Create a culture that means business™
Are you ready for employee appreciation day on March 1st, 2024, ? It takes place on the first Friday of March every year, and it’s a great opportunity to show your employees how much you value them. When employees feel appreciated, they perform at their best and are less likely to leave. In fact, organizations that rate their culture of recognition highly are 3 times more likely to see increased employee retention and 2.5 times more likely to see increased employee engagement, among other benefits.
There’s no better time than employee appreciation day to start putting ideas for year-round recognition into practice. Employees will never forget the employee appreciation day when they first started to accrue reward points, or when they first started hearing “thank you” regularly from their manager.
When is National Employee Appreciation Day 2024?
Employee Appreciation Day is on Friday March 1, 2024. National Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March every year.
What is National Employee Appreciation Day?
National Employee Appreciation Day celebrates the contributions of employees within an organization. It’s a day to show employees that you value their hard work and that they’re an important part of the team, contributing to the greater mission of the organization.
Why celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?
Employee Appreciation Day is an opportunity for organizations to show appreciation for their employees, through gestures big and small, that help create happier, more engaged workplaces.
However, to truly show your employees that they’re valued, recognition shouldn’t be saved for this annual event, recognition should be given daily to drive:
- Lasting engagement
- Consistent performance
- Retain top employees
- Build culture
- Reinforce company core values
How do you write an employee appreciation message?
When you’re writing an employee appreciation message, you want to be sure that it’s clear, communicates why you appreciate the individual, it’s appropriately delivered, and has a positive impact. Be sure to make your message:
- To the point
And if possible, shared publicly for even greater recognition.
How do you thank your team on Employee Appreciation Day?
Here are 20 easy and authentic ways to say thank you to your employees on Employee Appreciation Day:
- Simply, say ‘thank you’ in person
- Send out a thank you message through your employee engagement platform
- Reflect on your collective accomplishments and highlight each
- Publicly thank employees through internal channels
- Publicly thank employees through the organization’s social channels
- Send a video thank you message company-wide
- Honour tenured employees
- Welcome newer employees
- Hand out small gifts
- Allow employees to select a gift
- Give career-based rewards
- Give employees additional time off
- Hand out treats
- Spotlight your staff on your website
- Encourage continuing education
- Help with their commute
- Improve their remote-work set up
- Bring dogs into the workplace for the day
- Create an epic break room
- Provide free food and snacks
30 exciting employee appreciation day ideas
Employee appreciation day is the time to provide your team members with something special. Here are a few ideas that are bound to please everyone at your organization.
1. Reward with gift cards and experiences
Gift cards are popular for a reason. They give employees the ability to choose rewards that they find meaningful, rather than yet another one-size-fits-all t-shirt or water bottle. And if you’re looking for a reward that’s more unique, you can’t go wrong with providing an exceptional experience. This might be something for the whole team — like renting out a theme park, reserving an escape room, or learning to cook from an accomplished chef — or for individual employees, like paying for a day trip to a spa or a meal at their favorite restaurant.
2. Pamper your employees
Employee appreciation day is your chance to let your team indulge and take a break from their hard work. Hire a manicurist, masseuse, or chiropractor to come to the office. Having a sleep or mindfulness coach teach your employees tips to lower their stress is another winning option. These activities emphasize your organization’s commitment to employee wellness and help everyone feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
3. Donate to your employees’ favorite charities
Giving to charities employees support shows that you care about what they care about. You can donate to organizations in employees’ names or provide employees with a set amount to donate per month, per quarter, or per year. Matching donations is another possibility. And if you’ve implemented an employee recognition solution with points-based rewards, you can let them donate reward points to charities of their choice.
4. Give out fun awards
Remember superlatives at the end of a school year? Everyone anxiously awaited that day, and it’s no different in the workplace. Get creative and make up some awards people will truly treasure, like recognition master, exceptional listener, and coaching champion. You can also focus on employees who have best demonstrated your core values, made your workplace more inclusive, or acted like a true team player. Awards are specific and tangible, making employees feel uniquely recognized.
5. Treat your team’s taste buds
Who doesn’t love a free lunch? Food is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reward your employees. Consider catering a meal, surprising your team with a box of tasty snacks — even if they work from home — or taking folks out for coffee. You can also encourage wellness at the same time by providing delicious healthy treats or taking an outing to a restaurant that provides healthy options.
6. Enjoy activities in-office or remotely
Employees want to spend time having fun with their teammates. Host a pizza party in the breakroom or common area with plenty of board games. You could also set up a photo booth, company-wide jeopardy game, or talent contest. And if your workforce is primarily remote, set up an afternoon of virtual games and fun, complete with a pre-delivered gift package.
7. Let employees pursue their passions
Work shouldn’t consume your employees’ lives. They should have the time and space to pursue their passions and interests outside of the workplace. This could mean volunteering or working on an independent project. Many organizations set aside employee appreciation day for activities their team members have always wanted to try. Besides giving employees a break from work, hobbies can inspire innovative ideas and teach employees new skills that help your organization in the long run.
