Employee Appreciation Day

Next Friday, 7 March 2025

Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday in March, and this day celebrates employees for their hard work and dedication to their job. 

It is also a great opportunity to create better relationships between employees and their bosses and companies. 

This is not a public holiday, so most businesses and schools will remain open. Many employers, however, will give their staff some time off work on this day to participate in activities with their colleagues. 

Employees working in bright and light office cubicles

Why is Employee Appreciation Day Celebrated?

This day is a great day for bosses to show their employees what their strongest abilities are and motivate them with positive reinforcement. How employees are treated by management and others in their company can affect their motivation. According to a Gallup study in 2016, a positive perception of employee engagement can lead to a 21% increase in profitability and a 41% reduction in absenteeism. So it is also clearly a great way for companies to retain their most valuable employees. 

History of Employee Appreciation Day

Workman Publishing published a calendar in 1995 which included Employee Appreciation Day for the first time. It is believed that it was the publisher and founder of Recognition Professional International, Bob Nelson, who came up with the idea for this holiday. He realized and wanted to share the importance of keeping employees satisfied and happy.

Bob Nelson is a recognized expert in the field of employee motivation and engagement, and the author of several books on the subject, including the popular book “1001 Ways to Reward Employees”. His book shares suggestions of things companies can do to show appreciation toward their employees. It also refers to the action many companies have already taken, including giving days off to employees in appreciation.

His book is widely considered to have sparked the interest in creating an official day to dedicate to Employees.

Since then, the holiday has gained traction in the United States, with more companies organizing activities on the day. The day has also traveled across the world, and it is now celebrated in Canada, the UK, and in other countries too. 

The American Worker

America, the land of dreams and opportunities, is home to 159,244,000 employees (according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Here are a few facts you should know about this workforce: 

  • The average American employee works 34.4 hours per week.
  • The United States has one of the highest percentages of working mothers in the world, with 70% of mothers with children under 18 working full-time. By contrast, that percentage is 61% in Canada and 63% in The UK. 
  • In 2019, the average employee tenure in the United States was 4.2 years. It is similar in The UK at 4.6 years and slightly higher in Canada at 5.0 years. 
  • The United States has one of the highest rates of employee turnover in the world, with 20% of employees leaving their jobs each year.
  • The United States has one of the highest percentages of workers who are self-employed in the world, with 15% of workers being self-employed.

Let's celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Celebrating Employees

Some employers choose to give some days off to their employees, as sometimes flexibility in scheduling has been shown to increase productivity. Gifts are also a popular way to show recognition, either in the form of a gift card, or small upgrades in the office to boost morale. 

Some companies organize a day out for everyone, where they play sports, go bowling or have a barbecue, to do some team-building exercises. 

There are many ways to show employee appreciation, and organizations need to find the right approach that works best for them. Some popular methods include:

  • providing monetary rewards or bonuses,
  • offering flexible working arrangements,
  • giving employees time off
  • providing meals out, such as breakfast or lunch. 

It is important to note that employee appreciation is not just about providing tangible rewards. It is also about providing recognition and acknowledgment for the work that employees do every day. 

Showing Appreciation

One of the most effective ways to show employee appreciation is through verbal recognition. This can be done through simple gestures such as saying “thank you” or “great job”.

Many companies have more formal recognition programs such as employee of the month or performance recognition programs. These can be a great way to show employees that their hard work and dedication are valued and appreciated. Additionally, it can also serve as a motivator for employees to strive for higher levels of performance and to reach their full potential.

Thank you written on a card next to a bouquet of purple flower, a pen and a small parcel

Another way to show employee appreciation is through increased opportunities. These can include flexible working arrangements or opportunities to attend training and development programs. These types of rewards can be particularly effective as they provide employees with a sense of autonomy and control over their careers, which is a key driver of job satisfaction. 

Employee appreciation can also be shown through team-building activities, which are a great way to build camaraderie and a sense of belonging among employees. It can also serve as a way to bring employees together, encouraging them to share ideas and work together towards a common goal. This can lead to improved team dynamics and increased productivity, which can ultimately benefit the organization as a whole.

Be Appreciative

Employee Appreciation Day is the day to show appreciation and to feel appreciated. This means it should also be a day to reflect on your position within a company and how well you are being appreciated, and as a manager, showing appreciation. Whilst appreciation is not the only reason to remain in a job, a lack of appreciation may be a good reason to reconsider those reasons and think about the future. 

Employee Appreciation Day
Employee Appreciation Day

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