A business’s foundation is built with its employees and a company can only be as successful as those who work there allow it to be. While each employee should be held to a high standard, promising only their best quality work and undivided focus and effort, they should never be left feeling unacknowledged for the hours they’ve put in. Although your employees should feel appreciated every day of the year, we dedicate an entire day specifically for recognizing the individuals that have made your business what it is.

National Employee Appreciation Day took place on Friday, March 1 this year when workplaces everywhere recognized their devoted, hard-working employees of all seniority levels in every department. Bob Nelson, a founding Recognition Professional International board member, founded this national day in 1995 and business owners have been marking the day on their calendars every year since.

Why recognizing your employees is crucial

As a business owner, you want to recruit and retain high-quality and best-qualified employees, correct? In order to attract and keep new employees, they need to be satisfied with their workplace, bosses, managers, etc. Pretty self-explanatory. Ensuring that your employees feel valued, recognized, and appreciated is a very easy yet effective way to keep them happy with their job and company. If they feel undervalued or overlooked, they are more likely to begin their job search elsewhere. In fact, studies have shown that 66% of employees will quit their jobs if they feel unappreciated.

Acknowledging your employees is about more than just keeping them satisfied and improving your retention rates, you’ll also notice a positive correlation in overall performance, benefiting your company overall. When workers feel recognized, appreciated, and trusted, their productivity and innovation outperform competitors in addition to retention. Not only that, but employees experience less stress, more energy, higher engagement, and less burnout.

How to make sure your employees feel appreciated and valued

Give your team credit for reaching quotas, completing tasks, closing deals, presenting to customers, etc. Remind them regularly of the good job they’re doing and how they’re benefiting the company. You don’t need to wait for a specific day to make your employees feel appreciated and valued.

So, anytime you believe your employees deserve a little something extra...avoid unpersonalized, generalized gifts such as sending a company card, a wooden plaque, or a gift card to a common restaurant or supercenter. Your gifts should make your employees feel significant and cared about as individuals. Personalized, thoughtful gifts and experiences will motivate each team member.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Treat employees to a special meal or dinner outside of the office or bring food and desserts into the office for everyone to enjoy.

  • Give some time off. Send everyone home early on employee appreciation day or give hard-working team members an extra vacation day or two.

  • A team outing or fun activity such as a wine tasting or trip to a local fair or festival.

  • Have an office celebration. For example, a pizza party, casual dress day, or another fun, themed office party.

  • Send personalized thank-you notes with different gifts or gift cards that show you took the time to get to know each individual on a deeper level. Nothing shows you care like a gift card to an employee’s favorite store or restaurant or tickets to their favorite sports team’s game.

There are numerous other ways to recognize your employees’ work and dedication this year. But, remember to celebrate them year-round. Employee appreciation should not be limited to one day a year. The happier your team, the better your business performs as a whole.

However, remember to mark your calendars for next year’s National Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 6, 2020.