The Workplace Has Changed
Our work lives have been transformed by the pandemic. Despite the optimism brought by vaccine approvals, the fact remains it may be a long-time before we are back to business as normal, if at all.
This new world of work provides both challenges and opportunities for recruiting, nurturing and retaining employees. Workplace leaders recognize the value of being creative and adaptive during these times.
Josh Bersin, HR industry expert, sees this time “as an incredible opportunity to transform”. “Companies are treating employees better than ever.” There is a new focus on protecting employees’ “personal productivity, wellbeing and personal resilience.”
Rethinking Employee Engagement and Appreciation
Our Employee Celebration Calendar could not come at a more needed time.
We have created a resource that presumes social distancing and remote work will dominate 2021. And, one that provides the inspiration and creative ideas to help keep employees feeling valued and important to the success of your organization in the uncertain year ahead.
Take advantage of this unique time to invest in employee engagement. Our popular one-of-a-kind resource provides the fresh perspective and resources you need to retool your employee appreciation efforts for today’s workplace.
Showing appreciation is even more crucial now.
As Sabina Nawaz wrote in a Harvard Business Review article about how a little thanks goes a long way:
“Research clearly indicates expressing gratitude is beneficial to our health and well-being. During a crisis, taking the time to thank others is vital to dampen loneliness, amp up social connection and generate generosity.”
We’ve curated a collection of impactful and inspiring articles, resources, best practices, stats and quotes that will help guide you through 2021.
The year ahead may still present challenges, but it also provides new opportunities to build connections with employees. Eileen McNeely, a Harvard School of Public Health researcher, shared that her team’s studies indicate that caring and empathy from management and employee trust in management is a “great driver of well-being.”
As we wrote in the intro to the 2021 calendar, we’ve seen success stories emerging during the pandemic that underscore what we have known all along — HR leaders are nimble, creative and passionate. The calendar is a reflection of gThankYou’s commitment to helping workplace leaders who continue to create loyal workforces and cultures of appreciation, even during a pandemic.
Your free 2021 Employee Celebration Calendar will guide you through each month with:
- Research-based suggestions for building a culture of gratitude.
- Monthly celebration ideas to engage employees.
- Recommendations for current, topical resources.
- Inspiring and current real-world examples.
Don’t wait! Download your free copy now and share with colleagues. We hope the new year brings fresh optimism and hope for the future. Visit our website for more free resources for building a lasting workplace culture of gratitude.
Your friends at gThankYou
Any time is a good time to say thank you to employees! Workers who feel valued and appreciated will be happier, more productive and more loyal.
The transition from spring to summer presents a wide variety of established opportunities to show appreciation that naturally fit into this season, but don’t lose sight of the impact of saying thank you and showing gratitude any day of the year.As American philosopher and psychologist Williams James astutely observed:“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”Saying thanks in the workplace matters really does matter to the success of your business! Check out these numbers from O.C. Tanner’s “The Business Case for Recognition”:
- O.C. Tanner revealed that 94% of regularly recognized employees said it motivates them to do great work
- WorkHuman shared that 89% of regularly recognized employees are highly engaged
- The Wall Street Journal reported that 81% of employees say they work harder for a grateful manager
- Glassdoor disclosed that 53% would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss
While some may pick the official Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate their employees’ contributions, really any day is the perfect day to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to your business! (more…)
Didn’t plan ahead for Employee Appreciation Day which occurs the first Friday in March? Or are you just looking for anytime employee appreciation ideas to help you and your team brainstorm for the coming months?
We’ve got you covered!
First, don’t worry that you haven’t planned ahead. A big appreciation dinner that takes months of planning — with catered food, entertainment and party games — can be a treat for employees, but it’s far from the only way to thank employees for their hard work.
In fact, spontaneous “Thanks!” are just as important. Everyday expressions of gratitude show employees that their efforts are noticed day in and day out, not just once or twice a year.
It gets to the heart of why employee appreciation is so meaningful: it communicates to staff that leadership is paying attention to them and cares about their performance. A few words of recognition from leadership mean a lot to rank-and-file employees, particularly in a distributed workforce, where face time with the C-suite is infrequent or nonexistent.
Bottom line: people love to be noticed for what they do. Everyday appreciation is a reminder that their work matters.
“Saying ‘Thank You’ encourages a gracious, polite and civilized workplace,” writes ChicagoNow’s Scott Huntington.
Over time, thanking employees fosters a culture in which gratitude is shared frequently and effortlessly. And that has a real business impact: 78 percent of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated, according to Limeade.
