What Will You Do For National Employee Appreciation Day?

Yep. It’s that time again,

Some organizations will go all out. They’ll have their senior leaders serve up a pancake and sausage breakfast or other preferred food items. Perhaps the cafeteria has free items to offer employees that day which are paid for by the company. Others will encourage managers and supervisors to be vigilant in taking time out for coffee, doughnuts, and treats. Or perhaps everyone chips in to a potluck to share or brings a side dish for a company/department barbecue.

The first Friday of March is upon us. This Friday is considered one of those nationally declared calendar event days called National Employee Appreciation Day. It is not a day off work but one to remember the importance of appreciating employees and recognizing them for what they do.

What will you do in your organization for National Employee Appreciation Day?

Think About the Following Monday 

These calendared “holidays” are meant to be positive reminders to celebrate the cause or professional group being recognized. However, they can also raise a cynical edge to the situation––in this case, a reminder that employees may not be feeling appreciated at all.

My recommendation is to think about the Monday following the first Friday of March. How will things be different in your company or made better with appreciating employees?

National Employee Appreciation Day is a day to take stock of how well you are doing with managing and promoting your recognition programs to engage peers and staff. It should be a trigger for all managers and supervisors to be held accountable for properly appreciating and recognizing all employees.

Things can look so rosy with senior leaders present with staff at the end of the week and managers smiling to their employees on that first Friday of March. But what happens the following Monday?

This Friday Plan to Improve Appreciation

Let this Friday become a marker each year to appraise how your organization is really doing with appreciating and recognizing employees. Following are some ideas to take National Employee Appreciation Day beyond just one day in a year.

  • Review your recognition strategy and plans with your strategic recognition committee or executive sponsor. What is the current status towards this year’s objectives? What course corrections, if any, are needed?
  • Start a communication campaign to managers through emails, posters, at manager forums––online or in person, to promote acknowledging staff for positive actions versus ignoring them. Do this throughout the year and not just once a year.
  • Encourage managers and supervisors to express gratitude to employees more frequently whether face-to-face or in their emails. Bring this up in performance reviews and monthly management meetings.
  • Create an awareness program for all staff to become more aware of when colleagues help them on the job to be mindful and consistently thank them. This could be helped with messaging on LCD screens in cafeterias, in newsletters, or posters on bulletin boards.
  • Ask all leaders and managers to look for opportunities to recognize staff in their regular meetings and to do it at the beginning of meetings to set a positive environment. Recommend this be a regular template agenda items to cue them for planning in each meeting.
  • Have all supervisors and managers conduct short meetings with each of their staff to find out their employees’ recognition preferences. Make sure they know who likes public recognition and who does not to make recognition more meaningful for them.
  • Send out a semi-annual or quarterly survey out to all employees asking questions on how well recognized they feel, how frequently they are presently recognized, the frequency they like being recognized, who they like to receive appreciation from the most, and how effective their immediate supervisor or manager is in expressing appreciation to them.
  • Set up a recognition team of managers and employees that rotates membership each year to develop and implement actions based on employee input to improve employee appreciation and recognition.

Make this year’s National Employee Appreciation Day a time for change.

Recognition Reflection: What can you do each National Employee Appreciation Day to show your employees they are appreciated?

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