A selection of gestures for meaningful Employee Appreciation

A Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM study found that organizations with employee recognition programs observed a lower turnover rate than those without such programs. Lack of recognition is a significant factor in why workers leave their jobs, contributing to the rise of attrition rates. According to a survey by Achievers, 82% of employees feel they want more recognition for their work. Most businesses use some form of recognition. Yet, with inadequate or meaningful programs, many companies find impactful employee appreciation unexplored.


Employee Appreciation Day

Bob Nelson, one of the founding members of Recognition Professionals International, created Employee Appreciation Day in 1995. It was a day to celebrate the publication of his book 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees. It was also a day to remind managers about the importance of showing employees they are valued. Since then, Employee Appreciation Day has been observed each year on the first Friday in March. A day to show appreciation for employees’ work and contributions to the success of an organization.

A growing number of companies have embraced this occasion. They commemorate the successes and achievements of their staff members with special events, gifts, and surprises. Observing the event offers many advantages for both employees and the organization.  Businesses witness an increase in employee engagement and commitment, improving performance and outcomes. As in a Globoforce survey, 55% of workers stated they would leave their current employer for one that values its workers.

Employees feel recognized and appreciated and remain loyal to the organization. In turn, it reduces turnover and associated costs for the company. Celebrating as a team can improve teamwork and collaboration. Great to build stronger relationships and a more cohesive team. 

According to a survey by Snappy, 91% of employees said receiving a recognition message from their employer made them feel valued and motivated.

Gestures of appreciation

Employee Appreciation Day is a reminder to acknowledge and appreciate employees’ hard work. Organizations that make an effort to show appreciation to their employees tend to have higher employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Companies go above and beyond to communicate gratitude for their employees’ efforts and commitment.

Here are some fun and exciting ideas for the celebrations. Leaders can use these hints to entertain their teams. Give employees the appreciation they deserve on a day specially marked to recognize them.

  1. Arrange a special meal: Treat your team to a breakfast or a lunch to express appreciation and celebrate the day. It can be a catered event or a potluck where everyone brings their favourite dishes.
  2. Host a team-building activity: Plan a team-building activity or event. Activities such as a scavenger hunt, escape room or bowling encourage bonding and boost morale.
  3. Have an appreciation meeting: Host a team gathering where you publicly thank and honor each team member for their devotion and diligence.
  4. Give personalized gifts: Present personalized gift hampers that show appreciation and care for each team member. It can be anything from a coffee mug with their name or a gift card to their preferred restaurant.
  5. Deck up their workstation: Employee Appreciation Day is perfect for perking up your employees’ workspace. Pick up some fresh flowers for the office. Or bring in new art as decor.
  6. Create a recognition board: Display a recognition board where team members can write appreciation and acknowledgment notes to one another. Peer-to-peer recognition helps to create a positive culture of appreciation within the team.
  7. Organize a team outing: Plan a team outing. A trip to a museum, sporting event or amusement park shows your appreciation and allows your team to have some fun together.
  8. Give bonuses or raises: Offer bonuses or raises to recognize your team’s hard work and dedication. Announce the rewards along with festivities to up the excitement levels.
  9. Provide a professional development opportunity: Organize training sessions or conferences for career development opportunities. Turn the day into a productive time and help your team members grow their skills and knowledge.
  10. Write personal thank-you notes:Pen personal thank-you notes to each team member. Express gratitude for their contributions and hard work, and look forward to a long association.
  11. For the hybrid workforce: Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day for a hybrid workforce can be challenging. But you can always host virtual events such as a video conference. That way, it is easy to recognize and appreciate your employees, even if they are working remotely.
  12. Personalized thank-you notes: Send personalized thank-you notes to each employee, expressing gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Do it through email or postal mail for personal effect.
  13. Send customized gifts: Mail personalized Employee Appreciation Day gifts to the hybrid workforce. You can also provide e-gifts, cards or prizes and celebrate the day by unboxing the surprise in a virtual meeting
  14. Provide extra time off: Offer your team members some time off, or a half-day or a full day. The day is observed on a Friday, so time off can be a perfect reason for a getaway and give them time to relax and recharge.
  15. Give fun titles: Give fun titles to employees per their personality and influence and involvement with the team. Prepare title badges and let employees wear them proudly for the whole day.
  16. Create a selfie corner: Design an exciting selfie corner, and put together some fun over-the-top props and wigs. Employees will remember the day with memorable moments and pictures.
  17. Provide tasty treats: Treat employees with something special on Employee Appreciation Day – Goodies and fun treats, doughnuts, pizzas, ice cream, or healthy snacks anything you know your employees will love to gorge on.
  18. Recognition from the leaders: A special acknowledgement and words of praise from the higher-ups would surely motivate the employees. Invite executives to visit and give employees a heartfelt thank you message.
  19. Let them indulge in creativity: Show your employees that you appreciate their creative side by giving them an hour to work on any project. They may work individually or collaborate, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.
  20. Have a hobby day: Let employees delight in some fun hobbies with a workshop on painting, cooking, flower arrangement, or craft. Suggest options and let employees select and sign up for their preferred activity beforehand to ensure everyone participates in an activity.
  21. Give back to society: Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect occasion to volunteer. Cook and serve those in need. Bring joy to seniors or children at a homeless shelter or senior living community.
  22. Prepare surprise Gift bags: Make fun gift bags and include clothing or accessories with the company logo. Add some gift cards for experiences at local restaurants, wellness centers, or coffee shops.
  23. Have team bonding hour: Let the team spend time in a relaxing atmosphere, encouraging positive staff interactions. The informal get-togethers allow team members to reduce stress and contribute to progressive company culture.

Celebrate your employees

Improved performance, engagement, and results are just a few advantages that celebrating Employee Appreciation Day may provide to your teams and the organization. It nurtures a supportive work environment where employees feel respected and optimistic. As a result, they offer superior customer service, which raises client satisfaction and loyalty. Incorporating employee appreciation into your leadership approach frequently, rather than just once a year, is the key to impactful employee appreciation. Consistently recognizing and celebrating your team’s hard work and achievements can help to boost morale, increase productivity, and create a positive workplace culture.

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