Employee Appreciation Day is a perfect opportunity for employers to recognise their people for working so hard. While I’m a big believer that organisations should appreciate efforts all year round, it’s a great reminder to say thanks for all that you do and to shine a spotlight on those who make your world a better place to work.
Before we uncover the five ways to boost recognition and celebrate Employee Appreciation Day this year, I want to take a few moments to set the scene for why we should recognise our people in the first place.
Why strategic employee recognition matters
Strategic employee recognition goes beyond saying 'thank you.' Whether our people are working on the front lines, or going on year two of working remotely, they’re facing more stressors than ever before – some of which we can’t even see on a day-to-day basis.
While Employee Appreciation Day can act as a catalyst for celebrating your people, the ultimate goal is to create a culture of continuous recognition – one where employees feel valued and are excited to show up every day.
As we enter The Great Adjustment, HR leaders must adjust their attraction and retention strategies in order to meet employees’ needs and show employees appreciation. More and more, companies today are realising how those one-off moments of recognition – like employee of the month, annual performance reviews, tenure awards, etc. – complement and contribute to a more holistic approach that promotes continuous recognition.
Consider Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, reflect on your company values or reinvigorate your employee appreciation efforts.
Now that we’ve started with the why, let’s uncover some real-life examples from companies in various industries to bring this to life:
5 ways to celebrate EAD this year
|1. Peer-to-peer nominations|
|2. Pairing recognition with communications|
|3. A recognition week takeover|
|4. Leadership involvement|
|5. Reminders for managers|
1. Peer-to-peer nominations
SmartestEnergy Limited, an energy company with over 300 employees, uses its employee recognition program to connect all employees on Employee Appreciation Day with peer-to-peer nominations.
2. Pairing recognition with communications
MSC Industrial Supply, an industrial consumables organisation, used Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to celebrate company culture within the business. The team did this with a dedicated blog post to educate employees about what EAD is, why it was important to their culture and the value that employees bring to the business – encouraging employees to send recognition.
3. A recognition week takeover
TelstraSuper, a financial services organisation with 260+ employees celebrated their people the entire week. The Executive Team encouraged employees to get involved and send at least two eCards to their colleagues to say thanks. As a result, they saw tremendous participation, with 182 sent across the organisation and about 50% of all employees either sending or receiving recognition (or both).
4. Leadership involvement
Vacenti is an aged care services organisation with 800+ employees. The CEO sent out a heartfelt thank you, acknowledging employees’ commitment during a particularly challenging time due to the ongoing pandemic. Taking the time to pause and celebrate your people goes a long way.
5. Reminders for managers
A lot can happen on any given day, let alone in a week. Make sure to remind managers and keep Employee Appreciation Day top of mind. Here at Reward Gateway, we ensure our people feel the impact both leading up to EAD and long after with continuous recognition.
8 ideas for using technology to boost connections
Being thankful is shown to make us more positive, more resilient and improve our relationships, too. People who regularly take time to notice and note the things they're thankful for, experience more positive emotions, sleep better and express more compassion and kindness towards others.
Sending personalised employee rewards or eCards can help make someone’s day. If you need some inspiration, here are just some of the reasons to encourage your employees to say thank you to one another:
1. For helping you with a project or work that you needed support with.
2. For making you laugh or brightening up your day with silly jokes or for just checking how you are.
3. For listening to you when you shared a personal problem or how you have been feeling recently.
4. For working cross-departmentally to solve an issue and find efficiencies.
5. For being understanding or supportive while you juggle work meetings with teaching the kids long division (can’t we just give them a calculator?).
6. For doing their absolute best despite caring for someone/home-schooling/working with loud housemates (fill in the blank).
7. For going above and beyond at work while living your company values.
8. For offering a new perspective and helping you think outside the box when you needed it the most.
Recognising employees and showing them appreciation is something that can be done all the time as part of your company culture. Doing so improves employee engagement, which means your employees are less stressed, more productive and more motivated to help you achieve your business goals.
If you’re looking for additional ways to embed everyday reward and recognition into your culture, get in touch with us today.