The calendar tells us that Friday, March 2, is 2018’s version of international Employee Appreciation Day. And despite the recent backflips in the stock market, the current economic situation in most of the working world means that experienced, talented employees are more valuable than ever. That means that recognition efforts like those Employee Appreciation Day encourages need to be undertaken once a week, if not once a day, rather than once a year, in the best workplaces.
More and more companies large and small are focusing time and resources to develop an employee recognition strategy designed to ensure that staff feel valued.
Recognition experts stress that this annual event is not and was not ever meant as a one-time celebration, but as a way to acknowledge a year-round culture of appreciation within companies and organizations that makes every day an occasion to recognize good work and encourage employees. More and more member organizations look at Employee Appreciation Day as a chance to be creative and spotlight the many efforts to recognize good work.”
Recognition efforts range in scope from simple events like a root beer float bar at work all the way to elaborate incentives like travel and fiscal rewards. Successful companies like Disney, Southwest Airlines, Cleveland Clinic and others routinely partake in these efforts based on strategy, and the results are clear to see.
Ensuring employees feel valued has been shown to boost productivity and pay dividends for businesses and organizations. Detailed in a RPI webinar, among the many ideas that experts offer for employee recognition activities are:
Food – Everyone loves free food, be it a simple snack, a sweet treat, or a full meal, and there’s something special about an employee being served a meal by their supervisor that reinforces the notion of value and recognition. Everything from food truck appearances to ice cream socials are encouraged as a way to recognize employees through food.
Team activities – Getting out of the office is imperative to the mental health of employees; even if it’s just to the parking lot for a group stretch. Team activities can be a valuable way to recognize employees and foster a team spirit among members of your organization. Make the office feel different for a day. Some workplaces practice theme days, where workers dress in the colors of their favorite sports team, or emulate their favorite superhero. Games like Jenga contests or a video game setup can bring a spirit of friendly competition to the workplace as well.
Wellness – Some workplaces provide healthy snacks or energy-boosting foods to give employees a needed jumpstart, especially in the afternoons. A popular wellness activity is to bring in massage professionals to provide back and neck rubs.
- Create a workplace cookbook, with each employee contributing their favorite recipe, and each of them getting a “book” featuring all of the foods.
- Remember off-site and “virtual” employees and find ways to include them, so they feel as recognized and valued as on-site employees.
- Whatever you do, start small and build gradually, with more activities and edibles as the employee recognition culture grows within your organization.
For other webinars and a wealth of information on Recognition Day, please view RPI resources.