Employee Appreciation Day is a secular holiday celebrated on the first Friday in March in some countries like the United States and Canada. It is an “unofficial” holiday created in 1995, as a day for companies to thank their employees for their hard work and effort they have put into throughout the year.
Employee appreciation Day was created by Bob Nelson, a founding Recognition Professional International board member, together with his publishing company, Workman Publishing. The purpose of Employee Appreciation Day is also to strengthen the bond between employer and employee.
Employee Appreciation Day has become an opportunity for managers and supervisors of companies to remember the importance of appreciating their employees. Companies often celebrate by offering gifts, organising small events or special recognition for their workers. It is a growing importance of recognising and appreciating employees as it drives and motivates them to work harder and better. Let us not forget the happiness at the workplace and employee engagement that would improve upon any employee recognition.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
– Richard Branson
More companies and organisations are using Employee Appreciation Day to thank their employees as it increases employee job satisfaction. The holiday is also to remind employers to recognise and reward their employees’ effort and to offer tips for building a stronger corporate culture through employee appreciation.
Ways to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day
Below we have listed five different ways to demonstrate to your employees how much you appreciate them.
Celebrate with food
What better way to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day, than by getting out of the office and having a good time after work with your employees?
You can plan an after work dinner where the rest of the employees could also mingle and get to know each other outside the workplace. You could also schedule lunch dates with employees during Employee Appreciation Day. Give them an opportunity to select the place or the restaurant and use the time to simply get to know your employees better.
Feed the staff day
Employee Appreciation Day always falls on a Friday (I don’t think that is a coincidence!) and there is no better way to celebrate the holiday and end of the workweek than with some form of happy hour! Take a break, socialise, relax and celebrate all of the hard work your employees have done so far.
The more people enjoy their time at work, the better the atmosphere at the workplace will be. This results in increases to productivity and collaboration, which ultimately results in a less stressful work environment.
So gather your team together after work by organising barbeque and drinks where your employees can truly unwind. Take this opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work and efforts they have put into and thank them for a job well done.
Gift of wellness
Why not give the gift of wellness to your employees for Employee Appreciation Day by looking after their wellness? Give your employees a complimentary pass to a nearby yoga studio or gym. As we all know, healthy employees are productive workers.
Go an extra mile by getting them a pedometer such as a Fitbit Charge to help remind them to stay healthy and active, especially during stressful time. You could even make it into a little competition by monitoring their steps weekly and giving the employee with the most steps each month an incentive like the best parking spot at the office or a hamper of goodies.
Gift vouchers and hampers
Another way to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day is awarding employees with gift vouchers like a shopping spree at a local department store or even grocery store for their weekly grocery shopping.
Try gathering your employees together during morning tea and give out hampers to your employees and at the same time, acknowledging their work in front of their peers. Identify something specific that each of your employees has done, which you appreciate.
“Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone’s achievement.”
– President Lyndon Johnson
Make it personal
Make it personal when celebrating Employee Appreciation Day by including your employees’ family. Find something for the family – a bouquet of flowers, a hamper of fruits and cookies or even a picnic basket so that your employee could take their family to the park and spend some quality time together.
Behind every employee is a spouse, a loved one or a family that they lean on for personal moral support or encouragement. By making it personal, it shows that you not only care about them but about the people that are important to them as well.
You can see other suggestions for appreciation in our post, 7 awesome methods for employee recognition.
Employee Appreciation Day is the ideal occasion to recognise your staff and encourage them to reach their potential. At times, celebrating Employee Appreciation Day in just one day is not good enough. You do not have to wait for that one day to show your appreciation to your employees. Do random acts of appreciation throughout the year, like taking the whole company out for ice cream midday or bringing in cupcakes for afternoon tea for everyone in the office or for their birthdays.
Take time throughout the year to make their employees feel valued and try to keep everyone up to date on everything going on with the company, new software, new procedures, new products or things that are happening at current. When you keep your employees updated, they would feel the importance of their presence in the company.
Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with your dream team and remember that your company could not do it without your faithful and hardworking employees!