Employee Appreciation Day is an unofficial holiday observed on the first Friday of March, falling on March 3rd this year. It was the brainchild of Bob Nelson, one of Recognition Professionals International’s founding board members. Nelson collaborated with his publishing company, Workman Publishing, to make the holiday appear prominently on workplace calendars starting in 1995.
The idea of reserving an entire day to celebrate the achievements of employees was not novel but putting a semi-official date on calendars sparked an employee recognition movement that persists today. Over the last 25 years, Employee Appreciation Day has grown into a respected tradition in the US, with several publications like Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and Boston.com regularly writing about the holiday.
Employee Appreciation Day is one of the best annual opportunities for managers, company leadership, and HR to reinforce the importance of appreciating employees. Recognition and appreciation are top drivers of employee happiness and satisfaction and can have a positive influence on everything from recruitment to turnover.
Here are some ways to celebrate:
Virtual Happy Hour – Hosting a happy hour or similar virtual event is becoming one of the most efficient ways to celebrate and bond with coworkers separated by distance. Employee Appreciation Day is a fun and informal opportunity to toast to success.
Care Packages – Themed care packages are always fun and allow a lot of room to be creative. Give gifts, snacks, and candy, and add in company-branded swag for some extra memorability and brand connection.
Special Recognition – For companies with enterprise recognition systems, creating an event-specific award initiative for Employee Appreciation Day is another engaging way to spread recognition across an entire workforce.
Video Message – Video messages from leadership generally have a higher engagement rate among employees than emails and are a useful mass communication tool for delivering messages with more of a human touch.
Gift Cards – Gift cards to popular retailers and websites are a great way show appreciation to everyone on the team, and instant delivery options make them a versatile reward that’s easily distributed companywide.
Personal Call – Phone calls are becoming increasingly rare and taking a minute to reach out to employees for a quick thanks over the phone is easy and thoughtful.
Whether you’re working today or you’ve got the day off - we appreciate you and your efforts :)