Employee Appreciation Ideas: 10 Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ on the Fly
gThankYou’s popular Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2018 is here!
We’ve updated our annual day-to-day appreciation calendar with lots of new topics, new case studies and even more holidays and reasons to celebrate! Download your free copy of our “2018 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar” and jump-start your employee engagement and appreciation planning for the New Year.
Appreciation is a major factor in workplace happiness and functionality. And employees are more likely than ever to leave their company if they don’t receive it.
According to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, 66 percent of employees would leave their companies if they did not feel appreciation — up from 51 percent in 2012.
Everyone wins when company leaders prioritize employee appreciation.
“Recognizing the benefits we receive from others makes us happier and healthier, enhances trust and loyalty, and encourages people to connect and invest in the workplace,” writes Greater Good’s Amie M. Gordon.
Sounds great, right?
The challenge is finding ways to consistently and authentically show appreciation, day in and day out. Vowing to thank employees more often is a good start, for example, but it isn’t specific enough to be an actionable goal.
gThankYou’s 2018 Employee Appreciation Calendar helps you identify your company’s specific needs and develop a plan to share gratitude throughout the year (not just at the holidays or annual appreciation dinner). Ultimately, the goal is a happier workforce, higher retention and bigger profits.
Read on for a sneak peek at what our 2018 Calendar has in store for you!
The 4th of July is behind us. Up ahead: two months of summer — sunny, lazy, distracting summer, with vacation days and “summer Fridays” tempting employees at every turn.
In other words? A recipe for disengagement. And your task is keeping employees engaged.
It’s not as tough as you may think! Keeping up engagement levels through the summer months depends on a good balance that integrates fun, freedom, fitness and focus.
If employees have opportunities for regular, low-key summertime celebrations that center on accomplishments, family and wellness, they’ll be more likely to be productive the rest of the time.
This is the thinking behind the HR shift from “work-life balance” to “work-life integration,” according to the Limeade blog post “How to Keep Your Work-Life Integration On Track This Summer.”
“We believe you need to focus on the whole employee, rather than separating who they are in the office and who they are at home,” the Limeade marketing team writes.
“And it’s your job to find ways to connect and integrate the two. … Work-life balance implies a zero-sum game that says we can’t have it all. Work-life integration lets us coordinate, blend and bring elements of work and life into a unified whole.”
Employees in organizations that focus on work-life integration initiatives like social support and wellbeing are more likely to be engaged, more likely to recommend their employer to others and more likely to “go the extra mile” for the company.
Now’s not the time to pull out draconian rules or punish employees for wanting to enjoy their summer — that’s the old way of doing things and it didn’t work.
Instead, be inspired by the following summertime workplace celebration ideas to plan your own engagement calendar for the season.
You don’t have to break the budget to show heartfelt receptionist appreciation!
National Receptionists Day is always the second Wednesday in May.
First launched in 1991, National Receptionists Day celebrates the role of professional receptionists. It’s a day set aside to recognize and appreciate all the work that receptionists do to help organizations run smoothly.
Why receptionists? They’re the face of your company. Receptionists are usually the first (and sometimes only) company representative your customers or clients interact with. Often, they’re the first to explain your company’s products or services, or hear feedback.
And they’re doing all that while fielding phone calls, coordinating schedules and handling deliveries!
Great receptionists are knowledgeable, friendly and fast.
Making sure your receptionists feel appreciated and included in your company culture is key to promoting a positive company image. Your gratitude makes the difference. Read on for 10 receptionist appreciation ideas that won’t break your budget!
Grab your coffee, Gallup is serving business leaders a wake-up call.
Employee recognition needs to be a top priority, according to Gallup’s massive State of the American Workplace.
Experts at Gallup are calling the report a “call to action” for companies, starting with a complete overhaul of employee recognition and engagement strategy.
The old ways of managing employees just aren’t working, and change isn’t optional.
Released last week, the 214-page report is Gallup’s first comprehensive survey of the U.S. workplace in four years. Gallup bases its research on data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees, 31 million respondents through Gallup’s Q12 Client Database, and insights from Fortune 1000 companies.
It’s a lot of data to unpack — but it’s incredibly useful. The report gives HR leaders and managers an in-depth look at how they’re doing across the board. It’s not a rosy picture.
If you’ve been following Gallup’s excellent month-to-month workplace research, some of the report’s data won’t be surprising. Engagement numbers are still dismally low — only 33 percent of American workers are engaged at their jobs, and productivity continues to decline. More than half are looking for work elsewhere.
