5 Unconventional Ways to Say Thank You to Your Team (Without Breaking the Bank)

When was the last time you said "Thank You" to your team? Here are 5 fun ways to make it…

By Ivana Taylor

Published on January 16, 2024

In This Article

These are the perfect ways to say thank you to your team if you don’t have a lot of money.

Ever wonder why some teams click while others clunk? In my 35-year journey through the maze of virtual and multifunctional work teams, I’ve uncovered a secret ingredient: it’s not just about who’s on your team, but how you ignite their willingness to go above and beyond. Let me share some unique ways to express gratitude that do more than just say ‘thanks’ – they transform your team’s energy and enthusiasm.

You know that a happy team is the secret sauce to a thriving business. But let’s face it, in the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurial life, showing appreciation can sometimes slip down the priority list. Fear not, for I’m here to share some quirky, cost-effective, and downright delightful ways to show gratitude to your team. Let’s dive into the world of creative appreciation – where a little goes a long way!

1. The Unexpected Treat Drop: The Art of Surprise Snacking

candy in can - ways to say thank you
Photo by Roseanna Smith on Unsplash

Who doesn’t love a surprise, especially when it involves food? Here’s the twist: ditch the usual doughnuts and go local. Partner with a local bakery or a food truck to deliver surprise treats to your team. Maybe it’s Taco Tuesday or Waffle Wednesday, but the key is unpredictability. The surprise element adds an extra layer of excitement and shows that you’re thinking about your team even when they least expect it.

Key Takeaway: Surprise treats are not just about the food; they’re a signal that you care about your team’s day-to-day experience.

2. Personalized Shout-Outs: Harnessing the Power of Social Media

girl playing guitar near wall
Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

In the digital age, appreciation can go viral (in a good way). Create a monthly social media shout-out for your team members. But here’s the catch – make it personal. Did Sarah from accounting run a marathon? Did Joe in marketing volunteer over the weekend? Highlight their achievements outside of work. It shows that you value them as people, not just as employees.

Key Takeaway: Personal shout-outs on social media celebrate your team’s individuality and achievements beyond the office walls.

3. “Behind-the-Scenes” Day: Swapping Roles


This one’s a gem: Once in a while, switch roles with your employees for a day or a few hours. It’s a fun, eye-opening experience that shows your willingness to walk in their shoes. Plus, it’s a great way to understand their challenges and appreciate their contributions at a deeper level. Imagine the CEO taking customer calls or the manager doing the mail run – it’s a humble pie served with a side of laughter and learning.

Key Takeaway: Role-swapping is not just fun; it’s an empathy-building exercise that fosters mutual respect and understanding.

4. The “Little Things” Jar: Collecting Kudos

silver ring on clear glass jar
Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

Here’s a simple yet powerful idea – set up a “Little Things” jar in the office. Encourage team members to drop notes of thanks or appreciation for small acts of kindness or help they received from their colleagues. At the end of each month, read the notes in a team meeting. It’s a heartwarming way to acknowledge the everyday heroes in your team.

Key Takeaway: The “Little Things” jar isn’t just about recognition; it’s about building a culture of mutual appreciation and support.

5. Skill-Share Sessions: Celebrate and Learn

macbook pro displaying group of people
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Everyone has a hobby or a skill they’re passionate about. Set up monthly “Skill-Share” sessions where team members can teach something they love, whether it’s a yoga class, a photography workshop, or a coding tutorial. It’s a great way to learn about each other’s interests and talents, and it can be a refreshing break from the regular work routine.

Key Takeaway: Skill-Share sessions are more than just learning opportunities; they are a platform for team members to showcase their passions and strengths, building a more connected and versatile team.

And That’s a Wrap – in Gratitude Paper!

So there you have it, five out-of-the-box ways to say thank you to your team. Remember, it’s not about grand gestures or hefty price tags; it’s about sincerity, creativity, and a dash of fun. By implementing these ideas, you’re not just thanking your team; you’re cultivating a vibrant, supportive, and deeply connected work culture. And the best part? You’ll likely find that this culture of gratitude doesn’t just make your team happier – it makes your business stronger, too.

In the end, gratitude is the glue that binds a team together. It’s the acknowledgement that every person and every role is vital to the success of the enterprise. So go ahead, sprinkle some appreciation around – it’s the kind of investment that pays off in smiles, loyalty, and a thriving business.

Don’t forget, showing gratitude is an ongoing journey, not a one-time event. Keep your eyes peeled for those daily opportunities to express thanks and make your team feel like the superheroes they are. After all, a little ‘thank you’ can go a long way in writing the success story of your business.

Happy team-building, and stay grateful!