Friday, March 4 was designated National Employee Appreciation Day.  Did this catch you by surprise? Did you scramble to get your social media post up? Don’t fret! The thing about Employee Appreciation Day is that, as leaders, we know it’s important to show our gratitude throughout the year. However, we do 100% support the sentiment behind a special day to recognize employees whether it’s the first Friday in March or not.


A special day allows us to think about what employee appreciation means to the company and to consider the best ways to express that thanks. Feeling valued for our workplace contributions has a direct impact on the bottom line.  Many studies conclude that employee appreciation is directly tied with job satisfaction, workplace happiness, and employees morale.  By showing that you genuinely care, it can increase your employees motivation, increase their engagement, build their loyalty, and increase overall productivity. In this ever-competitive job market, we can all agree these are outcomes that can certainly boost employee retention and satisfaction.

Looking for some ideas to show your gratitude and reinforce that success with the rest of the team?  Before you go out and purchase those bulk gift cards, it is important to recognize employee recognition is not a one size fits all.  Just like we have our different wardrobe preferences, employee appreciation is no different.  Think about what resonates best with your team.  Staff recognition and appreciation should fit with your team’s culture.  Appreciation also doesn’t need to always come in the form of a monetary amount.  


Here are some best practices and tips:


  1. Recognize your employee in front of the team. This is a win/win.  Not only does your employee get the compliment from you and her colleagues, but it is reinforcing the desired successes to the rest of the team.
  2. Write a note to your employees’ spouse or partner.  Thank them for their support, and let them know how much you admire and appreciate their partner’s service.
  3. A Day Off.  Yes, it is as simple as that.  An extra day that doesn’t dip into their vacation days can provide some much-needed rest and relaxation.
  4. Have your boss or the head of the department/company send a handwritten thank you note.  A lot of employee’s value recognition from the top and most will display that note as a constant reminder of being valued and appreciated.  Consider a heartfelt communication out to the team of how much your appreciate and value them.  Be specific on team achievements and the importance of how their commitment keeps your company successful.


The gift that keeps on giving…

  1. Consider adding an Employee of The Month parking spot in your lot.  Every morning and afternoon your employees’ colleagues see them getting out and in their car, knowing that they did something extra special to earn that spot.  Plus, BONUS – shorter distance into the building and maybe a couple of extra minutes to sleep in/beat the traffic home!
  2. Offer to swap a work task or responsibility for a day or even week.  Mundane paperwork, dreaded filing, answering customer complaint calls.  Give your employee a little break from their least favorite task(s) and gives you the opportunity to show to the team that nothing is beneath you!
  3. An extra-long lunch at their favorite restaurant.  Consider inviting your boss or department/company leader.
  4. Consider adding a “Reward Box.”  Each time an employee goes above and beyond, write it down and put it in the box.  Each week or each month get the team together and pick a name out of the box.  Let the team know what that employee did to get in the Reward Box.  Optional – give a small gift card to that employee.
  5. Talk with your employee.  Let them know how great their achievement was and how it positively impacted the company.  Tell them it is important to you and the company that they know how appreciated they are.  Then ask them “How can I best show my appreciation for you.”
  6. FOOD.  Yes, this one never goes out of style.  Consider an ice cream social to celebrate the employee or team’s accomplishments.  But you should be the one to serve the ice cream and clean up!


Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated annually on the first Friday of March as a recognition of the good work of employees. So go ahead and mark your calendar now for Friday March 3, 2023. And plan ahead to show some special recognition for your rocking team!