6 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas that Will Help Drive Up Productivity

When it comes to retaining talent, it seems that many companies cannot help but try to outdo each other. From office pets to free snacks, companies are making it very clear that they appreciate their employees. This is even more clear on the first Friday of every March Employee Appreciation Day. While some companies may abandon prior hesitations and go all out to show their employees are valued, bringing in everything from bouncy castles to dunk tanks, the fact is that there are plenty of ways of demonstrating just how valuable employees are without breaking the bank.


employees around the office illustration

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Employee Appreciation Day is a relatively new holiday, having been established in 1995 as an opportunity for managers, owners, and others to demonstrate appreciation for the people who are driving forces in an organization. Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of showing appreciation and gratitude as an important way to increase employee loyalty and productivity. In fact, it is one of the most effective ways to make sure that turnover rates stay relatively low.

However, such action must be done with sincerity. One quickly thinks of the half-hearted birthday cake scene or Hawaiian shirt day in the movie “Office Space.” In today’s workplace, those attempts would fall flat on their face. Instead, it is important than any Employee Appreciation Day ideas are not only effective, but genuine. Luckily for employers, many of these can be done for a lower price and with less work lost than more over the top demonstrations of appreciation.

Who Uses Employee Appreciation Day Ideas?

While it may be tempting to create a caricature of companies that use Employee Appreciation Day ideas as either the employer from “Office Space,” or any other workplace dystopia for that matter, or as an over-capitalized tech firm, the truth is actually quite different. Companies of all shapes and sizes use Employee Appreciation Day ideas to both motivate and retain employees.

Chances are that many companies already are doing the sort of thing that would make a great Employee Appreciation Day idea. From taking staff members out to lunch to encouraging more casual attire on a given day, anything that helps to show employees that they are more than just replaceable cogs in a machine is likely to see productivity skyrocket and attrition rates fall. That’s right – by using Employee Appreciation Day ideas, companies can expect to notice a change for the better not only in the demeanor of their employees, but also the bottom line.

Ways in Which Employee Appreciation Day Ideas Can Help Your Business

There are two major ways in which using great Employee Appreciation Day ideas can help grow a business. Foremost, these days help to decrease employee attrition. The process of hiring, training, and losing employees is an expensive prospect for any business, and not just in direct costs. Lost hours and sales due to missed opportunities and forgotten connections can greatly slow the growth of an organization. By reducing the number of people who flow in and out of a company, these direct and indirect costs are greatly reduced, seeing an increase in total productivity that appears on the bottom line.

Additionally, it is not in the employment cycle that a company will see benefits of using Employee Appreciation Day ideas. Happier employees are more productive employees. Instead of standing around the water cooler or coffee machine, daydreaming about the weekend or, worse yet, complaining about what they have to do, employees will be more motivated to get their work done due to the fact that they are constantly reminded that their work has value and their contributions are appreciated. Short of a raise, many employees cite being shown appreciation as one of the most motivational factors that contribute to increased productivity.

6 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Showing Thanks

One of the most effective Employee Appreciation Day ideas is also one of the most simple. Finding ways to sincerely show thanks is perhaps the best Employee Appreciation Day idea out there. The best part is that this can also be quite cheap. After all, it does not take a lot of money to write a note or mention someone in a meeting. However, the key is that it must be sincere. Simply listing people in hopes that hearing their name will motivate them is not going to work.

Eating Together

While it is not as cheap as a simple thanks, finding ways to eat together will also help show your employees just how much you appreciate them. Some organizations do this on a schedule, with the assurance that no matter how bad a Monday morning may be, there will be bagels there. Others use the excuse of Employee Appreciation Day as pretense for taking everyone out to a great lunch. This does not have to be done on the employer’s dime, though. Encouraging employees to participate in a pot luck shows appreciation without spending much money.

Get Out of the Office

Getting out of the office for lunch or dinner may prove troublesome from a number of different perspectives. Instead, think about finding a way to help employees get out of the office. While giving everyone the day off is certainly to be one of the more popular Employee Appreciation day ideas around the office, many find that focusing on a different activity is more productive. From playing a game of softball to performing community service, getting out of the office is one way to show much how much the work that is done in the office is appreciated.

New Furniture

People spend a lot of time at their desks. Therefore, that time should be spent in as comfortable of a manner as is possible. A great Employee Appreciation Day idea is to surprise everyone with a desk and chair that they have been lusting after. For some employees, that could mean a more comfortable chair. For others, it could be a desk that allows them to stand and work instead of sitting. In any case, it demonstrates that management notices the little things and wants to take care of their employees.

Acknowledge Success

Speaking of noticing the desires of employees, companies should also make sure to celebrate success. Talking about major victories is a great Employee Appreciation Day idea, as it shows that the hard work that employees have done over the course of the last year has not gone unnoticed.

happy and sad employees

Don’t Limit it to just Employee Appreciation Day

Finally, perhaps the best Employee Appreciation Day idea of all is to not limit a philosophy of employee appreciation to just one day. By focusing on it throughout the year, the benefits that can be felt as a result are much more likely to be magnified, leading to happier employees and a larger bottom line.

In short, while few employers treat their staffs like interchangeable widgets on purpose, it is still of vital importance to demonstrate that they are appreciated. By using some of these Employee Appreciation Day ideas, a company can hope to greatly increase productivity by making investments in the dedication of its staff. With lower attrition rates and higher satisfaction levels, a renewed pride in work will more than mitigate any cost from implementing these ideas.

Images from depositphotos.com.