8. Just say “thank you”
Simply saying “thank you” can have an enormous impact on your employees, boosting everything from productivity to retention to engagement. Get your workforce in the habit of recognizing people frequently and in real time, and soon every day will feel like employee appreciation day. Have leadership take part in this initiative — recognition from managers and executives means the most to employees — and you’ll have created an employee appreciation day with a profound, enduring impact.
To make appreciation easy in this era of remote work, look for recognition tools that integrate with the ways you communicate daily, whether that’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or another platform. For instance, your organization could adopt a plugin that, upon conclusion of a virtual meeting, prompts employees to recognize other participants and even provides fun messages and graphics for doing so. And if it automatically links with your recognition platform, giving employees the option to reward others with redeemable points, so much the better.
For a more personal touch, have team members’ handwrite thank you notes. The time and thought that comes with each note goes a long way towards making the recipient feel valued.
9. Recognize major milestones and small victories
Big achievements like hitting sales quotas, launching a new product, or retaining tough clients are all reasons to celebrate. Employees expect to be recognized and rewarded for successfully executing on major undertakings. However, practicing more frequent recognition for smaller victories can be unexpected, delightful pick-me-ups for your employees. Be sure to balance your appreciation for big wins with recognition for the little things as well. Use your website, social media channels, newsletter, company-wide newsfeed, or meetings as forums for practicing recognition on employee appreciation day and year-round.
10. Start a recognition program
There’s no better day to announce a recognition program than employee appreciation day. A fully comprehensive recognition and rewards platform reminds people to recognize their peers frequently and genuinely. Your platform’s user interface should be straightforward and integrate with other software your employees already use. In addition, employees should be able to recognize each other anywhere, anytime. A mobile-friendly platform is crucial for companies whose teams are on the ground.
And don’t forget about the rewards. Many businesses opt for a points-based recognition program to give employees the flexibility to choose their own rewards, reducing administrative overhead and creating a personalized recognition experience.
11. Find out how employees want to be appreciated
Have you ever asked your employees how they’d like to be recognized? Give your employees a voice by gathering their feedback through pulse surveys, together with always-on feedback channels employees can take advantage of whenever they have something to say. Surveying employees about the forms of recognition they find most meaningful will ensure that your appreciation efforts hit the mark.
12. Implement employee feedback
Collecting employee feedback isn’t enough, though — your organization needs to act on it! Making changes employees want to see will give them the confidence that their opinions matter and that your company is willing to adjust. Eventually, this will motivate more employees to participate in your company’s feedback and recognition initiatives.
13. Support work-life balance
Team members who are well-rested and have time to spend with their family and friends are more engaged and productive. Letting your employees have a life outside of work is vital to preventing burnout. When possible, compromise with your employees on their schedule. For instance, employees with children may want to arrive and leave early. Others with extracurricular activities may want to come in late, or even transition to a four-day work week. Your organization can also provide additional PTO or occasional unexpected half-days to preserve work-life balance.
14. Provide time for meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are the keys to employee wellness. Paychex discovered that stressed employees found mindfulness to be an essential strategy in overcoming their wellness challenges. Mindfulness can help employees problem solve, absorb new information, adapt to changes, and increase their empathy for others. Start setting aside time during the work day for meditation — or even bring in a trainer — and begin a key wellness practice on employee appreciation day.
15. Support continuous learning
Continuous learning is crucial to developing an agile, high-performing workforce. For employee appreciation day, offer paid continuous learning courses related to work or personal interests. Recognize the employees who take advantage of these classes to reinforce the behavior.
16. Create a tribute video
Put together a short video that showcases your C-suite, leadership team, and people leaders thanking your employees for the great work that they do each day. While simple, this type of authentic personal and direct messages can go a long way to breaking down the perceived barriers between bosses and employees, uniting the organization.
17. Give employees a day off
Some organizations celebrate Employee Appreciation Day by giving their employees a half or full day off to enjoy. While this is a great way for people to destress and spend the day as they wish, it does mean that you miss out on celebrating the day together.
18. Get out of the office for lunch
If you can break out into smaller teams, eating lunch outside of the office is a great way to connect. Larger groups can eat out too, it just takes more planning ahead of time to ensure that you select a space that can accommodate your group.
19. Ice cream
You can never go wrong with a sweet dessert like ice cream. You can look for an ice cream truck to make a stop at your location, or pick up several tubs of ice cream to serve out to employees in the office. It’s always a crowd pleaser.
20. Don’t leave out remote employees
If you have team members working from home, be sure to send them a voucher to order-in lunch or to enjoy a special treat too. And whenever possible, use tools like Zoom or Teams to include them in any in-office celebrations.
21. Send personalized notes
If your organization is on the smaller side, try having the CEO send out personalized notes to each employee. If that’s not possible, ask managers to draft up personalized notes of appreciation to each of their team members. If you use an employee engagement platform, try making these thank-yous public for an even greater engagement effect.
