February 21, 2024
March 1, 2024

Leading with Gratitude: Employee Appreciation Ideas for Large Companies

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If there’s one thing that large companies are great at, it’s getting work done. However, with hundreds (or thousands!) of employees, one thing may seem a lot more difficult and overwhelming to HR teams: employee rewards and recognition. 

Employee rewards and recognition are known to make employees feel appreciated and valued, which in turn lowers voluntary turnover, lowers frustration, and raises productivity. But for large companies, those benefits may not seem worth it in the face of intimidating budget and time concerns. After all, 65% of employees say they haven’t been recognized at all in the past year, which suggests that rewards and recognition may not be a priority for many organizations.

Don’t let that happen at your company! Employee appreciation is a huge part of business culture, and it’s a key part of building loyalty, happiness, and engagement in your workforce.

How to Show Appreciation as a Large Company

So, as a large company, how do you show each of your employees the appreciation they deserve without completely obliterating your budget? How do you ensure that no one is missed or left out? What are the most effective recognition practices for large workforces? See some recommendations below.

Gather Employee Feedback and Start There

One of the first things you should do is survey your large workforce to see where appreciation may be lacking. Send out surveys and have managers conduct one-on-one meetings to compile data on how your employees are feeling. Do they feel noticed or cared for by their managers or by the executive team? Do they resent the lackluster birthday gifts or cookie-cutter employee service awards you might be offering?

Once you know how your employees are feeling, you’ll have a more accurate direction to take on your journey to offer the most effective employee appreciation. With this kind of information, you’ll know what’s most effective for not just a large workforce, but your specific employees.

Create and Implement Recognition Practices From the Top Down

When we say recognition (appreciation), that doesn't have to mean anything large or expensive. It can be something as simple as a genuine “thank you” or a handwritten note. Or, it can be something larger like an employee of the month award that comes with a cash prize. Both large and small appreciation have their place.

No matter what type of appreciation practices or programs you want to update, implement, or improve, you need to start from the top of your organization and go down. After all, employees want more recognition from their managers. And when everyone from the CEO and other executives to managers and team leads is showing genuine appreciation to those around them, your culture of gratitude, engagement, and satisfaction grows.

These top-down appreciation programs build a culture of acceptance and appreciation, even when your company has hundreds or thousands of people all doing their own thing. And when you encourage managers and leaders to recognize those around them, the HR team doesn’t have to oversee everything—you can rely on team leads and managers to carry out recognition. Once you get the ball rolling, employee appreciation can become a self-perpetuating machine of gratitude and care.

One of the best and easiest ways to accomplish this is with a recognition platform (like Awardco!). Our platform allows you to easily manage and automate recognitions including birthdays, service anniversaries, onboarding, wellness programs, sales incentives, safety programs, and more. Plus, we allow super simple and easy manager-to-employee recognitions. Easily and powerfully build a culture of connection with employee recognition.

Use Opportunities to Appreciate & Recognize Everyone at Once

Pop quiz! What holiday is on March 4th this year? If you said Employee Appreciation Day, you’d be right! If you didn’t know, now’s a great time to mark your calendar! Employee Appreciation Day is a fantastic opportunity to show everyone at your large company how much you appreciate them. No, that recognition may not be extremely personal, but you have the chance to thank each employee for their work by giving them free lunch, an extra day off, or other celebratory gifts.

One of our customers, a large financial firm with over 250,000 global employees, takes this a step further. They do an Employee Appreciation Week throughout the entire first week in March. When you celebrate your employees for an entire week with food, games, giveaways, or activities, every employee is bound to feel the love!

Other ideas include hosting a monthly birthday party that celebrates each employee who had a birthday last month and creating fun holiday parties throughout the year for holidays like National Donut Day or National Video Game Day. These engaging and fun events can be the perfect opportunity for you to show how much you value your employees. And if you need some help throwing an office-wide party (even for those remote employees!), we’ve got you covered with our Celebration Kits.

Never Let Milestones Go By

A lot of employees means a lot of birthdays and service anniversaries to remember. However, these are vital in showing your appreciation to your employees (nothing makes you feel more invisible than someone forgetting your birthday, right?). 

Use software to automate these dates so that you don’t have to keep track of every anniversary yourself—no matter how good you are at remembering things, that’s a recipe for forgetting someone. When you remember to recognize each and every milestone in each employee’s life (and maybe reward them with gifts they’ll love!), you walk the appreciation walk instead of only talking the talk.

With Awardco, you can easily see, recognize, and reward employees for special occasions such as their birthday, their work anniversary, or other life events.

What About a Remote Workforce?

Large companies often have varied workforces, including those who work from home. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming, like a big, stubborn mallet hovering over our metaphorical whack-a-mole game, remote work is here to stay. Employee appreciation may seem more difficult for these virtual teams, but you actually have a lot of options for recognizing and celebrating them in both big and small ways.

Here are some great virtual appreciation ideas for large companies:

  • Social media shout out. Use your online platforms to recognize and thank virtual employees who are giving their best efforts. This cost-effective method of showing your appreciation will mean a lot, especially because it’s public, so it may lead to peer-led appreciation as well.
  • Virtual birthdays and celebrations. Don’t forget about remote employees’ special days. Host virtual parties and send gift baskets to their home to show how much you appreciate them. For Employee Appreciation Day, offer virtual games, deliver snacks, or give some extra time off to really show you care!
  • Face-to-face thank you. One of the hardest parts of remote work is reduced face-to-face interaction. Encourage managers and leaders to use Zoom or other video call tools to offer appreciation. This extra effort will show employees how much they matter.
  • Gifts. As mentioned above, care packages for birthdays are a great idea. But you don’t have to wait for a birthday! You can send virtual gift cards to employees’ favorite restaurants or stores, buy food or flower delivery for their home, or give virtual recognition simply to thank them for being awesome!
  • Traditional mail. Who even gets mail nowadays? Other than bills and spammy coupons, mail isn’t very exciting. So just think of how cool it would be to get a handwritten letter from your boss expressing their appreciation for your work! This type of appreciation may take some extra time, but it’s extremely cost-effective for the company.
  • Recognition through existing tools. If you already have large communication channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams, you can integrate those channels with Awardco and make recognition a part of everyone’s daily work life, even if they’re remote. Automation and simplicity can make this a powerful tool in your belt for building culture no matter where your employees work.

Appreciation is even more important than normal for remote employees. With a lack of social connections and interactions, remote employees may struggle with morale, focus, or satisfaction in work. Showing remote workers that you care about them and notice them can make a huge difference in their wellbeing.

Show Appreciation, No Matter What

Whether your business has a million employees or 10 employees, you need to ensure that each and every one of them feels noticed and valued because with the Great Resignation and War for Talent looming, large companies can’t afford NOT to invest more in their employees.