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5 ways to get the most out of your employee appreciation day

Michael Bertrand
by Michael Bertrand on May 27, 2014

brafton62Whether you're holding your own employee appreciation day or brainstorming your approach to the national event, you want to create the biggest possible impact. The point isn't to shower your workers with food and prizes - it's to recognize their contributions and inspire them to continue to offer their best efforts toward your company's success. Therefore, when you plan your next big day, keep these ideas in mind:

  1. Find out what they enjoy. Instead of going with classic gestures like corporate schwag or gift cards, consider investigating what activities or rewards would be most meaningful to your team members. You could use resources such as employee polls to do a little reconnaissance, soliciting opinions from your workers on their favorites ways to celebrate or how they picture the ideal office party. Tailoring your appreciation day to their preferences will enable you to recognize their achievements while also demonstrating that you care about them on a more personal level.
  2. Treat them to lunch or dessert, but don't stop there. Just as employee rewards can augment intrinsic motivators but aren't as effective on their own, providing lunch, drinks or snacks for your employees can be a great start to an appreciation day. However, a more meaningful - and memorable - reward will go beyond spending a few bucks on tasty treats. You could decorate the celebration room with posters that showcase your employees' successes or design a theme that highlights one of the greatest challenges your team recently overcame.
  3. Offer personalized appreciation. The more personal your appreciation day, the bigger its impact. If you oversee a large organization, you might not be able to give handwritten notes to each of your employees, but you could have managers or colleagues write cards for their team members or better yet, send personalized notes of recognition via the company intranet. Employee recognition software offers a valuable resource in this regard: By tracking workers' accomplishments, the platform creates a database of successes that supervisors and peers can then use to tailor their appreciation notes for each person. 
  4. Include the element of surprise. Sometimes an unexpected celebration carries a bigger bang than routine events. Surprising your employees with a fun break at the end of a week can make for a great appreciation day. Keep in mind, however, that you want to make sure all workers can take part. If you're planning a larger surprise, take care to ensure that employees don't schedule meetings, client calls or other obligations during the time period. You might have to make the details a surprise, rather than the event as a whole.
  5. Hold activities outside of the office - on your time, not theirs. Choosing fun community events, such as a trip to the local movie theater, a picnic in the park or a happy hour at a nearby bar can make for memorable appreciation occasions. Although most people enjoy such arrangements, you should make sure not to create additional burdens for your workers. If you hold events during the workday, consider adjusting quotas and other expectations so employees won't struggle to make up for lost time afterward.

The best appreciation days supplement ongoing employee recognition efforts. These strategies form a culture of acknowledgement that consistently celebrates success and motivates top performance. Learn more about why social recognition matters to your employees:

why social recognition matters

Michael Bertrand
Written by Michael Bertrand

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