a win-win situation.

    3. A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS – Spice up your workplace and celebrate your employees with a wall of fame! This is an effective, visual way to celebrate both individual and team accomplishments. Encourage employees to celebrate their peers by adding notes of gratitude besides their photos or display team shots for group projects! We love the design of AirBnB’s wall of fame as it highlights their employees while standing out as a statement piece.

    Airbnb Office, photo taken from This is Design Thinking

  1. READY, SET, GO! –Hackathons will shake up the day-to-day routine and encourage your teams to interact with each other. Hackathons involve various teams coming together to conceptualise and develop a new idea. These collaborations usually take between one to three days to complete and can result in basic plans, complete ideas or even finalised prototypes! All ideas are then presented in front of a panel to decide on a winning team. Make sure to name the event and share it on social media to create excitement among employees before it takes place. Once the winning team is chosen it’s important to implement their idea into everyday operations. This will boost workplace morale and let your employees know you not only respect their ideas but are actively encouraging them to explore them.

    5. MOOD BOOSTING MONDAYS – It’s Monday morning after an exciting weekend. The day is passing slowly and you can feel morale dwindling…. how do you pick it back up? Here at The Thriving Box Co., we’re all about good vibes. We think that positivity is key to finding the balance between a relaxed yet productive working environment. Mood-boosting Monday’s can be introduced to any workspace where an extra push at the beginning of the week is required. Here are some ideas we’ve come up with: Buy coffees for everyone in the office, organise an outdoor activity for staff taking breaks or scribble down a positive vibe of the day and stick it around your workplace. These gestures may seem small, but executed well and often will go a long way!

    6. GET PERSONAL – Generic, status-quo rewards don’t cut it anymore. It’s out with blanket reward schemes and in with creative, memorable gestures. Find out what truly interests your employees and reward them with this in mind. Make it unique to the individual and use methods proven to ensure long term engagement such as personalised gifts, experiential rewards and incentives. Ideas range from something as simple as a handwritten ‘thank you’ note to bespoke customised corporate gift boxes! If you can gift them something personal that also enhances their working environment – you’ve struck gold.

    7. PEER-TO-PEER – Okay, so we’ve thrown around ideas for management recognising staff. But this appreciation doesn’t just have to come from the top. Peer recognition can improve employee well-being, increase engagement and create a positive working culture. It’s easy to encourage positive feedback amongst your workforce; set up a Kudos wall where team members can write and display their recognition of others’ work. We understand offices are pretty quiet right now, but this can be done virtually too! Employees can express peer feedback using business communications apps such as Slack or give virtual Kudos through self-service HR software like breathe.

So what can you take away from all of this?

  • Employee recognition is super important for both you and your employees
  • The best way to implement it is to make it a company habit; little (or large) and often
  • Get creative and think outside the box

By Editor