With “National Bosses Day” upon us, I began to wonder if there’s a specific day of the year that is set aside to honor and appreciate employees who are not managers. Sure, there’s Labor Day, which focuses on the American labor movement and the contributions that all workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country, but I’m talking about a day to thank your staff by supporting and rewarding them. Certainly, it’s very important to acknowledge the leaders in your organization, but it’s just as critical to express your value and respect to the rest of the company, as well.
When I was a manager, we designated an annual date as our “Team Appreciation Holiday” and celebrated it, accordingly. It really was a big deal with a lot of preparation and fanfare. Some companies use the unofficial “Employee Appreciation Day”, which is typically the first Friday in March. This day was created in 1995 by Bob Nelson, a founding “Recognition Professional International” board member, along with his publishing company, Workmen Publishing. However, you can choose whatever day works best for your employees; it could be a date that is significant in your team’s history, such as when the team was first formed, when they initially had their “go live” date, or some other major event.
So, if you’re a manager looking to implement an annual appreciation day for your employees, here are some ideas and information for your review:
- Send an all-staff “thank you” email to let the company know how much you value your staff, making sure to include your team members’ names.
- Communicate directly to each individual that you appreciate what they do for the organization by either speaking with them face-to-face and/or by handing out personal “thank you” notes to each employee.
- If possible, have a shortened schedule where employees can either come in an hour late or leave an hour early, while still getting paid for a full day.
- Treat your staff to breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Free food is always a must!
- Organize some kind of team-building exercise, as well as take fun pictures to post on the company intranet or social media pages.
- Host an after-work get-together for your staff.
- Ask your employees ahead of time for their suggestions and input.
Managers need to remember that lack of appreciation is the #1 reason that people leave their jobs and is the #1 thing that causes them to do great work. Organizations should step up when it comes to showing appreciation for a job well done. This shouldn’t just be happening once a year on your designated appreciation day, but on a regular basis. It’s similar to only being romantic with your significant other on Valentine’s Day, but not doing anything else the rest of the year. By praising your employees’ achievements and encouraging them to pursue their goals, you not only expand their horizons, but increase their productivity, company loyalty, and job satisfaction.
What are your thoughts? Do you have other suggestions? Do you have any personal stories you are willing to share? Please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences below.
“Appreciation Changes Everything”
“The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Boss”
Jeremy joined Empathia (then NEAS) in 2007 as Manager, Client Care Services, then became an Account Manager/Sales Consultant in 2012. He is also a certified wellness and tobacco cessation coach. Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Organizational Management. Prior to joining Empathia, he spent 14 years in the EAP industry in a variety of managerial/leadership roles with another behavioral healthcare organization. Jeremy enjoys reading, photography, music, and spending time with his wife and daughters.