Today is Employee Appreciation Day, a time to recognize employees for their contributions in the workplace and to let them know they are valued.
According to Recognition Professionals International, Employee Appreciation Day first arrived on calendars in 1995. Employee Appreciation Day is a way of focusing the attention of all employers, in all industries on employee recognition. It is always the first Friday in March.
Employee recognition is more powerful than any other motivator. We all know cash bonuses are spent on bills and many perks are soon forgotten. Personalizing recognition can create a memory and those memories build higher performance. Recognition can take a hundred forms and variations. Here are just a few ideas:
n Ask an employee to write down six ways he or she would like to be rewarded. Anything goes. The only rule is that half the ideas need to be low cost or no cost.
n Schedule lunch dates with employees. Give them an opportunity to select the luncheon site, and use the time to simply get to know them better.
n Offer a free one-year subscription to an employee's favorite business magazine and have it sent to his or her home.
n Consider a gift certificate entitling an employee to lunch with you or another mentor of his/her choosing for the purpose of being coached on one or more topics.
n Offer a shopping spree to a local supply store for an employee to get items (no staplers or paper clips allowed) to personalize his/her office or cubicle.
n Give the gift of wellness. Have a limousine pick up an employee for a full day at a spa. Give gift coupons for ballroom dance, yoga or golf lessons.
n Give fun-loving employees a series of On your mark-get set-GO cards that they can redeem at their discretion. For example: Leave work early to go to a movie, or shopping or play ball.
n Send a handwritten note of thanks for the completion of a job well done.
n If an employee stays late/goes above and beyond to complete a project, send the employee and his/her partner to a nice dinner.
n Purchase a company "toy" your employees would most enjoy: a cappuccino machine, dart board, volleyball court or exercise room.