National Employee Appreciation Day falls on 4th March each year, so this Friday is YOUR opportunity to show YOUR staff even more love, recognition and appreciation than you might usually show them, although it’s important to remember that, because employees matter, we should recognise and appreciate our staff’s contribution to the organisation’s success EVERY DAY in every way, ALL YEAR ROUND – agreed?
This year however, we may want to extend NEA Day to the whole week (starting today) or even the whole month of March, given the challenging events of the last two years. Your employees have sure had their fair share of challenges – from weathering the storms of remote, hybrid &/or frontline working thanks to the global pandemic, to the actual stormy weather that has challenged many companies and their communities to the absolute hilt in recent weeks.
There are so many worrying reports out there right now, telling us how employee engagement and staff wellbeing is at an all-time low, with the Great Resignation adding to employers’ concerns, reporting that 67% of employees are currently looking for alternative work. And while it seems we are over the worst of the pandemic, with all COVID-19 restrictions being lifted last week, what IS clear is the fact that these last two years really have taken their toll.
My good friend and fellow entrepreneur Jacqui Mann, HR & Culture Specialist at J Mann Associates recently reported on a survey of 2,200 employees by the employee wellbeing platform, Champion Health – and the results are not pretty:
* 67% were experiencing moderate or high levels of success
* 28% had seen their productivity drop over the last two years
* 52% said they had symptoms of depression
* More than half said they felt fatigued and that that fatigue was impacting their work
* And even more worrying, 8% had experienced self-harm or suicidal thoughts
Turn the scenario on its head, and start focusing on employee engagement and wellbeing and it’s a very different picture, according to the 2022 Global Culture Report:
* When employees feel appreciated, there is an 84% decrease in the chance they will experience burnout
* When companies celebrate together (on days like NEA Day 😊), employees are 20x more likely to feel connected and want to stay
* When companies recognise the value employees (hybrid & remote workers, in particular) bring to the table, by offering a variety of Reward & Recognition (R&R) schemes, an impressive increase in all of these areas follows:
If you have a great corporate culture, you’ll already know how important it is to recognise and appreciate your employees all year long (according to Gallup, employees should be recognised or praised every 7 days). Showing employees just how much they are valued naturally increases employee engagement, boosts employee morale and ensures your organisation becomes an even greater place to work, where your culture AND your employees can thrive.
So, what are some of the ways we can all celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2022?
Well, one of the first things to appreciate is that ALL employees should be recognised on this day i.e. in office, remote AND hybrid workers. It’s vital to recognise EVERYONE’S contribution, so whether your staff work in the office or remotely, make sure your efforts to thank each of them reach them equally. If you plan a celebration in the office, also make efforts to include remote workers in the celebration (provide a delivery-lunch for them or post a personal gift to their home or have a virtual team meeting with pre-delivered bubbles at the ready🍾)
How to Celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day
Host a Happy Hour
At the start or end of the day on Friday, down tools and have a celebratory nosh & natter (posh coffee & bagels or donuts in the morning or a glass of bubbly or Kombucha with a light buffet at clocking-off time)
Host an Appreciation Party
Host an after-work pizza party or gala buffet in the breakroom or common area with plenty of board games or get a Fun At Work activity box delivered (https://www.funatwork.co.uk) . 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.
Pamper your People
Indulge your team on this day – and let them take a break from their hard work. Hire a manicurist, masseuse, or chiropractor to come to the office. Reserve an escape room, or learn to cook from an accomplished chef or book a team meal at the team’s favourite restaurant. Having a Mindfulness coach come in to teach your employees tips to lower their stress is another winning option. These activities emphasise your organisation’s commitment to employee wellness and helps everyone to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Donate to Charity
Giving to charities who your employees support shows that you care about what they care about. You can donate to organisations in employees’ names or provide employees with a set amount to donate for NEA Day only or per month, per quarter, or even per year.
Give out Swag Bags
Fill them with goodies such as sweet treats, snacks, company-logo merchandise (water bottles are popular) &/or gift cards to local restaurants or shops or a pair of cinema tickets or an Amazon voucher
(to the desk or home) a simple bouquet of flowers to everyone – yes, even men appreciate flowers (if only to re-gift to their partner or mum 😂)
Spend the Day Away
Employees love to get paid for having fun! Consider a field trip away from the office. Take the team on an outing to the zoo; a museum; a theme park; a tour of a brewery or a purpose-made activity centre (if your employees live near the New Forest, check out New Forest Activities https://www.newforestactivities.co.uk/ an awesome place run by my fellow entrepreneur Sam Sutton)
Have an Early Dart
Many offices are able to take this opportunity to let their staff go home early (just for this day) although get paid for the full day. Who wouldn’t enjoy an extra few hours off in the afternoon to use as they wish!? It’s an easy way to show your appreciation that doesn’t require a great deal of planning ahead.
Send a Thank You Card
They say ‘thanks is the most neglected form of compensation’ and it’s a cheap and easy one to implement, so handwrite a thank you card and leave on your employees’ desk or post to their home – or even easier, send an e-card with images of your appreciation for them and email to them before the day starts
Have a Laugh!
Check out Pete Cann, The Laughter Man https://www.petecann.com and his brilliant Laughter Yoga sessions – a great way to start or end EVERY day, not just National Employee Appreciation Day! It’s soooo true that laughter really is the best medicine.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – a great football manager would never look after the wellbeing of his fans before looking after his players, and so it should be in business.
The greatest testament to this mantra comes from That Recruitment Company’s Director, Chris Stringer, whose employee Emily Lloyd posted on LinkedIn last month:
“When I joined That Recruitment Company I knew it was a bit different, that’s why I liked it. I’ve lost count of all the ‘nice’ things we get here, from half day Friday’s, club lunches, a trip to Dublin, duvet days (yep you can literally stay in bed for the day 😌). To the other stuff; structured training, uncapped commission and very real promotions and pay rises. We do it all and we don’t shout about it enough. So when Chris emailed us today to acknowledge the crazy hike in inflation with a company wide pay rise, I wasn’t even surprised. Grateful yes, surprised no. Thanks Chris Stringer, there’s not many like you.”
Here’s a copy of Chris’s email to ALL STAFF:
Oh and btw, in case you’re interested, Friday 4th March is also NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING (do a digital detox) AND NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY (there, their!) AND NATIONAL OVERSEAS NHS WORKERS DAY (almost 14% of all NHS staff are made up of different nationalities) AND this Friday is also MARCHING BAND DAY (meant as a day to build awareness around the ‘marching arts’, from the Broadway stage to football stadiums, the battlefield and the training field, with the oldest recorded marching band being the Notre Dame Marching Band, which was started up in 1845.)
Until next time, remember – an employee should be for LIFE, not just for National Employee Appreciation Day!