Our philosophy at Ceca Foundation is simple: All employees have a fundamental need for appreciation.

Recognizing caregivers is near and dear to our hearts, and it is our organizational mission. We know from experience that appreciation and recognition positively impacts the individual employee, those they work with, and, in healthcare, those they care for. The science behind employee recognition is overwhelmingly vast and proves there is tremendous benefit to recognizing your employees and fellow co-workers.

And let’s be honest, as the pandemic and burnout drag on, healthcare workers need the thanks and celebration that they got at the beginning.

While we advocate for employee recognition every day, it is worth taking advantage of the momentum for Employee Appreciation Week—just around the corner from February 28 to March 4, 2022—to let your fellow teammates know how much they are appreciated.

Here are some of our favorite (and budget-friendly) tips for making a fun celebration:

1. Public recognition

One of the most budget-friendly ways to show staff appreciation is through public recognition. Use your website, social media (using these hashtags), internal TVs (and CecaTVs for those that partner with Ceca Foundation), short videos, newsletter, or emails to send out messages of appreciation for your team members.

2. Personal recognition

Research shows that 75% of people hold on to personal thank you notes. Encourage all of your management team members to pick an employee or two and have them write a personal thank you note. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be genuine and thoughtful.

3. Food (of course 😊)

What is a celebration without some kind of food to bring people together? It’s basically human nature to convene around food, but it doesn’t always have to be a full meal provided by the company or ordering 50 pizzas to feed everyone. Other fun ideas might be a dessert/candy bar, build-your-own ice cream sundae bar, volunteer potluck, and cook-off challenges.

4. Concert or music

If you’ve got the hookup to a local band or quartet, why not ask them to come play for a bit? Have a talented singer on staff? Ask them to sing a number or two. And if you don’t have the connections, just playing some groovy tunes on an inexpensive wireless speaker does the job too. Our guess is the music will draw people in as quickly as the food, and depending on your facility, you may draw smiles from some residents or patients too.

5. Guest speaker

Consider bringing someone in that people want to hear from. Whether it’s a charismatic motivational speaker, a figurehead from the local community, or a top leadership person from your network, send out some feelers and invite someone to join.

6. Games

From childhood favorites like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Guess How Many in the Jar, and scavenger hunts, to team-building board or card games, anything is on the table. We recognize that healthcare workers can’t sit down to play 2-hour strategy games, so keep it simple to participate. And if you have a facility where you can get residents or patients involved in the fun, why not?

7. Photo booth

People love having their pictures taken, especially with friends while having a good time. Photo booths can be as simple as a fun-colored backdrop, silly props to hold, and an appointed photographer to capture the moments. Bonus: You then have a wealth of content to share on your TVs, social media, and newsletters.

8. Raffle

Create a blind raffle for something more substantial like a $50-100 gift card, extra paid day off, lunch with the CEO, coveted parking spot, personal project time, etc. The possibilities for what you can raffle off are limitless and can be customized to the things that your employees care about the most. Ensure participation is easy, doesn’t cost anything, and is fair–allowing everyone (on all shifts) to participate.


The beauty of Employee Appreciation Celebrations is that they can be anything you want them to be or focus on the things that matter most to your employees. If your organization is genuine in the offering and encourages participation from everyone, they will come.

Whether you are able to do all of these things or only one of them, our point is: Do something. Trust us, the time and effort will be worth the payoff.