Skip to main content

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day 2022 and Beyond

Elisabeth Duncan February 23, 2022

Employee Appreciation Day is around the corner, so it’s time to get ready.

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day was created on the premise that most employees don’t feel valued where they work. Founder Dr. Bob Nelson felt there were gaps in the ways organizations thanked, praised, and recognized employees, especially when they did good work throughout the year, not just on a single day. He found 12% of workers felt recognized in a timely, meaningful way for their work, even though some 80% of managers thought they did a pretty good job with appreciation or recognition.

The good news is that has changed. Evive’s recent National Employee Journey Survey found 59% of employees said that they receive recognition for doing their job well, and 95% of employers agree that they recognize employees that perform well at their jobs. However, that leaves nearly four out of ten surveyed employees who disagree.

Employees are one of a company’s greatest assets, and recognizing people for their good work should be human nature. It sends a compelling message to employees that they and their work matter.

Why is Employee Appreciation Important?

Employee Appreciation Day allows employers to show their gratitude and appreciation to employees. A thank you to employees goes a long way to increase engagement, motivate employees, and improve productivity. Employers that show how much they value employee efforts and contributions help create a positive work culture and are more likely to retain and attract top talent.

It is important that employee appreciation should not just happen as part of Employee Appreciation Day. It should occur every day and be a natural piece of company culture. Regularly showing employees you appreciate their hard work and efforts improves your talent, brand and raises awareness with customers, investors, and prospective employees.

Employee Appreciation Day Activities that Aren’t Boring

How can HR creatively show appreciation, celebrate, and honor employees’ achievements, especially when your company may fluctuate between an in-person, remote, or hybrid work environment?

Here are several approaches to consider.

  • A New Well-Being Tradition – Traditionally, you send gift baskets to clients, partners, and other influencers, but what if you turned the tables and sent a well-being gift basket to your employees? There’s nothing more surprising than receiving an unexpected package. With mental and emotional well-being top of mind for 2022, a gift basket offering the ultimate in health and wellness is sure to get employees to relax. Include items like nourishing teas, dark chocolate, an eye pillow, comfy socks, aromatherapy candles, and a cozy blanket. Of course, you should top it off with a personalized thank you note from company leaders.
  • Surprise! A Company-Sponsored Mental Health Day – Studies show that remote employees log on earlier and shut down later when working from home. Add to that the stress of the ongoing pandemic and their need to focus on their families. With workplace pressure driving burnout and other health ailments, consider giving employees a mental health day distinguished from a typical vacation day. Employers who embrace mental health days demonstrate support for employee mental health, improve employee morale and show appreciation for the hard work of each employee. Employees get to take the well-deserved rest they deserve, and employers put words to action by demonstrating they understand what their employees need. Evive, for example, is closing its offices March 5 to give all employees a mental health day in hopes workers will disconnect and recharge from work.
  • Not Your Average Lunch Buffet – Many employees need their caffeine kick in the morning. Set up a fully stocked coffee and breakfast bar, or go the extra mile and bring in a barista to serve coffee, lattes, matcha, and fresh juice. Or give employees a healthy energy boost by hiring a chef to make custom omelets or acai bowl creations. You can also go the sweet route and layout a heavenly candy and dessert bar. For an elevated experience, bring in a shake bar and cookie flights to hit the spot. And, for those who have dietary restrictions, don’t forget to order nut-free, low sugar, vegan, or gluten-free goodies. If your workforce is remote, use a food service to deliver an assortment of morning and afternoon goodies in a colorful, branded box so employees at home can join in on the fun.
  • Wall of Champions – Create a “Hall of Fame” or virtual kudos board recognizing employees who made an extraordinary contribution to the organization or experienced a team or client success. Allow employees to share an encouraging message to their friends and team members and open it up to partners, vendors, and clients, allowing them to share their praise and recognize employees for their hard work. You want to make sure everyone can be recognized. Departmental awards or recognition such as the Customer Success King, Coaching Champion, Bug Basher, Always Learning, etc., are great. And don’t forget to keep this going all year – with monthly or quarterly recognition.
  • No Gift Card Goes Unused – Gift cards are a great way to thank employees for their contributions, loyalty, and commitment. Employees appreciate frustration-free e-gift cards from a platform where they can quickly redeem a code for a gift card of their choice. Whether it’s an e-retailer, bookstore, home improvement supercenter, fitness center, or gas station, employees spend the reward on their personal needs and wants.
  • Pamper Perfect – Who doesn’t like a day at the spa? Think massage, mani/pedi, facial. Invite a masseuse, manicurist, and cosmetologist to the office for a day and let employees select a service of their choice. For remote employees, offer to reimburse them for a self-care service or offer a selection of self-care kits that you can ship to their home.
  • The Rise of Subscription Boxes – Looking for a hassle-free happiness-boosting activity? Offer employees a menu of quarterly subscription boxes to choose from. There are hundreds of gift boxes for all hobbies and interests, from beauty samples and wine worldwide to technology, meal making, books, and fitness. The average cost of a quarterly box is $50 per employee. Not a bad investment to put a smile on an employee’s face. It’s a thoughtful way to say thank you and lasts all year long.
  • Spirit Week – Who doesn’t love an excuse to pull out a fun Hawaiian shirt, show off their favorite sports apparel, or reuse that epic superhero costume they wore last Halloween? Encourage teams or colleagues to team up in their dress or create cross-functional teams to help build rapport and add a little friendly competition for the best dressed every day.

Let the Event Begin

Pulling off a show-stopping Employee Appreciation Day takes time and effort and involves extensive communication with leaders, employees, and vendors. There are so many factors to consider. Who’s remote, hybrid, and in-office? How many employees have special dietary requirements? What time should you host each activity?

Planning an in-person or virtual day is made easier with a communications platform that can build excitement by promoting Employee Appreciation Day to employees. A personalization platform can send tailored messages to the right person at the right time based on their preferred mode of communication, such as text, email, or push notification.

The same automated tool can help HR and managers track and analyze employee engagement and communications, and remove the burden of using 10 excel spreadsheets to track attendance and event details.

Furthermore, by personalizing the journey, employees are more likely to engage and participate versus dreading another virtual party or feeling compelled to show up.

A personalized messaging platform can also assist employees with event registration and remind employees about activities and appointments. Suppose an employee didn’t sign up or engage. In that case, the platform could distribute alternative messaging to employees and trigger automatic updates to managers. From there, managers can check in with employees to encourage engagement or inquire about any issues. Lack of engagement is often an early sign of other problems. In that case, managers can intervene early and quickly to improve the situation.

And, since it’s never too early to plan your next event, platform analytics post-event can help track which activities employees engaged with the most and provide insights to help make your next event even better.

Are you ready to pull together an incredible Employee Appreciation Day? Learn more about how technology can help simplify employee engagement when you access this short e-book.