5 Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

A leader seeks to show her team appreciation during Employee Appreciation Day.

Employee Appreciation Day might not be a nationally recognized holiday, but it is the perfect opportunity to show your team how much you value their efforts and dedication to your organization. Originally established in 1995, Employee Appreciation Day is a secular holiday celebrated on the first Friday of March in the U.S. and Canada. This year, it falls on Friday, March 3.

As a leader, you need to understand the importance of showing appreciation for your team members and validating their time and effort. According to GoRemotely, 59% of employees would prefer to work for companies with a rich recognition culture as opposed to jobs with higher salaries that don’t recognize their accomplishments. This being said, the majority of individuals put respect and gratitude above any monetary value. 

Employees want to feel uplifted and encouraged within their company. As the leader, it is your job to not only lead the charge but to facilitate it among your work culture. 

So, here are five ways you can show your team how much you care this Employee Appreciation Day.

1. Offer a heartfelt thank you.

This may seem pretty obvious, but often in the hustle and bustle of things, it can be easy to forget to acknowledge an employee’s hard work on a project. According to a study by GoRemotely, 85% of employees are satisfied with a simple “thank you” for their daily efforts and accomplishments. 

Offering your appreciation and recognition does not have to be anything extravagant. Authentic words of affirmation are often the most effective way to motivate your team. Approximately 40% of employees within the U.S. say that receiving recognition more often would encourage them to work harder and at a higher quality. Taking the time to let your team know that their work has not gone unnoticed can increase the growth of your team members and your company as a whole.

2. Take a break and play some games.

Get everyone in the office together and play a few party games — whether that’s office-themed trivia or Pictionary — it can be the perfect way to unwind and encourage team bonding. 

GoRemotely’s study also found that employees between the ages of 18 and 29 choose quality time as a top means for employee recognition. Giving your team the chance to have some fun and grow more comfortable with each other within the workplace can do wonders for morale. 

3. Take a field trip and get out of the office.

Have a picnic, treat everyone to lunch or participate in an activity, such as bowling, completing an escape room or playing a sport. If you can get your team out of the office and into a new environment, it can give them a chance to truly relax and feel comfortable doing so. 

Creating an opportunity for your team members to be together completely separate from work can show that you truly care about them and their well-being. It demonstrates that you recognize the importance of much-needed rest every once in a while. 

4. Provide new opportunities for growth.

Along with acknowledging their exemplary performance, presenting opportunities for the continuation of their professional growth is another great way to show your appreciation.  

In fact, 47% of employees prefer new growth opportunities as a means of recognition for their accomplishments. The last thing an employee wants is to feel deadlocked or stalemated within your organization. Ensure that you are allowing them the room that they need to grow

5. Give them the day off.

Or even take a half day. One of the best ways to show gratitude for your team’s hard work is to simply give them the gift of free time. Allow them an extra moment to recuperate from the week so that they can come back fully refreshed and ready to grind on Monday. 

The importance of genuinely showing appreciation for your team can often be overlooked and lost in the shuffle. However, the lack of a simple “thank you” can be detrimental. 

Approximately 63% of employees who were appropriately recognized by their supervisors were highly unlikely to quit their jobs. Taking a moment to give each member of your team some well-deserved recognition could make the difference between a satisfied, rooted employee and an employee ready to seek other opportunities.

Do your part as a leader and take the time to truly celebrate and uplift your team this Employee Appreciation Day!

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