Creative Employee Recognition Ideas for Startups

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It pays to put effort into proper employee recognition. Companies with a solid strategy for recognizing team members note a stronger commitment, increased staff morale, better customer service, and sales.

Employee recognition is about acknowledging the hard work and achievements of individuals and teams within your organization. It’s all about establishing an emotional connection between your employees and your company, while also supporting the work your employees do and remaining true to the company’s values.

Nowadays, startups are the most popular places to work for young professionals as they provide the opportunity to learn and grow, being exposed to new technologies and business models. However, the stress of working in a startup with dynamic goals, unclear responsibilities, and chaos can become overwhelming and lead to exhaustion.

For this reason, showing employee appreciation should be your number one priority as it will make them feel recognized for their achievements and give them the much-needed motivation to perform at higher levels despite all challenges.

Below, we suggest some creative employee recognition ideas for startups to show your employees how much you appreciate them.

Free Workout

Working out is important for everyone but especially for those who might be working for hours on end, trying to meet important deadlines, and those who may be working from home, especially if the working day consists of sitting in front of the computer for hours. People’s mood usually improves immediately after a workout.

Exercise can also help your employees achieve their physical health goals. Offer your team members a discount or free workout classes that they can participate in. When everyone on the team is healthy, productivity increases so a gift like this can also increase company morale.

Read: Startup Checklist for a Law Firm

Virtual Lunches

When working in a startup, you should do your best and try to schedule suitable times for your company’s departments to form professional relationships with each other. This is especially important if these department members do not work together often.

Virtual lunches give managers time to interact with employees face to face, even if the interaction cannot take place in person. Workers can ask questions and learn about the company’s work dynamic in a relaxed environment to gain a better understanding of the contributions that everyone makes to the company. Of course, it’s an excellent idea to reward participants with a free lunch delivered to them, and a great way to show appreciation.

Gourmet Food and Fruit Baskets

As a startup employee, you’re bound to spend a lot of time in the office. For this reason, your employees might be craving a tasty home-cooked meal. If you learn that most of your employees are foodies, love to cook, or simply like experimenting with different cuisines, why not choose a gourmet food basket as an appreciation gift. 

Choose a cookbook or learn what their favorite meal is and match the ingredients to create a unique and personalized gift. There are many food baskets available, plus you can have them be delivered to their homes for an extra touch.

Scavenger Hunt

In addition to sending your team members short thank you cards, you can create a virtual game for team members to find these types of inspirational and motivational quotes during a scavenger hunt.

This encourages friendly competition, regardless of whether everyone is playing individually or divided into teams. You can also play virtual versions of popular board games or customize the game to incorporate business-related trivia that help employees learn more about the startup, its mission, and core values.

Virtual Party

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many startups have urged their staff to work from home. But it’s extremely important to take advantage of relationships with your staff as it can both contribute to productivity and improve mental well-being while maintaining social distance.

Give your colleagues something to look forward to by celebrating a team member’s birthday or a work milestone through a video call. Send a meeting invitation in the same way as you would for a meeting at work or attach a message about the upcoming party in the chat room.

To add more zing to the virtual party, encourage people to make the screen background festive, either by hanging decorations in the home or customizing the virtual background. Think about throwing a theme for the party and ask everyone to participate by bringing a certain drink, snack, or something else. This is an effective way for startups to recognize their employees as they can interact socially and enjoy themselves at the same time.

Read: A Startup’s Guide to Building a Positive Working Environment

In Closing

The abovementioned employee recognition ideas can be a creative way of letting your staff know that you appreciate them. It will keep morale high, drive better levels of performance despite a startup’s challenging and unstructured environment.

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