Today, March 7, is Employee Appreciation Day.
When was the last time you showed your employees you appreciate their efforts? What form did it take? Have you ever really put some thought into what appreciation means and how it can transform the workplace?
Do not fret if you haven’t ordered pizza or a cake, bought a stack of gift cards or lottery tickets, designed t-shirts or “Well Done!” coffee mugs.
Call a team meeting and thank everyone for their contributions. Make the time to sit down with as many of your direct reports as possible and tell them how valuable they are to the company. Ask them how their families are, what they want to learn in the next year, where they see themselves five years from now.
If you don’t have time today to chat with everyone today, let them know you will do it soon. And follow through on the promise.
Employee Appreciation Day has been observed only since 1995, when a founding board member of Recognition Employees International and Workman Publishing decided it was time to devote a day – the first Friday in March – to recognizing employees across all industries. (National Bosses’ Day, on the other hand, started in 1958).
Yet we’ve learned a great deal about recognition in the workplace since 1995. Globoforce conducts a twice yearly “Mood Tracker” survey that looks at how employees feel about various aspects of their jobs. Among the findings in recent years:
- 4 of 10 employees plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months and lack of effective recognition is a key reason.
- 82 percent of survey respondents say recognition motivates them. Nearly 6 of 10 say their productivity increases with recognition.
- Words of recognition are better than nothing but employees prefer a reward of some kind accompany appreciation.
- The more frequent employees are recognized the more satisfied and engaged they become.
True employee appreciation goes beyond gold watches, coveted parking spots, pizza parties and morning donuts. Recognition programs work best when linked to organizational values and company culture. Like links in a strong chain, recognition, appreciation, feedback, coaching and professional development together create a foundation for individual as well as company growth.
Yes, developing a workplace culture where employees feel valued and appreciated takes more than a day.
But today would be a good day to start.