Why is National Employee Appreciation Day important?

JetPay Communications

March 1, 2019

A holiday for those who work hard.

National Employee Appreciation Day is a non-official holiday that gives management an opportunity to show their appreciation for all the people they employ. It’s observed on the first of March in the US, Canada and the UK. It’s purpose is fairly self explanatory, to thank employees for all their hard work, demonstrate that their actions are not taken for granted and, ultimately, strengthen the bond between the employee and employer.

The first Employee Appreciation Day took place in 1995 and was created by the “Guru of Thank You,” Dr. Bob Nelson. Dr. Nelson was a large part of creating a “culture of recognition” in the workplace in 1994. He has published several books discussing ways to reward and recognize employees in the workplace and has given many lectures pushing the same topic. Passionate about helping people understand the power of recognition, he has pushed Employee Appreciation Day into the spotlight where more and more companies have taken this opportunity to showcase their employees hard work.

The importance of “thank you.”

With an ever growing number of opportunities for employees, it’s important to provide different types of motivation for them to remain loyal to your company. You may already have great onboarding and training programs, but it’s important to continue developing the employee relationship past the beginning of their employment. Appreciation is a fundamental human need. Employees need to be respected and valued by others for their contributions. It can be easy for people to get into a slump and feel unmotivated about their work. However, genuine appreciation can work as a great way to renew motivation in work.

Productivity is bound to rise if employees feel that their efforts are recognized. In order to appreciate employees there are two important steps: pay attention and recognize when they do something noteworthy and then thank them for their work. While this seems simple enough, it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of your own work and forget to pay attention to work going on around you. Here are just a few of the benefits that come with going out of your way to recognize good work:

When employees feel recognized they are more likely to stay with your company.

The cost of hiring and training a new person can be as high as $4,129 and take more than 40 days to get them to the level of the previous employee. Many employees leave their company because they feel unappreciated. This is a price many companies can’t afford and recognition is an easy to to avoid it.

Trust in leadership.

A successful company relies on a strong foundation of trust between top level decision makers and the people who are charged with implementing such decisions. However, that trust isn’t always easy to come by and requires both employees and employers to take a leap of faith. A great way to start building this trust is by thanking your employees – demonstrating that the leadership team is paying attention to them and, overall, building a stronger connection between them and leadership.

Recognized employees are happier employees.

Happy employees lead to productive employees. There are many benefits to creating a positive atmosphere, such as your brain working better when you are feeling positive and people being more willing to dedicate themselves to their work if it makes them happy. Only 10% of employees are engaged at work, and a majority of working adults aren’t happy in work. While all of the responsibility does not lie on the employer, there are small things they can do to show appreciation and make employees happier – such as demonstrate they appreciate their dedication.

Celebrate hard work.

It may seem overwhelming to create a more positive, appreciative work culture, but it’s more about consistent genuine steps of acknowledgment than a huge grand gesture.
Try adopting one or two of the following to start showing your appreciation.

  • Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries
    • While this may seem too difficult if you have a large staff, try having a monthly birthday and anniversary celebration, just be sure the mention everyone who is being honored. A celebration of years spent at a company is particularly important today as employees are likely to leave after a year of employment, so don’t let an anniversary go unnoticed.
  • Have a trophy
    • Having a physical prize to give as a recognition of hard work can be motivating. Try implementing a small plaque or parking space for the employee of the month – you’d be surprised how much fun people have competing for it.
  • Go public with appreciation
    • You may work in a large company where it can be difficult to make sure everyone feels appreciated. Try putting up posters of acknowledgment or, better yet, turn to social media! Share a genuine, appreciative post about your employees, it’ll certainly help people feel seen.
  • Thank you notes
    • A tried and true classic, but not to be overlooked. If you have a particularly difficult project and your team dedicated themselves to it, try writing personalized thank you notes to express how much you appreciate them.
  • Treats
    • Everyone gets into a work slump after some time, try to break up the monotony with catered breakfast or lunch, you can tie it to a fun holiday or use it as a “thank you” for working for the company. There’s nothing like delicious food to boost morale!
  • Encourage continued education
    • Either help pay for educational events or give staff time to attend educational events. Investing in your employees helps them feel valued and worthwhile. It’s important to reward a drive for education and improvement because in the end it benefits both the employee and your company.
  • Have a lunch and learn
    • This can be a great way for employees to get to know your company better and truly invest themselves into making it a better place. It can foster a greater understanding and patience between different departments who may not have had a great understanding of each other prior.
  • Say “thank you”
    • Something as simple as thanking someone can help change the culture in a company. No matter what the task is that you ask for, be sure to remember to appreciate the time and effort put forth.
  • Survey staff (ask how they would like to be appreciated)
    • If you are unsure how your employees would feel most appreciated, consider a survey to figure it out. Your employees are sure to be happy that you were considerate enough to consider their input.
  • Celebrate staff appreciation day
    • Take advantage of holidays like National Employee Appreciation Day to recognize hard work.

Overwhelmed by balancing all the challenges that come with hiring, onboarding, training and managing talent? We can help you create a framework for these steps and help you focus on what’s important in your business, while also supporting you throughout your process of implementing talent management strategies.

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