But the report also provides new data and insights into why employees aren’t more engaged or productive. Again and again, the data points to a need for more engaged leadership and much better employee recognition.
The once-a-year model of employee recognition just doesn’t cut it anymore.
The new year will be here before you know it! Staff appreciation gifts for the New Year are the perfect way to celebrate the successes of the prior year and get energized for what’s ahead.
New Year’s is widely celebrated and non-religious, making it a good choice for a workplace celebration.
“Focus on thanking employees for a successful year and encouraging the same enthusiasm and dedication to the company for the approaching New Year,” according to the SHRM article “HR Pros: Make Year-End Celebrations Inclusive.”
Thanks, a small gift and shared meal were among the most common year-end employee celebration suggestions from HR pros in a recent SHRM poll.
The New Year is a time of reflection — we look back at the past year and make decisions about how to approach life and work in the coming year. Are you doing this with your employees? It’s a great chance to get motivated and focused together.
Simply celebrating together is a powerful way to build workplace spirit.
“Taking a little time to bond socially and relax can benefit your employees and motivate them to keep coming back for more,” Cynthia Measom writes in the Chron article, “5 Things to Motivate Employees in a New Year.”
What makes a great employee gift for the New Year? Read on for ideas of staff appreciation gifts that communicate gratitude, share in the celebration of company achievements and — most importantly — delight employees!
5 Staff Appreciation Gifts to Kick Off the Year
Why share a New Year’s gift in the workplace? Because New Year’s is…
- celebrated by all.
- an important milestone.
- a time of reflection and goal-setting.
As always, focus on gratitude, however you choose to celebrate and whatever gift you choose for employees.
We’re all excited by the potential of the New Year and a “clean slate,” but don’t be quick to brush last year into the past. Taking time to recognize the wins of the past year is key to motivation and inspiration for the next 12 months.
Choose a gift that shares in the fun, aspirational nature of the New Year. Here are five ideas:
1. ‘Happy New Year’ CEO letter
Any gift should include a short Thank You note or “Thanks” in person, but take it a step further with a longer letter from the CEO or other top brass. Now is a great time to go over what worked well for your business in the previous year and and inspire even better results in the upcoming year.
Don’t know where to start? Download our free ebook on how to write a holiday Thank You letter. You’ll find specific how-to’s and inspiration from real-life examples of CEO holiday letters. (The ebook is geared toward Thanksgiving, but we think the advice is great for writing a New Year’s letter, too!)
2. Flowers or potted plants for the office
Bring fresh oxygen into your workplace with bouquets or a few pretty, easy-to-maintain potted plants. During these short winter days, a little greenery and color goes a long way to brighten everyone’s day.
3. ‘Culture book’
Take a cue from Zappo’s and create a “culture book” with input from employees. Think of it as a high school yearbook, but for your staff — highlight personal and team achievements from the past year with photos and quotes. Focus on appreciation and on how employees define your company’s unique cultural identity.
A culture book is a great add-on gift and helps keep your company model alive, relevant and fresh. As Gaping Void points out, culture is fluid: “Culture isn’t a set of laws. It can’t be imposed — culture is shared.”
4. End-of-year potluck celebration
On a budget? Decorate the break room with New Year’s streamers and balloons and host an end-of-year potluck. Provide the plates, napkins, table clothes, utensils, etc., and invite employees to bring their favorite holiday dish. If budget allows, share a $5 gift certificate for candy or ice cream with each employee. Have management talk about the year’s successes and challenges and what to look forward to in the year ahead.
5. Treats for staying healthy in the new year
Share a gift that encourages healthy habits. It will jumpstart your wellness initiative and help employees keep their get-healthy New Year’s resolutions. Be sure the tone of your gift is positive, not critical. It should promote healthy eating and staying active, not specifically weight-loss, which could be a downer for someone already struggling to lose weight.
A gThankYou! Fruits and Vegetables Gift Certificate is a great way to thank employees and help them keep resolutions to eat better this new year, for example. Even better: when you share the Gift Certificates, bring in a local chef to teach a class on how to incorporate more fruits and veggies into meals.
Have You Started Your Employee Recognition Planning?
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
We have a New Year’s gift for you! Download the gThankYou Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar. It gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free, and get your planning started for the New Year!
Make a commitment today to better workplace engagement. Download our “how-to” planning guide to building an everyday culture of appreciation.
Veterans Day is Nov. 11. Wondering how to thank veterans in your workplace and beyond?
If you aren’t already, now’s a great time to start incorporating celebrations of giving and honor (like Veterans Day) into your employee engagement calendar!
