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!
Most leaders understand employee appreciation is not a one day a year deal. It’s vital to business success to build engagement and recognition into daily business practices. Still not a believer? “Employee Engagement 2.0” Author Kevin Kruse provides powerful rationale in his recent article, “Employee Engagement Research (Master List of 32 Findings)”.
Disney is a great example of a company that believes in the power of engagement. In his book “Employee Engagement – Lessons from the Mouse House,” Pete Blank discusses his years at Disney World. Disney works hard to make sure everyone who works there is highly engaged and understands their impact on the customer, right down to the parking lot attendants. To fulfill their mission of creating lifetime memories for their customers, Disney can’t afford to only dedicate one day a year to employee appreciation. Their business depends on engaging employees all day, every single day.
How Disney Does It
Blank talks about how Disney creates an engaged workforce with all the tools available: employee development, team building, motivation, relationship building, leadership training and a day-in and day-out commitment to recognition. With a uniquely diverse range of positions for employees to fill, Disney employees can explore their career aspirations in various areas of the business making this process all the more challenging. Disney believes so strongly in team building and leadership training that they created the Disney Institute to train other companies in the Disney way.
Disney motivates employees by building emotional engagement, tying everything they do to Walt Disney’s original goals of creating a magical experience for every customer. Management trainees spend time in the parks dressed as beloved Disney Characters to better understand the experience of park visitors. When the customer experience is everything to your business, employee engagement and recognition is a daily process.
Josh Bersin and Employee Recognition
Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte has done research that shows employee recognition contributes greatly to organizational success, much more than traditional employee service awards for tenure. For the most effective employee appreciation results, Bersin found that recognition must be tied to specific results and behaviors, and is more powerful when related to company values and goals. His research showed that peer-to-peer recognition has more impact than recognition from leaders, although recognition from a direct manager is very powerful.
Employee Appreciation Basics
Sometimes we can lose sight of what recognizing employees is all about. Anastasia, writing for Cleverism.com reminds us of what is at the core of this effort and offers some sound advice on how to achieve it.
There is absolutely no one in the world who doesn’t like being rewarded and recognized for the hard work they do and the same holds true for employees of your workplace as well. Employee recognition is the acknowledgment of an employee’s efforts, hard work and behavior at the workplace that have contributed to the organization’s success and objectives in some way.
In her article, “How to Recognize and Reward Your Employees” she breaks down the three types of recognition:
- Day-to-day recognition – Since it’s key to motivate employees to perform well everyday, not just periodically – words of encouragement and praise shouldn’t be underestimated.
- Informal recognition – Praising an employee in front of their team is an example of informal recognition that can boost morale.
- Formal recognition – This typically takes the form of structured rewards for service and achievements celebrated at events. There may be policy guidelines and an official process.
Check out the complete article to see her steps for implementing a formal recognition program.
The Power of One Day – Employee Appreciation Day
Although employee appreciation is most effective when incorporated into a comprehensive recognition or engagement program, there is value in special days to recognize and appreciate employees just like with Mother’s or Father’s Day.
Employee Appreciation Day was introduced in 1995 to remind employers that employee recognition is important. It’s an opportunity to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to your business. In much the same way, National Compliment Day started in 1998 to by Debby Hoffman and Katy Chamberlin to remind people of the power of compliments.
Take advantage of these special days to celebrate employees with a thoughtful note of appreciation, small gift, hosted lunch or fun activity. Or use the occasion to kickoff a new appreciation program. For appreciation idea inspiration, check out “Top 25 Employee Recognition & Appreciation Ideas from the Pro’s” care of Fit Small Business. However you choose to say “thank you” to employees, it will be appreciated, valued by recipients and strengthen the emotional culture of your business.
Or Pick a Day, Any Day and Thank Employees
Whether you decide to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day on the official date this year, or pick another date to show your gratitude, gThankYou has several tools to help show your gratitude.
Think of each month, week or workday as an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate your employees. Every year we produce a day-to-day employee appreciation calendar that is almost like having your own employee engagement consultant working for you. We supply the creative ideas, best practices, data (in case management needs convincing when it comes to the merits of employee appreciation) and of course fun and meaningful celebratory dates each month that can translate into satisfied and content employees.
If you feel like “I’ve got this,” and just need a few pointers to kick-start the creation of your own employee engagement calendar, we’ve got some guidance in a blog post for that.
Why not download this free guide today and inspire colleagues to make workplace appreciation an ongoing commitment, not just a once a year day?
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