5 Ways to Use Employee Appreciation Day

How do you celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day — which takes place in one week on Friday, March 3 — can be like Valentine’s Day for small businesses. Flowers and candies are nice, but the best gifts are the ones that make a powerful statement.

Consider how these companies use Employee Appreciation Day to express what employees mean to them and underscore key values and cultures of their company:

Emphasize Teamwork

Baudville, a company that sells gifts and employee recognition awards, held a Winter Olympic Games. Employees formed teams that competed in six different events for the honor of receiving a gold, silver, or bronze medal (and prizes). It was the perfect way to forge camaraderie and stress the importance of working together in a coordinated way. If you want some ideas for putting together your own Olympics, Baudville provides a free Guide to the Office Games.

Encourage Healthy Habits

Logikcull, a software startup, gave its hard-working employees a Fitbit Charge, a health monitoring device. As CEO Andy Wilson told Inc. Magazine: “Startups are really friggin’ hard. They don’t succeed unless they have good people helping build the startup into a thriving company. A weekend here, a late night there. It adds up. And it can be stressful, resulting in poor health. Now, gadgets won’t solve your poor health, but they do help remind you to get up and move around.” The Fitbits also reminded employees that the company cared about their well-being.

Listen to What They Want

Wiredrive.com, another technology company, used Employee Appreciation Day to provide employees with standing desks. It is something a number of workers had been requesting. But companies don’t need to purchase expensive equipment to show that they listen to workers. Employee Recognition Day could also be the opportunity to implement flex hours or other programs to enhance work-life balance — things that can make a big impact without a huge price tag.

Do Good Together

The ability to make a meaningful contribution is important to many workers, and is especially prized by Millennial workers. Taking that note, companies in Milwaukee used Employee Appreciation Day as a chance to let employees take part in a one-mile walk that supported the American Cancer Society. Showing you care for employees by giving them time to show they care for others makes a powerful statement about your company’s culture and values.

Give Them Your Ear

Sure, it’s fun to rent out a venue and have a huge company party with all the bells and whistles. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can show your appreciation in a less costly, but more meaningful way.

Recognition Professionals International, a professional association, suggests you schedule a lunch date with employees, letting them pick the location, just to get to know them better. Ask about their hopes and dreams, rather than what they’re working on at the moment. You could also send them a hand written note that expresses your appreciation for the work they’ve done. Cite specific accomplishments to show that you are paying attention. If you want to really make an impact, frame the letter.

According to the Harvard Business Review, seven out of 10 employees who report they’ve received some form of appreciation from their supervisors say they’re happy with their jobs. Without that recognition, just 39% say they’re satisfied. Smart companies use Employee Appreciation Day to show what their employees mean to them. Using a large gesture or a small one can have a big impact and build a stronger company culture.

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