This Friday 4th March is Employee Appreciation Day. Celebrated on the first Friday in March, Employee Appreciation Day is for employers to give thanks or recognition to their employees. The day was created by Dr Bob Nelson in 1995, initially to celebrate the publication of his book, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, and to remind employers to thank their employees when they do good work.

When was the last time you really thanked your employees? Not just a thanks at the end of the day as they walk out the door but a real, genuine thank you for their great work and contribution. With nearly every employer struggling to recruit team members, the war for talent is the worst I have seen in my entire career. We have heard for months now of the Great Resignation, some businesses have been forced to reduce operating hours due to a lack of staff, others having to outsource or turn work away as a result of not being able to fulfill the work owing to a lack of people resources. It’s the hot topic of conversation.

On the flip side, the candidates that I’m interviewing for jobs in this current market and have interviewed throughout my recruiting career often list lack of appreciation; a lack of feeling valued, and not being acknowledged for their work, as a reason for seeking a new job opportunity.

In a candidate short market, when trying to retain your existing employees, appreciating your current team members is something that you can control. While you might not be able to match the increase in salary, appreciating your employees is something every single business has the ability to do. It doesn’t have to necessarily cost the business anything.

Appreciating your employees starts with a genuine thank you and acknowledgement of their work, offering praise for their contribution and doing that regularly, not just on Employee Appreciation Day. From the most basic initiatives to some that do cost the business, we’ve collated a shortlist of employee appreciation initiatives to help give you some inspiration for appreciating your employees:

  • An employee of the month/quarter award, presented at a team meeting acknowledging the team members’ work or contribution in front of their peers; it could include a certificate or a personalised letter of thanks and/or a small gift.
  • Additional leave. I’ve heard of employers gifting their employees Covid leave to give them time to take a break and reenergise after a challenging couple of years, acknowledging their work and contribution during difficult times such as juggling homeschooling.
  • Birthday leave. At Inspire HQ, we gift our team members a day of leave on their birthday to acknowledge their contribution and allow them to celebrate their birthday by not being at work.
  • Celebrating work anniversaries. Recently, we have changed from having a morning tea on a team member’s work anniversary to acknowledge their contribution to the team member having an off-site coffee or lunch meeting with the Director to acknowledge the work anniversary and chat about the team member’s career goals and ambitions. As well, we provide the team member with a gift that increases in value and significance relative to their length of service.
  • Employee Appreciation morning teas. Stopping work and dedicating time out such as a morning tea or team lunch to celebrate and acknowledge team members’ contribution and to say thanks. I’ve heard of businesses doing Friday pizza lunches, a monthly breakfast, or a morning tea where team members are thanked and acknowledged for their efforts.

I think one of the most important elements of appreciating our employees is taking the time to stop and notice what they have done. We can all get caught up in being busy and it seems now more than ever as we rebuild from COVID, everyone wants everything done yesterday, hence taking even just 5 minutes to stop and be present with a team member and acknowledge their work, is key to retaining our people.

So, what do you do to appreciate your employees?

Employees, how do you like to be appreciated?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and initiatives, and this Friday when you are appreciating your employees, take a photo and share it with us through our social media using the hashtags #appreciateyouremployees #inspirehq
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About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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