Here are nine ways to show your appreciation to employees and coworkers. Go ahead and make their day.

Praise a job well done.

Identify the specific actions that you found admirable in the employee. Praise the employee for doing an excellent job. This praise feels sincere since you took the time to spell out details—not just, “You did a good job.” Also emphasize the actions that you would like to see the employee do more often. Everybody benefits when people experience a clear direction. For example, “Mary, your research message is visual and much appreciated when you enclose graphics and charts when you write your reports.”

Say thank you.

Show your appreciation to your employees for their hard work and contributions. And, don’t forget to say please often as well. Social niceties do belong at work. A more gracious, polite, civilized workplace is appreciated by all.

Learn your coworkers’ interests.

Questions and acknowledgments about their family, their hobby, their weekend, or a special event they attended are always welcome. Your genuine interest—as opposed to being nosey—causes people to feel valued and cared about. Demonstrate this interest regularly by asking questions such as, “How did Akua’s birthday party turn out this weekend?”

Offer flexible scheduling.

Since work coverage is critical, post a calendar so people can balance their time off with that of their coworkers. Allow employees to choose time or days off. This is a much better solution than the manager picking and choosing who gets time off and when. Remember that a flexible work schedule is a benefit that employees desire all of the time.

Present a personalized gift.

Know your coworker’s interests well enough to present a small gift occasionally. An appreciated gift and the gesture of providing it will light up your coworker’s day. A greeting card serves the same purpose. You can give a card for no reason at all, to celebrate a special day such as a birthday, or to offer sympathy when a coworker is ill or experiences a family death. 

Provide financial incentives.

End of the year bonuses, performance based incentives, quarterly bonuses, and gift certificates say “thank you” very nicely.

Colleague day / night out

Take your colleagues out on special occasion, or for no reason at all. Let them pick the restaurant. Or, order pizza for lunch from a caterer or a restaurant that delivers. Schedule a brunch for a team that has met its current goals and over-delivers on its promised timeline.

Bring in little surprises.

Offerings such as biscuits or cakes, particularly anything that you have baked personally, are a huge hit. Sharing chocolates is another hit. Bring chocolate—chocolate anything.

Provide an opportunity for advancement.

People want chances for training and cross-training. They want to participate in a special committee where their talents are noticed. They like to attend professional association meetings and represent your organization at events. Do you only allow executives and top management attend these events? Spread the wealth of opportunity to all employees. They will genuinely appreciate the opportunities.