National Employee Appreciation Day is coming – 3 March 2017

National Employee Appreciation Day is coming. Yes, there is such a ‘thing’, and if you’re reading this article, there’s still time to act. Observed annually on the first Friday in March, this year National Employee Appreciation Day falls on the 3rd of March. It’s been a recognised day in America for a few years now, and slowly but surely British businesses are catching on to it as an opportunity to reward and thank their employees for all the hard work.

So what is National Employee Appreciation Day? How do you celebrate it? Are there any traditions? And how can you make it work for your business? Well, the answers to these questions are simple. All you need is a little imagination to make this day work for your team.

What is National Employee Appreciation Day?
This relatively new holiday has been devised as an opportunity for business owners to show their appreciation for their staff. The impact of saying thank you and giving recognition by way of incentives and gratitude shouldn’t be underestimated. People love working hard for a show of thanks. Life can be tough, so a day devoted to the brightest and best that keep the wheels rolling is worth acknowledging every year. It’s kind of like Valentine’s Day without the flowers and anonymous cards. But the precedent hasn’t been set yet, so the world’s your oyster. Just be sincere and make it fun and worthwhile for everyone.

Why should my firm participate?
Let’s quickly flip that question around and ask: why shouldn’t your firm participate? Ever heard the expression that ‘you attract flies with honey, not vinegar’? Treat your staff right and give them something truly memorable to look forward to and they will stick around. They will support you and stay with you through the tough times and work hard to become the exemplary and loyal employees you need and want. That’s the theory anyway, and in most cases this works; you’ll always get bad eggs in the crowd, but you can’t please everybody all the time. Also, it could be the excuse for that team function or party you’ve needed, so get the notepad out and start coming up with some ideas today.

How do we show our appreciation?
Do you only love them on Valentine’s Day? Of course you don’t, you appreciate your husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and most importantly your employees more than one day a year, but this is a great opportunity to keep the momentum going during the first quarter of the year. You don’t have to confine your appreciation to this one day; after all, it’s a long time until Summer and Christmas is a distant memory now. So National Employee Appreciation Day could be the ideal time to get involved. There’s no wrong time to reward your team or show your gratitude – if it’s genuine, it’s always welcomed.

Don’t be afraid to say it
Speak up when an employee is performing well. Send an email, encourage colleagues to compliment the employee verbally or write an old-fashioned thank-you note. This is a quick and easy way to recognise great work. A gift can’t hurt, but make sure that the right person is being complimented for the right work if you want to make it meaningful and have long term impact.

Be genuine
Giving sincere appreciation for actions related to their work is best. Do a bit of research about the people you’re thanking. It can be disingenuous if you appear to just go through the motions. We’re not suggesting that you become bosom buddies with everybody, that’s not practical, but showing a bit of personal interest goes a long way.

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Random acts of kindness
Use the official day of appreciation for random acts of kindness. Thanking staff and handing out a gift to a hard worker is a wonderful touch. It keeps staff on their toes and a sense of anticipation may help inspire your team. Tactics like this help you to build a thriving workplace culture.

What should we do then?
You can do anything! Why not throw a party? Have a staff outing? Share out some gift vouchers? Have a banquet at work? Host a sporting match? You can be as inventive as you like. All we suggest is that if you’re going to acknowledge National Employee Appreciation Day do it with a light heart, make it count and make sure it’s well communicated. Don’t forget to have fun!