thank you note with coffee

National Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March. This year, that’s March 3, 2023. It’s true that there are a lot of official “days” that few people really recognize, but given how important employee appreciation is, this is a good one to celebrate. 

The Importance of Employee Appreciation 

Just like you need to be nice to your mother on days other than Mother’s Day, you shouldn’t leave employee appreciation to one day of the year or a token gift. Feeling appreciated increases employee morale, improves engagement, and reduces churn. Employees who feel appreciated also tend to create better products and have better relationships with customers and clients. 

If you aren’t sure if your employees feel appreciated, you might consider an employee engagement survey to get a better sense of the landscape in your organization. 

Here are three ideas for showing employee appreciation. 

1. Games & Experiences  

Team games can be great opportunities for teams to get to know each other better in a fun setting while encouraging innovative thinking and teamwork. Games and events can be especially helpful if not everyone on your team regularly works with everyone else. There are several companies that can help you create games for both virtual or in-person offices. Team games should take place during work hours and should be optional. There are a variety of reasons an employee might be uncomfortable playing a game and “forced fun” is not a great way to make someone feel appreciated. 

2. Food 

Food is a great bonding experience and a great way to show your appreciation. If you are providing lunch, make sure to ask about food allergies, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Employees will not feel appreciated if they can’t eat the food provided.  

3. Gifts 

The goal of an employee appreciation gift is to give something useful and positive. Branded items like coffee mugs, water bottles, sweatshirts and jackets have also been shown to increase feelings of belonging among team members. Some organizations create a “catalog” of branded merchandise and allow employees to choose their own gifts. Others use services such as Loop & Tie to allow employees to choose personalized gifts. 

Personal gifts are tempting, because they’re a way to show that you “see” the employee. However, they can also backfire. There can be bad feelings if the gift is not well-received, or if some people’s gifts are more thoughtfully chosen than others. 

Many organizations create a questionnaire to ask about basic preferences and then choose personalized gifts, that aren’t too personal based on the questionnaire. For example, if you ask employees for a favorite color, you can then give your employees a notebook or coffee mug in their favorite color. 

Appreciate the Appreciator 

In most organizations, the person who plans employee appreciation activities and gifts is also an employee. It’s important to make sure that someone is reaching out to them and treating them as well as they treat everyone else. 

At Brighter Strategies, we love helping organizations strengthen their teams. Please reach out to us if you need help developing a plan to show your employees the appreciation they deserve. 

Influence Mapping

Titles only go so far in telling you who really yields influence and power in an organization. Influence Mapping, or Social Network Analysis, can help you see, and understand, connections within your organization.