There’s no question Valentine’s Day is a tricky holiday to celebrate in a professional setting. “Cupid should steer clear of the workplace,” Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith advises. But even if Cupid is banned, the holiday is still an excellent time to recognize employees with kindness and goodwill. It also happens to be Random Acts of Kindness Week (through Feb. 16) so it’s the perfect time for a thoughtful and unexpected gesture of “thanks”.
A Short History of Valentine’s Day
First, a few interesting details from the history of Valentine’s Day (culled from an in-depth history on History.com).
The origins of the holiday have been traced to an early Roman pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia. On this day, priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification, then dip strips of the goat hide into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because they believed it would make them more fertile in the coming year.
Later in the day, legend has it that all the young women in the city would put their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then pull a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with that woman. (These matches often ended in marriage.)
Valentine’s Day as we know it now started out as an attempt to “Christianize” Lupercalia. Later, it turned into a celebration of romance. In the Middle Ages, Feb. 14 was thought of as the first day of the bird mating season. People soon started celebrating the day by sending each other “valentines.”
The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned. But the practice of trading valentines wasn’t widely practiced until the mid-18th century.
Valentine’s Day even in its early days wasn’t just for lovers. Valentines were often exchanged between friends as small tokens of affection.
So, while it’s best not to encourage romance in your workplace, it isn’t a historical stretch to take Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for recognizing employees and colleagues. As long as any attention or gift-giving is appropriate and directed at everyone, not just some employees, it’s fine.
5 Easy Ways to Recognize Employees on Valentine’s Day
1) Take a moment to collectively remember why you love your workplace. It can be a team-building experience, career expert and author Nicole Williams tells Forbes: “Create a ‘Love Board’ where everyone can share what they love about their job.”
2) Say “Happy Valentine’s Day!” It’s a friendly gesture, and as long as inappropriate flirting and sexual connotations are kept out of it, your employees and co-workers will appreciate the attention.
3) Bring in flowers, chocolates or cookies for the whole office. Again, as long as you’re not targeting a specific person, this is a safe and fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day at work.
4) Go donate blood. Invite coworkers and employees to join you. Check the Red Cross for details and to find places to donate.
5) Remember how it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week? Unexpected gestures, even if it’s just a small hand-written note of gratitude, will remind your coworkers and employees why they love working at the company.
For more ideas on recognizing employees any day, please enjoy our free eBook “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving”. Click the image below to download and start engaging employees today!
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-484-1658.
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