4 Ways to Celebrate Employees on Employee Appreciation Day…and Every Day

By Mark Wachen Mark Wachen has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 1, 2023

Employee Appreciation Day couldn’t be coming at a better time this year.

Just a cursory look at the business headlines shows how confusing, and in some cases, contradictory the workforce is right now. Mass layoffs, but low unemployment and managers stressing about finding enough (and the right) talent. Months ago, the companies that were proclaiming they have mobile workforces are now mandating employees visit the office 2-3 times a week.

Blamed by economists for the “legacy of weirdness” from COVID-19, this is perhaps the most difficult working environment for business leaders and human resource professionals to navigate. Budgets are tight. Then there’s the issue of staying connected in a workspace that runs the spectrum from fully remote to occasionally hybrid to once again punching the clock and being at your desk from 9-5.

Here’s the good news: There’s a day coming up that you can use to make your own team feel better about themselves and their work. With Employee Appreciation Day on March 3, you have a chance to make a modest investment in both attention and resources toward employee recognition that can yield results to help your business weather this environment better.

There are no magic solutions to the issues, but a focus on employee recognition is certainly an antidote to many of the symptoms the market is suffering. Research shows that employers who are rated highly for recognizing their workers have three-times higher retention than other companies. Recognition can also be a companywide cultural touchpoint for employees, irrespective of where they physically work.

So how can one get started to make employee appreciation a priority on March 3 and all year round? Here are four ways to begin:

Make Recognition More Frequent

At our company, CardSnacks, we typically see businesses send our e-cards and attached gift cards for employee birthdays and work anniversaries, and oftentimes on certain corporate holidays, like Employee Appreciation Day (the first Friday in March) or Administrative Professionals Day (the Wednesday in the last full week of April). But your company can create more frequent programs involving sending cards or awards. There could be an employee of the week, or highlighting a different award each month.

The key is to not just make recognition regular, but also frequent. A quick ecard, a company wide email, or a posting on Slack goes a long way to keeping employees engaged.

Get Peers Involved

Studies have shown that employees are more motivated by their peers than by money when it comes to maximizing performance. There’s a business advantage, too: research shows that 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen a positive increase in customer satisfaction.

Peer-to-peer recognition is a great way to make sure your team is rewarded and productive, from the people around them. That lateral or 360-degree view of recognition allows you to build a culture that isn’t so top-down. On Employee Appreciation Day, let your team feel more involved and celebrate one another.

Make In-Office Days Count

Right now, many companies that have embraced a work-from-home environment are moving toward mandating at least 2-3 days back in the office. That is once again allowing the kind of collaboration opportunities that remote work hindered for some companies. Yet, it also provides a great way to use the in-person time to recognize the accomplishments of your employees.

If you mandate certain days, bringing everyone in on Employee Appreciation Day and create an in-house event to celebrate it. Understandably, some might not want to have an in-office day on a Friday, so you can also turn Employee Appreciation Day into Employee Appreciation Week and sprinkle events throughout other days. If there are more frequent live meetings, or companywide gatherings, include a few award hand-outs, or time to share kudos for a job well done. There is no substitute for hearing the applause from colleagues when someone’s work is recognized.

Tell the World

It’s one thing to recognize employees privately, or within the confines of just your employees. It’s quite another to use media to let the outside world know about the accomplishments of your team. It could be as simple as a shout-out on social media. LinkedIn, for instance, offers LinkedIn Kudos, which allows you to recognize the great work of colleagues and employees. A corporate Instagram campaign showing a teammate of the month not only awards great performance, but also shows the world about the strength of your team. At minimum, your company should have social media posts marking Employee Appreciation Day.

Then there’s your own website. Highlighting the faces and stories of your top performers is a great way to let potential customers and employees know the people behind your brand.

It’s never been more important than now to recognize employees to keep them engaged and retain them for the long term. Employee Appreciation Day on March 3 is rapidly approaching. That’s a great place to start.

By Mark Wachen Mark Wachen has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Mark Wachen is the CEO of CardSnacks. He also is the Managing Partner and Founder of Upstage Ventures, a firm that advises and invests in consumer internet and interactive marketing companies. Wachen was the founder of the Dreamit NYC accelerator program, which he ran from 2011-2013. Prior to Dreamit, Wachen was the CEO/Founder of Optimost, the company that pioneered multivariate testing and optimization on the Internet. He served as CEO for the company up until its acquisition by Interwoven in November 2007 for $52 million. Wachen also worked for seven years at Sony, overseeing a wide variety of Internet initiatives. Wachen graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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