Savvy HR: Your Summer Employee Appreciation Calendar

What's on your summer employee appreciation calendar?

One date to put in your summer employee appreciation calendar: National Ice Cream Day, July 17. (Photo via seelensturm, Flickr)

Summer is around the corner! Get ahead of the game and plan your summer employee appreciation calendar now for a stress-free season.

Whether you’re planning team-specific celebrations or large interdepartmental events, or both, an employee appreciation calendar is a helpful organizational tool.

Summer is the perfect time to start an appreciation calendar, too! We’re entering the season of vacations, outdoor distractions and temptations to play hooky. Having a calendar full of fun celebrations and employee recognition keeps everyone looking ahead, focused and motivated.

Not every celebration has to be a big blowout, either. Low-key celebrations can be just as effective.

A story in the Washington Post this week describes “the arms race in employee perks” among some companies vying to provide the flashiest, hottest benefits to their employees. But prevailing wisdom among engagement experts tells a different story: regular celebrations and daily appreciation, not expensive perks, are the foundation of a happy, productive workplace.

Your Guide to Summer Appreciation

Read on for a sample summer employee appreciation calendar with don’t-miss holidays and celebrations coming up this June, July and August. Want more reasons to celebrate? Make up your own! Take meetings outdoors every Tuesday, or share a team bagel breakfast on Fridays. Get inspired to start your own summer traditions.


National Safety Month — Safety is a team effort so celebrate your team! Host a BBQ workplace meal and make sure all shifts can participate.

Say Something Nice Day (June 1) — Get everyone back into work mode after the long Memorial Day Weekend holiday. The objective of Say Something Nice Day is simple and sweet: practice your gratitude by paying people compliments.

National Doughnut Day (June 3) — The history of National Doughnut Day is surprisingly altruistic! In 1938, the Chicago branch of the Salvation Army launched the day as a way to raise awareness for the organization’s work in the community — and honor the Salvation Army volunteers who boosted morale during World War I by making doughnuts for soldiers serving overseas.

Summer Solstice (June 20) — Celebrate the start of a new season — and the longest day of the year — with an all company grill-out or other summery activity.

Public Service Day (June 23) — Embrace the spirit of public service and civic responsibility with a team volunteer outing or by showing gratitude to local public service workers with a treat.


Independence Day (July 4) — If your employees work on the 4th of July, be sure they get a chance to celebrate. Host a potluck with a “red, white and blue” menu and hand out gift certificates for the All- American dessert: pie!

Intern Appreciation Day (July 9) — Your interns are potential future employees, so make the most of this opportunity to engage them. On Intern Appreciation Day, share a small gift, a Thank You card and treats to let your interns know their time and efforts are appreciated and that they’re part of the company, if only for a few months.

National Ice Cream Day (July 17) — “I scream, we all scream, for ice cream!” Ice cream is a treat everyone enjoys and a classic reward for a job well done.

System Administrator Appreciation Day (July 29) — System administrators are the unsung heroes who keep your network secure, computers running and printers jam- free. Thank them (and your IT department) with a party, treats and Thank You cards from the whole staff.


National Picnic Month — Pack coolers and head out to a nearby park for an afternoon of picnics, games and team building. Surprise everyone with team T-shirts to make it a celebration to remember!

2016 Summer Olympics (Aug. 5-21) — Olympics-themed employee celebrations are a great model for engagement. Why? Well, imagine acting like an Olympic athlete in your workplace … your team finishes a big project, and you stand up, beaming ear to ear, and announce your gratitude to everyone involved for making it possible, even thanking the competition for inspiring you to work harder.

Olympic athletes know a thing or two about practicing gratitude, grace under pressure, selflessness and work-life balance while on the job. For this year’s Summer Olympics, host a game-watching party with snacks from the countries represented, and be sure to frame the celebration around sharing gratitude and honoring hard work and excellence.

National Tell-A-Joke Day (Aug. 16) — Humor breaks the ice, sparks creative thinking and improves teamwork. For inspiration, try The Oatmeal’s Dumb Jokes That Are Funny or Reader’s Digest’s “1,000s of Our Best Clean Jokes.”

Now That You’re On A Roll …

Don’t stop at August! Download our FREE 2016 Day-to-Day Celebration Calendar for expert tips on engaging, recognizing and building a happy and loyal workplace every day of the entire year. This one-of-a-kind eBook will help you build everyday workplace spirit with month-by-month guides, case studies, research highlights, how-to recognition advice and celebration ideas for specific holidays and anytime.

Download Free How-To Guide to Building a Culture of Appreciation!

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 ( is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at [email protected] or 888-609-2234.
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