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National Employee Appreciation Day

National Employee Appreciation Day

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1st March 2024 marks National Employee Appreciation Day – which takes place on the first Friday of March each year. It’s a perfect opportunity for employers to thank their employees and teams, recognising their hard work throughout the year, and in doing so contribute to a positive workplace culture.

On an individual level, we can all appreciate the impact that positive recognition can have. It makes people feel valued, contributing to their sense of job satisfaction and overall wellbeing. At the company level, more employee appreciation can boost motivation and performance, by encouraging an engaged workforce.

It’s also worth considering the particular relevance of employee recognition in today’s working world. If face-to-face interaction with colleagues is rarer – with many people now working hybrid or remote jobs – there can be less opportunity for informal feedback. I’m sure we can all picture a time when we crossed paths with someone in the office and they were prompted to say that we’d done a job well, when it might not have been something that warranted official feedback. These interactions can be less likely when communication is digital, with less scope for unscheduled conversations. Therefore, additional recognition may be all the more appreciated.

Feeling valued at work has the following wide-reaching benefits:

  • A highly engaged workforce delivers higher profits for companies: when employees receive appreciation for good work and are more engaged and motivated, increased productivity levels can benefit the business through better results
  • There is a positive impact on teamwork: if employees can see their collective hard work celebrated, this can build a sense of unity and belonging
  • A stronger company culture: providing appreciation and recognition regularly creates a more positive work environment, and stronger sense of reciprocation between employer and employee. Rewarding employees for actions that are in line with company core values reinforces a positive company culture.
  • Reduced absences and improved staff retention: satisfied and engaged employees who feel valued are less likely to call in sick, and more likely to feel a sense of company loyalty – that means they remain with their employer for longer

An employee who does not feel appreciated or recognised can suffer from poor wellbeing, leading to a negative impact on productivity, company culture and wider business outcomes. The consequences of feeling unappreciated can include:

  • Feeling isolated and unmotivated, resulting in less effective teamwork
  • A reduction in productivity level and quality of work
  • A decline in mental health, which can lead to poorer habits and reduced physical health as well
  • An increased number of sick days taken, either due to stress/poor mental health or an overall reduction in wellbeing
  • Increased likelihood of resigning, due to job dissatisfaction and reduced loyalty towards employer

There are many ways that employers can factor recognition into their rewards and benefits strategy.  Examples of this can include:

  • Acknowledging employee contributions and achievements right away for maximum impact; this can mean writing a personal note or email, or sending a gift upon completion of a major project or other milestone
  • Showing public recognition – such as thanking employees at team meetings or on social media, or in an employee newsletter highlighting exceptional accomplishments
  • Offering a bonus, promotion or salary rise for those reaching defined goals
  • Offering extra time off, and/or sending employees home early
  • Celebrating and sharing success by having a social gathering, such as a team lunch or office get-together recognising employees’ work

Meaningful, time-relevant recognition and appreciation have both personal and company-wide benefits. It can reinforce a positive, productive company culture as well as your employee wellbeing strategy.  To ensure that hard work is rewarded, and contributes to greater job satisfaction, employers can implement a combination of personalised recognition and company-wide celebrations of employees’ achievements.  It is important to understand how much these gestures of appreciation really are valued, and contribute to a virtuous cycle within your organisation.

So today, please take a moment to thank your colleagues and team members, and spread some happiness in the workplace.