October 26, 2018 Culture and Workplace en_US Recognize your employees and their hard work this December. Use traditional methods, like bonuses and gifts, or go for a more modern approach with mobile apps to make employee appreciation a focus in Q4 and beyond. https://quickbooks.intuit.com/cas/dam/IMAGE/A6pM0ZKlH/5f1445c1d7b68f65b2acf3442560c978.jpg https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/culture-and-workplace/end-of-year-employee-recognition-ideas End of Year Employee Recognition Ideas
Culture and Workplace

End of Year Employee Recognition Ideas

By Megan Sullivan October 26, 2018

You know how hard your employees work better than most employers.

That makes employee appreciation even more important. No matter what, as December rolls around, your employees are going to look for some token of appreciation. Big or small, traditional or modern, you have the chance to really make a lasting impression on your employees and enter 2019 with a renewed sense of energy.

As you consider what you want to offer your employees for year-end recognition, considering the following:

  • Make it meaningful – Whatever you offer doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should mean something to your employees.
  • Make it authentic – Your end of year message should be authentic; a fake smile is easy to spot. So make sure that whatever you say or do, it is genuine.
  • Make it sincere – Your employees want to know that you truly believe what you say. From ‘thank you’ to ‘good job’ to ‘we’ll get ‘em next year’, your staff will want to know that you fully believe your own message.
  • Make it realistic – Especially as you are deciding what type of message to put out at the end of the year, make it real. If there were challenges, say so. If there were big wins, say that too.

Employee Appreciation Ideas

In addition to your end of year message, here are some different types of employee appreciation gifts that can really demonstrate how grateful you are for everyone’s hard work.

Gifts to Charity

Many people, your employees included, have a cause that is near and dear to them. Whether it’s rescuing dogs, saving the whales or finding a cure for cancer, charitable causes are often very personal to those who support them.

Let your employees know that this year, your company will donate a certain amount per employee to the charity of each employee’s choice. You can have them choose from a list of set charities or simply have them write in the charity they pick.

This communicates two things to your employees: you care about something beyond your organization, and you care about what they care about.

Gift Cards

While some bosses may think this is an impersonal gift, the truth is, it’s the most personal gift because it gives the receiver the freedom to buy whatever they want.

According to a study by Inc.com, the most welcome gift cards as those to stores or websites that sell “general” merchandise (i.e. Target or Amazon), or to grocery stores.

Even a $50 token is more than your employee was expecting and is a nice little treat at the end of the year.


What’s the saying, green is everybody’s favorite color?

Cash bonuses are always well-received and tell employees that the company is doing well and is truly grateful for all they have done to make the organization a success.

While other end of year gifts communicate gratitude as well, cash signifies to employees that you are taking money from the organization to give them a gift. There’s also no question of its value when compared to logo-branded tchotkes.

Additional Paid Time Off

It may seem contradictory to reward your hard-working employees with a chance to get away from the office, but everyone could use an extra day off.

You could also investigate the feasibility of shutting your offices down between Christmas and New Year’s while still paying your employees for their time or going to a summer schedule that allows for early release on Fridays during the summer months.

As the business owner, you’ll need to choose the best option for you, your customers and your revenue, but if you can make it work, your employees will truly appreciate the freedom.

Perishable Food Items

We’re not necessarily talking about giant tins of flavored popcorn. Instead, consider giving your employees a nice box of fresh pears or a voucher for a free turkey or ham from the local grocer.

The only thing to look out for is if any of your employees are vegetarians. Giving a gift certificate for a ham is a great gift, but not to a vegetarian. Make sure you have alternative options for them.

Everyday Rewards

You can also give your employees a chance to show appreciation to their colleagues and redeem rewards throughout the year via mobile apps. Some of the more popular employee recognition apps are:

Many of these apps also offer a desktop version of their program.

Overall, these reward and recognition programs are an easy way for you and other employees to acknowledge hard work and outstanding effort throughout the year. Some of these employee incentive programs allow users to redeem earned points for merchandise or gift cards, while others provide immediate recognition through thank you notes, kudos or social media posts.

For more information about these apps, click here.

Be a Great Boss and Show Your Appreciation for a Job Well Done

Similar to your end of year messaging, your employee appreciation gifts should fit with your company’s culture. You want your employees to know that their hard work is appreciated and recognized, but also acknowledge your organization’s mission statement and business goals.

Blowing a huge chunk of revenue on an extravagant gift may make an impression on your employees, but so will being handed a pink slip six months later.

For the most part, employees want to be appreciated. Stop for a moment and consider what message your end of year employee gift is sending to the team.

Is it truly a gift that says “job well done” or just a token given to avoid looking like a Scrooge? As stated at the top of the article, genuine gratitude is perhaps the most important gift you can bestow upon your employees at the end of the year and beyond.

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Megan Sullivan is a writer with experience in the advertising and digital media space. Read more