7 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

By Alex Gaggioli, October 9, 2018


Your employees are the backbone of your property and as you know, when they’re happy, your customers are happy. Happy employees plus happy customers equals a happy property owner or manager. We’ve explored how you can hire the right people, how to create a great company culture, and now we want to explore how to reward your employees.

The Case For Appreciation


There are many ways to make people happier, whether it be compensation, added benefits, recognition, or appreciation. Many statistics show the importance of employee recognition and appreciation because it influences behavior.

  • Career opportunities, recognition, and organization reputation are consistently top engagement drivers. (Aon Hewiitt, 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement).
  • The number one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. A striking number of people said they got no recognition for good work in the past year. (Gallup).
  • 60% of Best-in-Class organizations state that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance. (Aberdeen Group).

Appreciation and recognition can boost employee morale and satisfaction. When employees feel appreciated, they typically produce better results. You’ll also benefit from increased loyalty and a supportive work environment. These factors reduce turnover and in the end affect the bottom line more than many realize.

Four Approaches to Engagement

Compensation: Most people respond well to money and won’t work for free. Compensation is an easy concept to wrap your head around. Pay your employees fair wages and adjust them over time. Some compensation, like commission or tips are based on results and are also a major motivation driver for some people.

Benefits: Benefits can include the normal stuff like health insurance, PTO, medical leave, etc. But, benefits can reach farther than that. A good working environment, friendly coworkers, and other environmental factors are also a benefit to the job.    

Recognition means acknowledging someone before their peers for specific accomplishments achieved. It also includes actions taken or attitudes exemplified through their behavior, according to Entrepreneur.  

Appreciation centers on expressing gratitude to someone for his or her actions, Entrepreneur shared. A manager can send an employee a note or drop by their desk, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.

Forbes argues that most employees understand compensation and benefits, but often lack systems for recognition and appreciation. We agree that it’s easy to ignore recognition and appreciation. Especially if managers simply expect excellence no matter what.

All four components are essential to creating engaged employees. They all must connect to the core of the business. This means you must have well-defined goals and benchmarks for employees. For many properties, these benchmarks could align with:

  • Room sales
  • Upsells while guests are on the property
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Improved systems to save time, etc.

Many hotels have the same goal to sell more rooms and increase guest satisfaction. However, there must be actionable goals in place for employees to succeed.

Ideas for Recognition and Appreciation

Recognition and appreciation don’t have to be difficult, or burdensome. We came up with a few ideas to kickstart your employee appreciation. Some of these suggestions will not work for every job function or property. But, you can use them as a starting point.

Reward Efforts

There are three main categories of recognition according to Cleverism:

Day-to-day recognition: Casual pats on the back and a thank you go a long way. These types of recognition don’t need to be formal. Put yourself in a mindset to let employees know they’re doing a good job. Small gestures don’t go unnoticed and will help you create a great company culture.

Informal Recognition: Give an employee a simple shout out in a team meeting or in front of your staff to let them know you’re paying attention. Public displays of gratitude will help boost your entire team’s morale.

Formal Recognition: Formal recognition is usually given during a special event like an awards ceremony. Employee of the month or employee of the year are considered formal recognitions and usually come with more prestige. These awards are usually made aware to employees long before they’re awarded.

Flexible Hours and Schedule

Employees appreciate flexible hours and schedules. Consider allowing your most dedicated employees to dictate their hours and schedule. After working at your property for a while, employees may prefer certain shifts or time of day. While there are limitations to scheduling, work with employees to find the best mutual situation.

Give Paid Time Off

Coordinate with HR to give paid time off that doesn’t affect an employee’s regular vacation or personal days. PTO is one of the best non-monetary ways to reward employees who have gone above and beyond, and everyone enjoys an extra day or two off.

Team Lunches

People love food. People love free food even more. Think about offering free lunches on a regular basis. Many employees rush through their lunch breaks to get back to work. Provided team lunches will break up everyone’s days and increase communication.

Throw Your Team a Surprise Party

Surprise! Throw a team surprise party. American Express suggests scheduling an all-hands meeting towards the end of a shift.  When employees arrive, they’ll be happy to find a party. Throwing a scheduled day-time party will help employees get away from client meetings, projects, and other work-related activities.

Support Professional Development

Support your team and help them join professional groups or attend conferences. Employees who have been with you for a long period of time and proved their commitment are great candidates for further training. Not only will they appreciate your commitment to them, they will bring you more value.

Create Mentorship Programs

Let your superstar employees step up to the plate and become mentors to new employees. This may involve a promotion and added responsibilities. Your rockstar employees can help train the next wave of hires and hopefully create more rockstars.


There are countless ways to show your employees you care about them. Here, we hope we gave you some ideas to implement at your property. As we’ve mentioned many times before, in hospitality, your employees happiness directly influences guest experience and business outcomes. Take care of your most important assets and they will take care of you.

Featured Image: GotCredit

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