22. Give a gift
While finding a gift that’s meaningful to each individual employee can be tough, you can always leverage your employee engagement program and platform to award additional points on Employee Appreciation Day. This allows each employee to choose a gift that is meaningful to them, which often makes it more memorable.
23. Host a happy hour
If you’re able to host in-office great, otherwise, take your teams out for some special drinks towards the end of the day — but don’t cut into their evening hours too much, as employees value their personal time, even if they’re attending a fun event.
24. Make thirsty Thursday a regular thing
If happy hour goes over well with your group, considering making it a weekly or monthly event — one where employees can pause their work and take time to enjoy a drink and chat with their coworkers.
25. Escape rooms
This type of team building event has been around for a while but is still popular. It’s a chance for teams to work together towards a common goal, but something that is non-work related. And remote employees can often join in too! Some escape room companies offer a virtual experience that’s also amazing.
26. Create a hall of fame
Choose employees to spotlight publically during Employee Appreciation Day. Select individuals who have contributed to the building of the company culture, support their teammates, and do great work. Award them with a personalized gift, rewards points, or other special experience.
27. Set up a photo booth
Who doesn’t love a photo booth? It’s a fun way to capture the moment with coworkers and is a great complement to Employee Appreciation Day events held in the office. Choose a vendor that prints out old school photos and also shares a digital copy with the employer, so you can showcase them live at the event or in the future.
28. Hand out some swag
Everyone likes to take home, and leave on their desks some great company swag. Opt for useful things like mugs, USBs, sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc. that employees will get the most use out of. Encourage them to take and share photos of them using or wearing their swag to share with the organization.
29. Have a games day
Take the afternoon — or the whole day — to let employees participate in indoor games. Think board games, pool, darts, card games, etc. To ensure it’s well executed and offers diversity in the types of games offered, consider outsourcing the fun to an event company who will bring the games to you and run them for your group.
30. Get outside
Getting some fresh air and exercise can make a world of a difference in improving mood and motivation — and is great for team building. Try selecting an outdoor activity that’s easy for everyone to participate in, like a hike, bike ride, or trip to an amusement park. Or, offer a day filled with various outdoor activities, so employees can participate in the ones that they’re most interested in.
Thrill your team on employee appreciation day with Achievers!
Employee appreciation gets more important every year. To improve employee engagement and retention, you need to make recognition a priority.
Achievers Recognize is an award-winning employee recognition platform that can help you make employee appreciation day a spectacular success and keep that momentum going throughout the year. Everyone at your organization — from executives to staff — can use Achievers Recognize to provide both social and points-based recognition. With mobile capabilities, team members can show appreciation from anywhere with an internet connection.
Showing appreciation with Achievers Recognize is an interactive, engaging experience thanks to the ability to view, like, and comment on others’ recognitions, as well as the option to “boost” any recognition by awarding additional points. It also integrates with other engagement platforms like Achievers Listen, WellRight, a leading corporate wellness platform, and key communication tools like Gmail, Outlook, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. And it even includes a Zoom plugin that helps make appreciation a natural part of the remote work experience.
Achievers has a proven record of success. Its customers are:
- 54% more likely to give their culture of recognition a high rating than customers of other technology providers.
- 2.5 times more likely to see increased employee retention.
- 36% more likely to see an increase in employee engagement.
- 3.6 times more likely than customers of other providers to give recognition multiple times each month.
- 33% more likely to rate their employer brand higher than customers of Achievers’ competitors.
Employee Appreciation Day FAQ
Make Employee Appreciation fun by finding out ahead of time how your teams want to celebrate. Each team may have a different idea about what’s important to them. For some, it may be a team building event, for others, time off. Find a balance that works for everyone, while still allows you to celebrate together in some way as an organization.
You spoil your staff (in the best of ways) with unexpected, authentic demonstrations of your appreciation. These could be fun ways to say thank you, or new experiences to share together. It’s not about how much you spend on the surprise, it’s what it means to your employees to receive it.
It’s often about the little things and the consistent things. Rather than showing appreciation by giving money to employees (which has a limited impact on engagement), consider simpler tactics, such as: verbal recognition, handwritten notes, taking them out for lunch, hosting an in-office party, handing out gift cards, or simply asking them what sort of gesture of appreciation would matter most to them.
No, Employee Appreciation Day is always on the first Friday in March, so the actual date will change each year.
On Employee Appreciation Day, it’s important to say thank you, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated message. Simply thank them for their hard work, dedication to their team and organization, for being a champion of the company culture, and for simply being them!
The best way to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day is by asking employees what sort of event, gift, or experience would be the most meaningful to them. Celebrations can take the form of in-office parties, treating your employees to lunches out, giving personalized gifts or company swag — the sky is the limit.
In this article:
- When is National Employee Appreciation Day 2024?
- What is National Employee Appreciation Day?
- Why celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?
- How do you write an employee appreciation message?
- How do you thank your team on Employee Appreciation Day?
- 30 exciting employee appreciation day ideas
- Employee Appreciation Day FAQ
- Thrill your team on employee appreciation day with Achievers!