illustration of thank you cards

Six Creative Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

With National Employee Appreciation Day right around the corner, it's the perfect time to recognize your employees for a job well done. Companies across the country will recognize their employees' achievements and contributions on March 3, 2023.

While celebrating your employees sounds like a fun idea, there are also many benefits to recognizing them. By showing employees appreciation regularly, companies can retain more talent and foster an environment of excellence. Unsurprisingly, people tend to do their best work when they’re happy and in good spirits.

“Workplace recognition motivates, provides a sense of accomplishment, and makes employees feel valued for their work. Recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement but it also has been found to increase productivity and loyalty to the company, leading to higher retention.” – Gallup

If you’re looking for ideas on how to celebrate your workforce this Friday – or appreciate them throughout the year – check out these six creative ideas:

1. Breakfast on the Boss

Free coffee, bagels, and malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery can set the tone for a special day. If you work in an environment with shift hours or employees who don’t necessarily start in the morning, bring in something special, like cupcakes. Treat your employees to show appreciation and kick off a day honoring their hard work.

2. Volunteer Together

Company culture thrives when leadership understands employees' lives extend beyond the walls of the workplace. As a business owner, take time out of your schedule to get involved in charities close to your team's hearts. Consider spending a half day volunteering together or even passing around a sign-up sheet for a weekend event. By showing employee appreciation and giving back to the community, your business can actually attract and engage employees through corporate social responsibility. In fact, 74% of employees say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact at work.

3. Celebrate Off-Site

Whether you throw a special pau hana with cocktails and pupus or take your team to Breakout Waikiki for a team-building event, getting out of the office is a great way to thank your employees. More so, stepping into a different environment with your team can improve communication, renew perspective, and build stronger employee relationships between team members.

4. Send a Simple Thank You Card

Sometimes simple is best. One of the best employee recognition ideas for small business owners is a thank you card. But rather than sending your thanks via email, show your gratitude with a handwritten note for employees who have been going the extra mile. If appropriate, send a note to their home address – it’s a surprise that will make employees feel appreciated.

5. Give a Token of Appreciation

While mentioning gifts may send red flags to your Finance department, you don’t necessarily need a massive budget for employee appreciation. From a desk plant to a coffee mug to movie tickets, plenty of great gifts won’t break the bank. And if you have allocated spend for employee appreciation gifts, give your employees a try to customize rewards so each of your valued workers feels appreciated. For example, if you know an employee has a long commute, gift a gas card or Uber/Lyft credits.

6. Invest in Your Employees

Employees tend to stay with companies that are invested in their ongoing progression and growth. Whether you gift each employee an inspirational book or offer a credit to attend an industry conference or seminar or bring in a development coach for the day, investing in your employees creates an engaged company culture. Check out this blog post for more creative ways to invest in your employees.

Employee appreciation goes beyond a national holiday. When executed properly, it creates a culture based on employee recognition. While appreciation comes in many forms, you shouldn’t expect perks or bonuses alone to convey the meaning of a genuine thank you. When it comes to appreciation, the best bosses say it – and show it – regularly.

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