Thanking the veterans in your workplace isn’t just a nice thing to do for them, it’s also an excellent opportunity to engage all employees with gratitude and a good cause. Employees now more than ever are embracing workplace volunteerism, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and giving back to their community with coworkers.
Here are five tips for how to thank veterans in your workplace and community as a tool for employee engagement.
Roll out the red carpet! Welcome gifts for new hires are trending as a way to help employees feel appreciated from day one.
“First days are tough. You haven’t made ‘work friends’ yet so you feel alone, you don’t know the company culture or jargon yet so you feel confused, and you are quite literally lost (‘Where’s the coffee and bathroom?),” writes Forbes contributor and employee engagement expert Kevin Kruse in his article, “1 Thing Every New Hire Should Get On Their First Day.”
Welcome gifts — accompanied by a nice introduction letter, as Kruse suggests — are essential to effective onboarding and making a good first impression. They send the message right away that new hires are welcome, needed and appreciated.
Summer hires count, too! Start them right with a small gift that says “Thank you for joining us.” Read on for tips and best practices for sharing new hire welcome gifts.
Looking for a team bonding activity that gets people talking, laughing and learning together? Share stories of teacher appreciation! You’ll be amazed and inspired.
Stories about the teachers we appreciate are a window into our own values and aspirations, and telling and listening to these stories with coworkers helps us connect and builds a culture of gratitude.
The Los Angeles Times is soliciting stories of gratitude for National Teacher Appreciation Week and collecting them on the social platform Medium using the hashtag #teacherappreciation.
The Times’ Dexter Thomas calls for a broad interpretation of “teacher” to include anyone whose knowledge and influence had a lasting impact.
“We seem to view ‘teacher’ too narrowly. A lot of the people who made me who I am today didn’t have teaching credentials. Some of them I’ve never even met,” Thomas writes. “So as we were talking about teachers in the Los Angeles Times newsroom today, I realized — we’ve all been influenced by a variety of people. You’ve probably got a favorite childhood teacher or coach. You probably owe your sense of fashion, or music sense, or interest in a hobby, to some influential person.”
Workplace mentors also count! We all have a coworker, boss or other influential person in our life who teaches us new skills, motivates us to do our best work and keeps us on track in moments of doubt.
Read on for three great stories of teacher appreciation this week. Who are you going to reach out and thank for changing your life?
Happy Administrative Professionals Day!
Today we’re celebrating the people who make our lives easier and our offices run smoothly day in and day out: administrative assistants, receptionists, secretaries, personal assistants, data managers and other administrative support professionals.
WHSU Public Radio Group columnist David Bouchier praises admins in an essay this week.
“The essential fact about administrative professionals,” Bouchier writes, “is that they actually do most of the real work in any office and, in my experience, they usually run the place. Imagine the chaos if hospitals were run by doctors, or universities by professors.”
Administrative Professionals Day is a reminder that our admins deserve daily appreciation: “Flowers and gifts are all very well, but a few words of sincere thanks might be even better,” Bouchier writes. “As Gertrude Stein remarked, silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”
So how are companies celebrating Administrative Professionals Day? Read on for five real-life examples of standout admin gratitude this month.
The first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day, and hopefully you have big plans to show your workers how much you value each and every one of them. If you haven’t made plans, don’t worry, it’s not too late! Use some of these last-minute ideas to inspire your gratitude.
Remember that, as Forbes contributors David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom write in “4 Commonly Asked Questions About National Employee Appreciation Day,” while it’s great to celebrate the day, the most important thing is that you acknowledge it, and the meaning behind it.
“We hear from companies who throw parties, have lunches catered, and do special things for their employees on National Employee Appreciation Day. But, we also know of companies who simply acknowledge the day by communicating to their employees that the goal isn’t just to celebrate once a year but instead build a culture of appreciation.”
Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect time to reinforce your culture of recognition. Recognize employees’ efforts on Friday and remind them that you’re grateful for them year-round. It can be as simple as a thoughtful visit to share your personal thanks, a note of thanks, or something to brighten the day and make employees feel valued.
Read on for easy ideas to energize your Employee Appreciation Day in your workplace!
It’s critical to recognize frontline employees—servers, cashiers, delivery people, customer service representatives—they are truly the face of your company!
Ironically, frontline employees are often a company’s lowest paid staff and are treated as expendable, yet transactions between customers and frontline employees make or break your business’s image. They can affect your future relationships with customers.
In fact, Dennis Snow, president of Snow & Associates, Inc., writes that “The frontline equals the bottom line.” Treating frontline employees well, he says, is hugely important to a company’s success!
