Why & How to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Health & Wellness

Should you reward your employees for going above and beyond their work duties? The short answer is yes. Showing your appreciation to those who go the extra mile for your company is generally a good idea.

But the question is how? Employees are different, so there's no one-size-fits-all to recognising people's good work. For some, the smallest gestures or a token of thanks go far, while others might expect small rewards such as cash, a half-day or the gift of food.

While employees should feel valued and valuable every working day, there's one day of the year, Employee Appreciation Day, when you should be paying your staff extra attention to their accomplishments and contributions.

We've devised a list of unique ideas for Employee Appreciation Day 2022.

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day is an unofficial holiday observed on the first Friday in March. This year, Employee Appreciation Day falls on Friday, the 4th of March.

Discussions to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day were initiated by Bob Nelson, founding board member of Recognition Professionals International, in the mid-1990s.

He believed that since National Bosses Day, a day where employees celebrate their bosses, had been around since the late 1950s, it was high time for employees to have that appreciation reciprocated.

In 1995, the first Employee Appreciation Day was celebrated.

Employee Appreciation Day is an unofficial holiday observed on the first Friday in March.

Why Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?

"Why should I celebrate my employees when they get paid for what they do"? If you think like this, you probably need to change your mindset.

Employees form the backbone of any company. Without them, businesses would cease to operate successfully. To quote Richard Branson on taking care of your employees, "healthy, competitive employees are your competitive advantage".

The value of kindness and appreciation is immeasurable in the workplace and can massively impact staff morale. While your staff members probably don't expect thanks for everything they do, employee recognition for significant accomplishments matter.

As we continue to work through a pandemic, it's essential to appreciate your staff and listen to their needs during these trying times where fatigue and complacency over the ongoing situation are rife.

Companies are also battling against 'The Great Resignation', a relatively new term prompted by the pandemic and new ways of working. It refers to record-breaking numbers of people quitting their jobs for greener pastures that are more attainable.

With the rise of remote work and a record number of new jobs materialising, it's become easier for people to switch jobs if they're not made to feel like assets within their current roles or have their needs unmet.

Appreciating your staff, acknowledging what they do, and being more flexible on Employee Appreciation Day and every other day is likely to keep your team engaged, happy and loyal to your company for the long term.

Quick, Simple And Free Ways To Show You Care

Do you find yourself in a predicament where you want to express your gratitude to your hard-working team but don't have the budget for something big?

You don't need to spend exorbitantly to show your employees they matter with these ideas.

Show Your Love On Social Media

A shoutout on Instagram or Facebook that highlights your staff members' important contributions will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. Consider this a virtual pat on the pack for hard work done.

Adding a picture of your staff members or listing fun facts about them will personalise your social media posts.

A shoutout on Instagram or Facebook that highlights your staff members' important contributions will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Say Thank You

Saying thank you for completing tasks is the easiest way of displaying your appreciation, and the intended recipients will welcome these positive platitudes. But during busy times, such gestures can fall by the wayside and might be replaced by rude, blunt and dismissive tones and behaviour that lowers morale.

Making an effort to be kind during highly stressful periods will keep your staff motivated to perform well and generate the same high quality of work.

Saying thanks can take different forms - communicate it in real-time, over email or a post-it note on someone's computer monitor.

Saying thanks can take different forms - communicate it in real-time, over email or a post-it note on someone's computer monitor.

Learn People's Names

It's not always possible to learn everyone's names in big companies, but remembering the select few who've contributed the most in their respective departments is feasible.

Knowing they're not just a number is essential to staff members who might otherwise feel overlooked or a mere cog in the machine.

In smaller teams, employers should know their employees on a first-name basis, especially remote workers who are all too often forgotten about.

Remember Birthdays and Milestones

Learning your staff's names is a step in the right direction, but why not also commemorate important dates such as work anniversaries, birthdays, and milestones like the birth of offspring or romantic engagements?

Celebrating these dates reveals that you care about your staff members.

Public, Company-Wide Acknowledgement

Has a team in your company landed a major deal or launched a product line hitch-free? These achievements deserve a company-wide acknowledgement and a round of applause with the entire organisation present.

Let Them Work On Passion Projects

Give your staff members the chance to work on additional challenges or projects that pique their interests.

Handing over extra work expresses trust and your faith in their abilities to complete activities outside of the realm of the day-to-day. Additionally, having a passion project to work on is exciting for employees who need a break from their ordinary routine!

Give your staff members the chance to work on additional challenges or projects that pique their interests.

Inexpensive Gifts And Perks

Gifting your staff with cash, food, and benefits may also be appreciated. Take a look at our Employee Recognition Day gift ideas.

Cash Is King

Although giving out small cash rewards isn't exactly creative or innovative, an employee will readily accept extra money for hard work recognised.

Host A Feast

Because your staff might have vastly different interests, gifting your staff with food for performing well is a safe bet.

Everyone like food, and they like a free meal even better. Plus food brings people from different departments together.

Don't forget to ask your staff for their food input - this is a day honouring them after all!

Gift Them With Time

Employee Appreciation Day falls on a Friday this year. Letting employees leave early gives them a hard-earned long weekend.

Letting employees leave early gives them a hard-earned long weekend.

Gift Them With Things They Actually Like/Want/Use

Some greenery on a plant-lovers desk is likely to make their day but might not be the best gift for employees who struggle to keep cacti alive.

Presenting a gift card to a cafe to the employee-of-the-month suits a coffee or tea drinker but might not ideal for someone who prefers drinking fresh juices or smoothies. Post-work drinks are great for those who don't have post-work responsibilities but might not fit working parents' schedules.

Get a better sense of who your employees are before giving something they don't like or have no use for.

Prioritise Their Health, Wellness and Work-Life Balance

Lots of companies have health and fitness programmes set up for their staff, which might include stocking the kitchen with healthy snacks, offering onsite yoga or HIIT workouts, or providing access to the building's fitness centre for heavily discounted rates.

One way to appreciate your staff is to find ways of maintaining their health and happiness while working.

If bringing in a trainer, adding rooms for meditation, or napping isn't possible, consider extending their lunch break, offering flexible hours or loading up the staff kitchen with healthy snacks.

...consider extending their lunch break, offering flexible hours or loading up the staff kitchen with healthy snacks.

Ideas For Splashing Out

If you can, why not show your generosity for your team's hard work? These are the ways you can go big for Employee Appreciation Day 2022.

Throw A Surprise Party

An employee burning the midnight oil for the company's advancement deserves more than a metaphorical thumbs up or pat on the back for the extra hours in the office or slumped over a laptop.

Arranging a party is an unexpected but appreciated way to give thanks while letting them have fun.

Arrange A Getaway

Annual retreat, anyone? Now that team getaways are back on the cards, a trip to a relaxing destination is an incredible reward for a successful business year for the entire organisation.

Plus, it can double as a team building event to strengthen the relationships between departments!

Now that team getaways are back on the cards, a trip to a relaxing destination is an incredible reward for a successful business year for the entire organisation.

Appreciate Your Employees You Care Regularly

It's a fact: employees that feel cared for, looked after and appreciated will perform better and work harder than expected.

Don't limit the times you display appreciation. Instead, commend people's hard work and commitment when praise is due.

By showing them that they are seen, you'll find that your employees will make bigger sacrifices and give 110% of their time and energy.

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