Do you ever have a great check-in with a team member and wish that there was an organic opportunity to publicly recognize their contributions to your business? You’re in luck. Employee Appreciation Day is right around the corner.
While Employee Appreciation Day is not a legally recognized holiday (nobody officially gets the day off) it can be a great opportunity for management to set aside time to show their staff how appreciated they are.
Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March each year (so you still have lots of time to brainstorm special ways to thank your team). Here are some thought starters on how to celebrate with your company:
1. Go public: Consider posting about your employees’ great work on your website or social media pages – this is a fun and easy way to show your staff that you care. It can mean a lot to your team that you are willing to share your sentiments publicly.
Who doesn’t love some social media recognition these days?
2. Don’t underestimate the power of food: Food is a tried and true way to give thanks. Sure, it’s a little clichéd, but it never gets old – everyone loves coming to work and being greeted by an array of treats. And the communal nature of food can help get your employees away from their desks to spend a few celebratory moments together.
3. Ask them what they want: Before I started my first business, I met with a SCORE counselor and got what I still think was some of the best small business advice ever:
Ask them what they want, then give them what they want.
I have used that advice, and spread that gospel, for years, mostly as it pertains to customers. But the truth is, it applies equally well to your staff.
As simple as it may seem, asking your employees what would make them feel appreciated can go a long way in creating an authentic connection. Taking this kind of initiative shows you aren’t going through the motions to gain empty brownie points, but rather shows that you care whether or not they genuinely feel appreciated. This will not only make it easier for you to determine the best way to show your appreciation but also fosters a positive and respectful workplace environment.
4. Customize it: It may be easier to present all of your employees with the same thank you gift, but it would be significantly more thoughtful and effective to customize your gifts for individual employees if you are able.
Tapping into each employee’s interests or passions in choosing gifts shows that you have taken the time to get to know them as a unique individual. This could mean gifting tickets to a local sports event, gift cards that help them pursue their hobbies, a certificate for a meal at their favorite restaurant, etc.
5. Say thank you: Saying “thank you” is the easiest thing any of us can do, but also seems to be the thing that is easiest to forget amid the bustle of the workday. It is important to do this on Employee Appreciation Day, but more importantly, it is the smart entrepreneur who does their best to make saying thanks a daily practice.
Employee Appreciation Day is a great tradition to start, but what it really teaches us is that every day should be Employee Appreciation Day.
How do you show employees that you appreciate them? Let us know in the comments below.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss.
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