How to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day
Friday, March 3rd is Employee Appreciation Day. That gives you three weeks to think about how you're going to shout about your most awesome people!
Here at Guru HQ, we believe that every day should be employee appreciation day. After all, what our people need most, after the basic resources for survival, are recognition, appreciation, and validation. They are required for morale, productivity, and loyalty. (If you’re in any doubt and need some numbers to convince you of the importance and efficacy of recognition and appreciation, just look here.)
That said, just because we disagree with saving your recognition for one day a year doesn’t mean we don’t approve of using that one day to go above and beyond and to do something really special to make your people feel, well, really special.
More than this, marking this day with a celebration of the best within your organisation will promote a healthier work culture. And isn’t that something we all want? When our people feel appreciated, when their efforts and achievements are actively recognised, they are motivated to keep doing more of the same. And it’s contagious too. When we see our peers being recognised, it inspires us to strive for that, too.
So, we know that recognition is good for morale, productivity, loyalty, and retention. We know it helps build a healthier work culture and a more robust collective mental health and wellbeing. We know it promotes psychological safety and reduces the pervasion of imposter syndrome and helps with trust across an organisation. What can we do to cash in on this motivational currency and make this day count? Here are just a few suggestions from us…
1. Launch a peer-to-peer recognition platform
A peer-to-peer platform engages your entire workforce in a fun, social experience. It inspires inclusivity and nurtures a greater sense of belonging across your teams. It also gives an opportunity to appreciate your people for the efforts and achievements that don’t necessarily (or immediately) result in those standard outputs, metrics, or business goals – like recognising teamwork, innovation and collaboration, and colleague support. Also, it’s as morale-boosting for those doing the nominating as it is for the recipients. It becomes infectious, driving that culture of recognition, appreciation, and the desire to do more for your colleagues and your business.
Off the back of such a platform, Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect day to shout about the best of the best – your greatest hits from the past however-many-months. "Employee(s) of the quarter", "most valued colleague", "most innovative thinking", "most collaborative team player", "best customer feedback received", "went the extra mile", "shared the most knowledge"… the list is almost endless. Awards can be accompanied by rewards, but don’t necessarily have to be. Cash rewards will always be welcome, but so will an early finish or a half-day holiday, a “lunch on us”, cinema tickets, a gift voucher, or a hamper.
If it’s too late to install that platform for this year’s Appreciation Day, get in touch with us now so it’s up and running and churning out winners for next year’s!
2. Make and share some recognition videos
Now is not the time to bleat on about the power of video in modern internal comms (I’ve done that plenty already – here, here, and with a video of top tips here!) But it is the time to suggest making some short, fun, light-hearted videos that sing the praises of your hardest working and most appreciated colleagues in time for March 3rd. These don’t need to be scripted or slick - outtakes and fluffed lines can add to the fun factor. Interview those who work closest to the subjects being recognised, so they can talk about the differences their colleagues have made to them. Leaders can also add gravitas to that recognition with thanks and praise from the top. Faces on screen deliver so much more warmth, authenticity, and sincerity than the written word ever will.
Recognition videos, when shared across your organisation, will cause a buzz, raise a ton of smiles, and boost the morale of everyone. As with the peer-to-peer platform, the result is contagious, growing that culture of commitment and belonging.
Of course, if you need some help getting started, or want something that looks a bit more professional for the big day (or any big day, for that matter), then we’d love to help out.
3. Shout-out to your people on your platforms
On 3rd March, flood your collaboration platform (Workplace, Slack, MS Teams) with meaningful thank yous. Really go to town to recognise those who deserve it most. Use hashtags for easy identification and compilation, and include photos, graphics, or visuals to make your posts pop! You could even set and share a schedule in advance to tease what’s coming, like a remote awards show with reveals sprinkled throughout the day. "Who’s going to win the Best Customer Feedback award at 2pm?.."
4. Make it a day of fun with games
Why not pepper the day with some fun, team-building activities to really make the day stand out? Encourage some healthy competition and give even more of your people a chance to shine on this morale-boosting day! If you need to include remote workers, there are plenty of ideas here for making that work.
Just remember that the day is about the recognition of your people for what they have brought to the business and the organisation. The games in-between are not the main event, but there to keep energy levels up and mark the day as something a bit different.
5. Expand it to a month-long celebration.
Why not make the joy last longer? Instead of one day, start the celebration on the 3rd, but timetable a couple of hours of more of the same across the following three Friday afternoons! The start of the year is often a flat time for many (it’s cold, we’re all skint after Christmas, it’s dark when I get out of work…), so make March the month that your people look forward to. And again, if people know that this is a thing, that this comes around every March, aren’t they more likely to put that little bit of extra effort in? …to help a few more colleagues? …to go that extra mile when it’s needed?
There are loads of ways to mark this day and make it something special for your people. Some will take more planning than others, some are quick wins, all of them are worthwhile. There’s definitely time to do something this year. And maybe make a conscious decision to do even more next time! Most importantly, if you haven’t got employee recognition and appreciation baked into your internal comms strategy, and, therefore, your organisation’s culture, then we’d recommend making that your first priority. And please drop us a hello if we can help!