Employee Appreciation Day, observed every first Friday in March, highlights the importance of employee recognition and appreciation in the workplace.
Initially created as a way of thanking employees for their hard work and efforts throughout the year, the day is unofficially observed in the US, Canada and, more recently, the UK. It reminds employers that maintaining a motivated workforce can be significant in the ongoing development of a company, helping to keep staff motivated and encouraging the retention of valued employees.
1. Praise jobs that have been done well
If an employee has done a good job, make sure they know about it. Outline examples of strong performances within company newsletters or label them ‘employee of the month’. This can help to further reward a job well done whilst also encouraging stronger outputs from the rest of the workforce.
2. Create a culture of appreciation
Employees could be encouraged to highlight when they feel a colleague has gone ‘the extra mile’ through internal cards or posts on the company intranet. Depending on the size of your company, it is also a good idea to introduce perks, such as making arrangements for discounted prices from retailers or restaurants.
3. Listen and respond to employee issues
No matter the situation, employees must feel that they are able to talk to their managers about any issues they are having. Your managers should maintain an open door policy that encourages members of their team to approach them at any time. You could also allow for a suggestion box into which employees could post anonymous suggestions for company improvements.
4. Provide opportunities for professional development
In the modern workplace it is becoming increasingly common that employees are looking for the opportunities that a job can provide to develop themselves. It is therefore advisable to offer schemes such as training or mentorship that can help employees progress to more senior roles or enable them to contribute on a higher level.
5. Offer flexible working opportunities
The option for flexible working hours, such as starting earlier, finishing later, working from home or at different times, is also becoming increasingly popular. Flexible working can help employees better balance work and home life commitments, which can be very useful for parents or carers.
6. Provide financial incentives
Many companies allow for a Christmas bonus as a way of thanking their employees for all of their hard work in that year. Incentive bonuses can also be very useful, providing key targets for employees to meet in order to receive a boost in pay.
7. Facilitate fitness opportunities
Exercise has been proven to highly benefit a workforce, improving not only their physical fitness but their mental wellbeing. Options you can explore include discounted gym memberships, walking clubs or encouraging cycling to work. This can highlight to employees that you care about their health and wellbeing and want to provide them with opportunities to maintain this.
8. Ensure strong family friendly policies
Working parents can be forced to leave work if they feel unsupported in their childcare commitments and helping them to better facilitate this can make them to feel more secure and appreciated in their roles. Options include offering enhanced maternity pay, on-site child caring facilities or discounted nursery places.
9. Celebrate milestones and traditions
Make sure you highlight big events in employee’s lives, such as birthdays or work anniversaries. You can encourage buffets, desk decorations and group collections. This is a simple way of celebrating their personal achievements.
10. Organise inclusive social events
Make an effort to organise social activities outside of work, such as after work drinks, sporting events or parties, taking into account different interests. For example, many companies hold annual Christmas parties. Investing in fun activities such as this can act as a reward for hard work and gives employees a chance to come together for enjoyment rather than in the working environment.
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