It’s coming. The first Friday of March for the past 26 years is noted on the calendar as Employee Appreciation Day. Although many might instinctively point their finger at Hallmark for starting yet another holiday to sell more greeting cards, it’s actually a real thing!
Author Bob Nelson thought that although employees should be recognized and appreciated throughout the year, often that’s not the case. According to Nelson, only about 12 percent of workers feel recognized in a timely, meaningful way for the job they do. However, some 80 percent of managers think they make a pretty good effort in appreciating their staff.
Huh. That’s kind of a significant discrepancy.
So, do we blame it on Millennials for wanting consistent recognition? Not really. Maybe previous working generations didn’t need to be thanked for doing their job. Or they weren’t raised and conditioned to expect appreciation. It was just what they did.
Regardless, appreciating your staff, and actually conveying that appreciation – is appreciated! It’s not a generational or gender thing. If you’re human, working in today’s economy, it is nice to know – and to regularly receive acknowledgment – that the work you do, and who you are, makes a difference.
Similar to other annual days with a permanent residence on the calendar, Employee Appreciation Day is almost a poke in the eye to managers to stop for a minute. Just stop and look around. Stop amidst the daily hustle and grind of the work week to show gratitude to what others have done and the impact they make to the team and the organization.
Is Employee Appreciation Day just the reciprocal of National Boss’s Day?
There is little evidence of a correlation between the two. Although it is ironic that Boss’s Day actually began in 1958. Yet for three and a half decades, workers recognized their boss prior to being formally recognized themselves. Times change. Pendulums swing. And most leaders recognize the importance of appreciating those who help the organization succeed.
Top-down and cross-functional appreciation
Employee Appreciation Day is very much a top-down approach of gratitude. Yet, what about our peers and coworkers? Many help us meet a deadline, collaborate on a project, or support us to do our best. Until there is a Peer Appreciation Day on the calendar, feel free to celebrate and thank those who play a vital role in your individual and team’s success.
The art of appreciation
A Google search of “Employee Appreciation Day Ideas” will yield endless pages of celebratory gifts, awards, and tasty-treat ideas. From a simple note card to an extravagant lunch, Employee Appreciation Day is a great opportunity for managers and co-workers alike to thank others. Often an HR leader or team will coordinate festivities for Employee Appreciation Day on behalf of the organization.
The significance and annual celebration of Employee Appreciation Day can get lost among the breakfast treats in the breakroom, catered lunch, or gift cards. Sure, those are all nice. But come Monday morning, like the 70’s rock band Kansas sang, “everything is just dust in the wind.” To keep the thanks flowing, create a culture of appreciation and engagement throughout the other 11 months on the calendar.
Employee Appreciation Day Can Lead to Engagement
As part of its scheduled stop on the calendar each year, Employee Appreciation Day is foundational to creating a solid culture of employee engagement. When employees feel valued, empowered, and committed to the organization’s vision, the organization, as well as individual contributors, can soar.
In addition to the thank you cards, spot recognition awards, or ordered lunch for the office, employees want to be engaged in the organization. It’s a win-win for employer and employee. Yet, it goes beyond just a thank you once a year.
Creating a culture of employee engagement is imperative for retention and recruitment, productivity, morale, and innovation. Organizations with high engagement exhibit greater transparency, trust, accountability, communication, problem solving, employee development, and better manager relationships.
At RTG Solutions Group, we believe that creating a culture of employee engagement is essential to the health and growth of an organization. That positive culture doesn’t occur over night. Yet by building each layer of gratitude and respect among all layers in an organization will yield great things.
There’s still time to appreciate
If you manage staff, lead an organization, or are super-appreciative of a colleague, you still have time to do something, anything, to show your appreciation. This year, Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 6.
So, don’t forget to pick up those donuts on the way into the office!