In case you forgot to mark your calendar, the first of March is Employee Appreciation Day. No matter where you are this week, the message of acknowledging the good work employees do each day is something we wholeheartedly support across the globe 365 days a year.
More and more, companies today are moving away from traditional methods of showing employee appreciation – those one-off moments like employee of the month, annual performance reviews, tenure awards, etc. – to a more holistic approach that promotes continuous recognition as part of the overall company strategy.
And we truly feel this is great news. While the traditional methods above are still good examples of when to show appreciation, it’s even more important to make sure you’re not forgetting about all the times in between.
Your people shouldn't have to wait to receive employee appreciation
Jill Douglas, Vice President of HR, and DeAnn Swiatek, HR Manager, from AAA Western and Central New York make a point to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day each year.
While our client AAA WCNY is focussed on appreciation as a part of their culture – using strategic recognition to capture and share stories of individual and team successes – they take this day as an opportunity to reflect on what their core values mean to them as individuals, teams and as a workplace. On top of that, it's a good time to reflect on how recognition contributes to delivering excellent service to their customers. (Plus you know everyone appreciates a good pun!)
For the March holiday, Jill and DeAnn equip managers with funds for snacks or breakfast for their teams, put up posters across locations and hold an Associate Photo Contest (with the winners getting a pizza party for their group). It’s another way for them to keep recognition top of mind and show employees that their work really makes a difference.
And that’s what it is really all about, isn’t it? You don’t need a designated day to appreciate your colleagues or your team. 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.
Incorporating continuous recognition into your work culture is not only the way of the future, it’s also an effective reminder about what 'great' looks like and what it means to live your organisation’s values, mission or purpose.
It reinforces the importance of people’s efforts and contributions, which is something we all need to feel and that helps us prioritise and stay energised when the day-to-day gets busy or challenging.
Consider Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, reflect on your company values or reinvigorate your employee appreciation efforts. I suggest using AAA as an example and consider hosting special events for your team. Even something as simple as sending an eCard to thank your team for all their hard work will go a long way.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make the first of March a special day for showing your people that you appreciate them – but don’t stop when the clock hits 5 p.m., make recognition a part of your job and culture.