March 6th, 2020 marks National Employee Appreciation Day! How are you going to celebrate and honor your employees? If you’re like most businesses, who celebrate the unofficial holiday, you will offer a simple breakfast or lunch spread.

Free food is always appreciated, but you don’t need to stop there. Showcasing your gratitude towards your most important asset can be shown in many different ways. After all, your business couldn’t run without the support of your loyal employees!

Now here are a couple of creative ideas on what your business can do to show a little appreciation to your employees.

The History Of National Employee Appreciation Day

Often thought to have been created by Bob Nelson, National Employee Day can be traced back to 1995. There Bob was a founding board member on the Recognition Professional International Board. He pushed for the first Friday of every March to be a day of recognition and the importance of appreciating employees for their dedication of hard work and service.

Meeting, Business, Brainstorming

In reality, this day is really made to make a connection with your employees. Take advantage of this opportunity to truly show appreciation by the actions you make, not the words you say.

It is often thought that companies who show their recognition to their employees often get higher productivity, efficiency and lower turnover rates. This goes into the notion that you want your business to grow with managers promoted from within your company, not hired in. What a perfect way to gain more connectivity and get to know your workers in a social scenario than with National Employee Appreciation Day.

Fun Events for Employee Appreciation Day

1 ) Hold A Meeting To Celebrate Small Accomplishments

Positive reinforcement and acknowledgment have been shown to increase productivity from employees. Take this time to really show appreciation to the individuals that have really put effort into your business.

Instead of going to their desk and acknowledging them in passing, you can have a quick company meeting as a way to publically appreciate your employees. This creates a fun break in the morning and an opportunity for you to really showcase your gratitude. Make the meeting enjoyable, let everyone know that this can be a time to relax and to unwind themselves. Here are some fun ways you can make the meeting memorable:

  • Introduce a breakfast spread for everyone to enjoy
  • Decorate the meeting room with flowers, posters, and get creative
  • Give your employees a chance to nominate their peers
  • Do a gift card raffle
  • Showcase how the business has grown to show progress
  • Readout great reviews of your business, with employee names, if able, to raise morale
  • Have coffee and juices out to compliment breakfast

Keep the energy positive and polite and you will have a great start to your Employee Appreciation Day! Inform your employees of any additional plans you have in store for them throughout the day, or you can keep it as a surprise. Giving them something to look forward to will make this Friday more exciting.

2) Free Lunch For Everyone

Who doesn’t like a free lunch? Friday’s are the perfect day to hold a free meal for your employees. For many, food is the key to their heart, and stomach, and shows the ultimate appreciation for what they mean to you.

Pizza, Food, Takeout, Box, Pepperoni

Even hosting a pizza party lunch, which is relatively cheap, can go a long way to destress and create a good mood in the office. A cheap way to do so is to put on a movie in the breakroom and order in different variations of pizzas so that everybody can join in.

If able to, catering in lunch or renting out a restaurant for an hour can really drive home how much your company is willing to do to show appreciation. This can be coupled with giving everyone an extended lunch to really enjoy the moment. If in the office, play a movie and offer popcorn. Even have seating be organized so multiple people can enjoy the movie at the same time.

3) Half Day Friday

With Employee Appreciation Day being celebrated on the first Friday of every March, having a half-day Friday can really be utilized. Becoming more popular, many businesses have adopted this approach in other aspects in the year.

Used normally for special occasions, having half days creates a sense of the “last day of school” feeling for your employees. Coupled that with the other tips in this article, you can really create a sense of excitement and a boost of energy coming into work that day.

Many companies that use this strategy have waited until Lunch to let everyone know that they are dismissed to create a thrilling spontaneous moment. This can also create a chance for your employees to leave and get lunch together or plan another event after work. With a great start to the weekend, having half days definitely showcase that you pay attention to the needs of your employees and appreciate them.

4) After Office Hours Activity

Though rarer, having an after hour office party can be a great way to socialize without losing the productivity of the day! These activities are generally done after the work day is over and can be a fun event or even hosted at the office.

This set up can be a bit more costly than the other activities on this list, but has the potential to be the most memorable. Take control of your activity and put your employees enjoyment front and center.

Here are some fun ideas that your business can do:

  • Bowling Night: A classic night out. It is a fun and cheap way to get the whole company out of the office and socializing together. Rent out a few lanes and invite everyone’s family for an easy night of entertainment
  • Laser Tag: One of the more active activities, Laser Tag offers a fun way to double your fun activity into a team-building exercise. Don’t forget to give a small trophy to the top player or team!
  • Local Park Potluck: Especially if the weather is warm outside, having a park afternoon potluck is a good way to get your employees and their family involved. This includes a little bit of pre-planning to get a lot of mileage out of it, but well worth it!
  • Paint Night: What’s more relaxing than wine, cheese, and painting? It’s a night full of creativity and good vibes. Offer to take the canvases back with you to the office on Monday. It would allow all of your employees to spotlight their creations on their desks and to keep as a fun reminder of the night.

Any one of these events would serve as a good Friday night activity. Make sure to take a lot of pictures and share it in an email the following Monday. This leads us to our next and final point.

5) Social Media Shoutouts!

This is a simple reminder that you can share your appreciation for your employees in a way that incorporates your followers too! Social Media Shutouts offers immense opportunity to show your company followers about the culture you have set up for your business.

Take the pictures of the events you’ve had throughout the year and make a slide show of them. Both Facebook and Instagram allow you to put multiple pictures in a collage format for you to post. Using this platform you’re able to shoutout and mention employees or write out a message about your company as a whole.

Social Media allows users to open the curtain of your business and get a glimpse into your companies culture. Let them see how you interact with your employees, especially if it contains a message from the CEO.

Many companies may take the same route, so make sure you do something special to stand out in the feed. A company video showcasing testimonials of your company from your employees would be appropriate. You can even do a small tour of the workplace and showcase your employees working hard. If you work with clients, this could even be emailed to them to showcase your business and remind them of your services.

Mix Them Together!

In reality, there should be a good mix of these suggestions to make a great day happen. You could show your appreciation with just an email but your employees will forget about it as soon as they finish reading it. Don’t be that boss!

Showcase that you actually understand the needs of your employees and have fun with it! Though this day is for them, it is actually is your day to build fun experiences for them to enjoy. Your employees work hard for you, and this day gives you that chance to repay their efforts.

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