5 Fun Ways to Show Employees You Care

by Elias Rassi | Posted | Culture

5 Fun Ways to Show Employees You Care

It’s the Holiday season, a very special time of year. The Holidays are usually filled with planning big dinners (because there’s usually more than one, right?), get togethers with family and friends, and office party celebrations. And in between all of that, are small gestures of appreciation that go a long way in showing people they matter.

So, we asked our customers about some of the most creative ways they recognize and reward employees for the great work they do.

Here’s what a few of them had to say!

Going above and beyond for giving more

Concannon Miller employee Emily going above and beyond to help a client in Hawaii!

Concannon Miller, a CPA firm with offices in Bethlehem, PA and St. Petersburg, FLA, started the GaveMore Recognition Program three years ago to recognize co-workers for going above and beyond.

Nominations are evaluated by the GaveMore committee, and each year, between 10 and 15 employees are recognized for giving more. Their stories are compiled along with photographs of the nominees and nominators together, and then placed in a photo album put which all the nominees and nominators receive.

“The collective efforts of our associates contribute to the overall mission and culture of the firm,” says Connie Hood, HR Director, Concannon Miller. “GaveMore gives all associates the chance to applaud the efforts of their peers by sharing with the rest of the firm their appreciation for colleagues who make a difference in everyday work life.”

The firm also holds an annual All Hands Celebration to honor all the nominees, as well as announces the employee who gave the most that year, who then receives $1,000. The GaveMore employees also are recognized on Concannon Miller’s website and Facebook page.

Scratch and win

Riverstone Communities issues scratch and win cards recognizing employees for different accomplishments within the company.

Riverstone Communities, owners and operators of over 70 manufactured housing communities throughout the United States, recently started giving out customized scratch cards for doing great things in all aspects of the company.

“Each department head and manager has a stack that they hand out to our team members when they see them doing something great,” says Alycia Holmyard, Operations Assistant, Riverstone Communities. “There is a section on the scratch card for a letter and a section to possibly win some apparel. Once employees collect enough scratch cards and are able to spell the magic word "Flamingo", they then win the grand prize. Everyone loves it!”

The grand prize is additional time off – three additional PTO days and one day to use to volunteer and help others in the community. Since the team at Riverstone is so spread out, the scratch cards are a fun way of recognizing employees for something good that they have done.

The VisitPITTSBURGH team cheering on their hometown team, the Pirates!

Specialized honors for employees with different levels of experience

Established in 1935, VisitPITTSBURGH has been the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County, generating convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.

Part of its employee recognition program includes quarterly birthday lunches with its President and CEO, recognition for pay for performance achievement, annual holiday lunch, recognition for outstanding service, and the Annual VisitPITTSBURGH Day. To celebrate the annual outing, the entire team went to a Pittsburgh Pirates day baseball game this summer.

Also part of its program is the Rookie of the Year and Unsung Hero honors.

Rookie of the Year: An employee with one year of service who successfully transitions to the workplace environment, becomes thoroughly engaged, and produces quality results. 

Unsung Hero:  An employee who has made substantial contributions, working tirelessly and without fanfare behind the scenes, with behavior committed to VisitPITTSBURGH’s Code of Conduct.  

“We have a number of rock stars at VisitPITTSBURGH that fit the spirit of the Rookie of the Year and Unsung Hero awards,” says Mary Grasha Houpt, Vice President of Human Resources, VisitPITTSBURGH. “In 2015, our receptionist won Rookie of the Year because she is an amazing ambassador. In October, one of our team members earned the Unsung Hero award because he is always pleasant, kind and patient and never hesitates to step up and volunteer. These awards are special because our leadership team enjoys recognizing our staff’s accomplishments.”

The Rookie of the Year and Unsung Hero awards are presented by the employee’s supervisor at an all-staff meeting and we send out a follow-up email communication to all staff. The winner receives certificate suitable for framing and a $100 AMEX card.

Building for success

At Builders Mutual Insurance Company, employees can earn Builders Bucks which supports one of the company’s Vision 2020 goals. 

Headquartered in North Carolina, and operations into the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, Builders Mutual Insurance Company provides insurance coverage exclusively to the construction industry.

Its employee recognition program, called "Builders Bucks", is an incentive program that allows employees to immediately recognize each other when they go above and beyond in supporting one of the company’s Vision 2020 goals.

”The Builders Bucks is a great way for head office and field staff to express appreciation to each other for the great work they do,” says Karen Blalock, Manager of Learning and Development, Builders Mutual Insurance Company. “The recognition program is not only for managers, any employee can nominate another. Peer recognition is a wonderful way to boost morale and encourage everyone to do their best.”

Employees can use bucks to purchase items at the Builders Mutual Insurance store or cash in for extra time off.

Sharing the love


Century Group employee Jaime shows off her Share the Love goodies.

For more than 50 years, Century Group has built sustainable communities in urban and emerging urban centers. Each February, the company runs its 'Share the Love' campaign.  Because it’s a fun program that runs in the same month as Valentine’s Day, the positive feedback team members receive comes with, you guessed it – chocolate.

In the first year the program was implemented, Century Group used Valentine’s Day themed note paper and employees provided feedback to anyone they worked with. The note was then placed in a box and a name was drawn for a grand prize.

“The feedback and the chocolate are the tangible rewards but the overarching reward was movement toward a culture of feedback, improved engagement and team work,” says Barbara Hughes, HR Director, Century Group. “The feedback employees receive is given to company leaders, so they’re aware of individual achievements. Employees then get to see all of the great comments in their own keeper-envelope, which adds a nice personalized touch.”

It’s the thought that counts

At the end of the day, employees love being recognized and appreciated for their hard work. And it’s not always about receiving more money. Research by Bersin & Associates in 2012 found that companies with highly effective recognition programs have 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than companies that don’t.

Regardless of how your programs are set up, it’s important that employees have an opportunity to be recognized for the great work they do in and out of the office. As you’ve seen in these examples, it’s also important for recognition programs to be tied to corporate values so employees see how they’re living out their organization’s mission and values. Corporate values is the “stuff on the inside” that counts the most.

The best part is you don’t have to wait to celebrate the accomplishments of your employees. You can do this all year long. Recognition and reward programs are the gifts that keep on giving for your employees and for your organization.

Your turn: What fun, creative ways does your organization recognize and reward employees?

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