Five Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

Five Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day | HqO
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Showing employees they are appreciated is good for morale and for business. It’s especially relevant in 2022 as employers struggle to hire and retain staff amid the Great Resignation.

Though reports show that a lack of appreciation is the number one reason employees quit their jobs, creating a culture of appreciation and recognition is relatively easy to achieve compared to other employee demands such as pay, work hours, or remote work preferences.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how a company should demonstrate appreciation, but research shows that a little recognition goes a long way. For example, in a recent survey of healthcare workers, simply saying ‘thank you’ boosted employee satisfaction. The survey also indicates that it’s not enough to make grand gestures on an annual basis. Instead, “for gratitude to work its magic and give essential workers the energy to go on, the key is to practice it regularly.” 

To help boost morale and keep employee engagement high, here are five simple ways to say thank you to the workforce this Employee Appreciation Day (March 4th).

Host a Group Meal

Even with a hybrid workforce, you can still have fun with a group mealtime. For those in the office, you can cater breakfast or lunch while providing time and space for employees to socialize. Having teams eat together is an excellent way for the workforce to stay connected and form deeper social bonds.

Don’t worry – those who work remotely can also participate. Think of them by sending meal deliveries or providing gift certificates for food. Additionally, you can host a Zoom happy hour so your remote workers can connect in a more casual, social setting. Consider teaming with local restaurants or service providers to create a positive ripple effect that benefits employees and local small businesses

Donate to Employees’ Charity of Choice

For companies whose workforce is already well-incentivized or that offer frequent appreciation programming, consider giving back in other ways. Donating to charities on an employee’s behalf lets your employee feel empowered — as they are the ones doing the research and choosing the charity — and it helps build the foundations of a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. 

It also builds employee loyalty. Recently 71% of surveyed employees responded that “it is imperative or very important to work where culture is supportive of giving and volunteering.”

Provide Time for Employee Wellbeing

According to recent Gallup research, “the impact of wellbeing extends far beyond how people feel — it affects the number of sick days employees take, their job performance, burnout, and the likelihood of leaving your organization.” Workplace wellbeing is also critical for Gen Z and Millennial employees who overwhelmingly say that their number one concern is working for an organization that cares about employee wellbeing.

Make employee self-care a priority by creating a workplace wellbeing day. This can take the form of yoga or health classes, employer-sponsored massages, fitness classes, healthy cooking classes, or even a day off to recharge. For long-term mental and physical wellness, consider ongoing programming and office policies like meeting-free days or no email after hours guidelines to keep burnout and stress at bay. 

Reward Employees

Even small rewards create a positive impact. In addition to showing gratitude through verbal praise, give employees small gifts or rewards to show appreciation. Gift cards, coffee, or free lunch are low-effort but provide big benefits. 

Don’t overlook team rewards. A night out with co-workers, or programming such as trivia, escape room afternoons, or more energetic outdoor outings have double the positive impact. They’ll help with team building and employee morale, and they reflect employer goodwill and appreciation. Such activities can easily be planned in partnership with best-in-class service and workplace experience providers. 

Launch a Formal Employee Recognition Program

Keep the positive workplace experiences going year-round by creating an ongoing employee recognition program. The benefits of these programs are “low cost and but provide high impact,” according to a Gallup survey. Like other studies have mentioned, the most important aspect is to make recognition a daily or weekly occurrence instead of periodical announcements such as an employee of the quarter program.

Some companies take an every-day-is-recognition-day approach by creating Slack channels to let co-workers or managers give positive shoutouts daily. Likewise, other companies give spot bonuses to publicly acknowledge a person’s exceptional work or showcase how someone on the team has gone above and beyond. The biggest tip is that these programs should be consistent and well-defined as part of a larger incentive plan. 

Want to keep the appreciation flowing? Download our guide, Investing in Employee Experience, to learn how technology can enhance employee experiences and make it easier to show employee appreciation every day.

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