“We should honor [frontline employees] for the work that they do because they are the ones that make the world turn. All of our strategies, visions, and corporate goals are only as good as the execution of those plans, and execution ultimately comes down to frontline people doing things.”
To improve your company culture and customer relationships, remember to treat frontline employees well and express your appreciation often!
“When they do their jobs with pride and enthusiasm, the likelihood of company success is exponentially increased. When they do their jobs with boredom and skepticism, the greatest technology systems in the world won’t help,” Snow observes.
The way company leaders treat frontline employees has a huge impact on how these employees feel about their jobs. It can be as simple as saying hello when walking by work stations, and taking time to ask how things are going or thanking employees for their hard work. Frontline employees who feel valued communicate that in their interactions to customers – it’s easy to tell when people love what they do!
Motivating your team couldn’t be simpler — just thank your employees for their efforts and they’ll feel more valued. When employees know you’re grateful for their efforts, they work harder and productivity improves. It’s really remarkably easy.
Say thank you and employees work harder
Just consider the results of this recent Glassdoor survey. As Huffington Post writer Chad Brooks discovered in “Appreciation Motivates Employees To Work Harder, Study Says,” the study shows:
- Over 80% of employees work harder when their boss shows appreciation
- Over 60% of employees lose motivation when their boss is demanding or they fear losing their job
- Over 50% confirmed a willingness to stay at their job if a boss exhibited appreciation
- 46% of respondents feel appreciated when their boss offers an unexpected treat like snacks, meals, or Thank You notes
- 24% report interest in company-sponsored social events such as a holiday party!
Remember to say Thank You for employees’ successful everyday tasks, not just showy big wins. In “10 Things Employees Really Need to Hear From You,” former CEO and Inc.com contributing editor Geoffrey James reminds us that the little things count much more than we think they do!
Yesterday was “Get to Know Your Customer Day,” which is an excellent time to give customer loyalty gifts — but don’t worry if you missed it! The best time to give a customer loyalty gift is whenever appreciation strikes.
Expressing gratitude bonds you to customers, which is essential to understanding their needs and their point of view! When you build relationships with customers, you also build loyalty, which helps your business prosper. As an added bonus:
“When you [understand] your customers, it opens marketing opportunities. Loyal customers, invariably, will advertise your products for you.”
Read more on how to serve, appreciate, and retain your customers with customer loyalty gifts!
Peer-to-peer recognition empowers employees to share appreciation and builds your company culture of gratitude!
An increasing numbers of modern workers are motivated, at least in part, by peer recognition, according to YouEarnedIt and to research presented by Richard Florida in his book “The Rise of the Creative Class.”
Earning the respect of peers is a major driver of motivation among workers today, Florida found.
Recognition from management is critical, of course. But peer-to-peer recognition harnesses the intimate knowledge coworkers have with our work day-to-day.
Peer-to-peer recognition needs institutional support to flourish, however. Unless your company provides the framework for recognition — and management models it — employees are less likely to share their appreciation for coworkers.
Read on for five examples of companies who’ve found effective, easy ways to spread peer-to-peer recognition. You’ll find inspiration to empower your workplace!
Employee recognition boosts workplace engagement, productivity and—ultimately—your bottom line. But if you want employee recognition to be memorable, surprise your staff!
Joris Luijke, Squarespace’s “VP of People,” wants employees’ Squarespace experience to build lasting, positive memories.
In his article, “HR folks – Try this surprising way to make people remember your hard work,” he names two key elements to this goal:
- Employees must experience an environment where they are able to do their best work.
- Employees need to remember that great experience.
According to Luijke, we quickly forget great moments, whether they occurred at a company holiday party or during a positive project experience.
So how are we supposed to build lasting memories? With a surprise, of course!
On-the-spot recognition gets instant results. When you recognize employees right away, the benefits start right away!
“A year-end cash bonus doesn’t give an immediate sense of gratification for a job done today, and it may not address what’s on an employee’s mind today,” writes Eric Mosley writes in Forbes article, “Incentives vs. Recognition: How Do You Get Your Employees Engaged Again?”
The once-a-year recognition party is good for show, but ultimately it doesn’t affect day-to-day performance and is a weak employee motivator in the long run.
“Recognizing [an employee] with a thank you, a gift card of his choosing or even a personal day off can take you very far. Such on-the-spot recognition, done year-round, inspires ongoing motivation and high performance,” Mosley writes.
It’s time to make recognition an ongoing, everyday activity. Read on to find out why on-the-spot recognition is so effective — and much easier to carry out than you think!
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