Artwork by Danielle Kroll / www.hellodaniellekroll.com
Friday, March 7th is Employee Appreciation Day!
Since 1995, the first Friday of March is a day when companies and organizations take time out from their day-to-day business to celebrate their employeesby showing special appreciation.
Although there are companies that believe in a day of gift giving or the handing out of annual bonuses, employee recognition can be shown in a wide variety of ways. Employee Appreciation Day could actually become the centerpiece of an employee recognition program – and that doesn’t have to cost an arm-and-a-leg. It was John F. Kennedy that said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Why is acknowledging your employees so vital to a business?
In this busy and hectic world, it seems that many people feel overworked and under-appreciated. With the economic rollercoaster of the last few years, employees have been working longer hours or working several jobs just to make ends-meat. For many, the fear of layoffs, pay cuts or salary freezes has created major concern and increased stress. A simple word of encouragement or appreciation from management can be a great morale booster and welcome motivator to any employee – regardless of their role in the company.
Although employees are compensated for their work, we all know that they contribute much more to the business than what they are paid. Employees are truly the heart of any business. Disgruntled or apathetic employees will suck the energy out of the workplace while engaged employees add tremendous value by passing on their enthusiasm to co-workers, management and customers. Yes, engaged employees do boost the bottom line!
Recent polls have shown that only 29% of employees in a typical company are actively engaged in their job. Employees that feel they have a positive personal relationship with their managers are most likely to be engaged. Companies that organize get-togethers for their people provide opportunities for employees to connect with both their peers and their management. In own personal experience I have seen how monthly ‘mingles’ kept the team going strong – even during VERY challenging times. It bonded us so well that all these years later there are still a hardcore group of us that enjoy bi-annual ‘mingles’!
Employee Appreciation Day brings the subject of staff recognition to the forefront on this one day a year however consider this – by acknowledging employee contributions on a regular basis how will this add to defining a solid corporate culture? It is truly amazing to see how regular and affordable staff appreciation efforts has the abiolity to effectively increase employee engagement – specifically by building stronger and healthier work teams.
Yes, Bosses will have their day to shine too. It’s only fair and appropriate that their day will happen in October. Funny thing – isn’t it interesting that these two days are six months apart?
How can your company acknowledge Employee Appreciation Day this year? Here are 15 suggestions to consider –
- Set up a group meeting that provides your employees with a VOICE and really listen to their comments
- Have a lunch delivered – it’s a little early for the office BBQ
- Throw a pizza lunch party
- Plan an appreciation party at the office with a potluck lunch prepared and served by management
- If the team is small, head out to a convenient lunch location
- Do something fun – after work bowling, matinee movie, start your own company Olympics with crazy office friendly events
- Plan a surprise celebration. Arrange a visit by a comedian, schedule a murder mystery, etc.
- Leave a hand written thank you note of appreciation on each desk before employees arrive in the morning
- Send a company-wide email showing genuine appreciation
- Give everyone a Starbucks gift card
- Offer employees an extra-long lunch break
- Have a masseuse come in and offer everyone a ten minute neck massage
- Provide each employee with a motivational quote or inspiring message
- Set out afternoon coffee break snacks, donuts, cakes or other munchies with special coffees and teas
- Arrange an end-of-day Happy Hour get-together @ 4:00 pm to toast your staff and offer appies
Cash doesn’t last and, in this circumstance, it definitely isn’t king. Wouldn’t it make sense to consider the long term benefits of creating a meaningful and memorable employee appreciation day? One that will leave a lasting impression and be looked forward to the next year?
Acknowledging and celebrating Friday, March 7th demonstrates to your employees how much they are valued every day, and especially on Employee Appreciation Day!
“Appreciate everything your associates do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.”
~ Sam Walton, founder of Walmart