Be it through a virtual workout session, or by handing out fruit baskets, here are Priya Sunil's five simple, safe ways to commemorate this special day in your organisation.
Employee Appreciation Day (EAD) is coming up this Friday (5 March 2021), and it's a good day to go above and beyond your daily efforts to show your employees how much they mean to you and the organisation, and to recognise their contributions to the team.
In a recent survey by O.C.Tanner, 2,928 employees across Australia, Canada, India, the UK and the US, 31% noted that their workplaces were planning on celebrating EAD this year. Of the close to four in 10 (36%) who said their company had celebrated the occasion in the past, nearly nine in 10 (88%) found their employers' efforts "sincere and reflective of a genuine effort to appreciate their work." At the same time, close to seven in 10 (69%) said they were most likely to stay at their organisation because of its EAD efforts.
With the nature of workplace celebrations having changed quite a bit in the past year, how can you continue to commemorate this day with your organisation? Here are five simple ways to do so.
#1 Treat them!
Who doesn't love a treat from their boss? Be it through gift cards/gift vouchers to support a local business, mini fruit baskets in the spirit of wellness, or a lunch session, there are many sweet and simple ways you could thank your employees with a treat. And remember, it's not how huge or costly the treat is, but the thought and sincerity behind it that counts. :)
#2 Run a town hall
A town hall is always a great way to gather everyone in the company (virtually, if required) for updates on the company's progress, any changes to expect, and so on. This EAD, it would be good to take this opportunity to organise one, and at the end of it, you could give a speech or shoutout to your employees for all their hard work contributing to the company's progress.
And if you are already planning to treat your employees, this town hall will be a perfect time to hand out some mini fruit baskets or gift cards.
#3 Organise a creative activity
A virtual cooking class? An art jamming session? Yes please! Showing appreciation to your employees doesn't have to be through gifts or treats - why not give your employees an outlet to express their creativity?
While in-person gatherings may not be ideal due to safe distancing measures, there are many avenues online where you can sign up for virtual group sessions, as a fun way to bond and reward your employees. You can also look to organise a watch session, where you can explore live events streamed online - similar to what Laugh.events is doing in the US, with a live virtual comedy show in appreciation of healthcare workers.
At the same time, Shane Metcalf, Chief Culture Officer at 15Five, shares: "We at 15Five believe that employee appreciation should happen daily, not once a year. For us, we’ve seen success with company-wide 'Boost' meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, where we come together to share gratitude and meditation, and make a point to emphasise company wins and individual well-being.
"This week, we’re doing daily High Fives as a whole company, and leveraging Question Friday as an opportunity for senior leaders to share their appreciation publicly for all our employees. In whatever form it takes, what makes appreciation so powerful is that when it’s shared, it becomes contagious."
#4 Get fit together
Online workout sessions have risen in popularity since the onset of the pandemic, with people seeking new and safe avenues to keep fit while in isolation. Sometimes, these are done in virtual groups too, so everyone can motivate one another.
This EAD, you could consider taking it up a notch and combine team bonding with employee appreciation, by hosting a virtual workout session for the team - be it a yoga class, a Zumba class, or any other fun exercise activity. If the situation permits, you could hold the session in-person, keeping in mind to stick to small groups, and of course practise safe distancing.
In addition to the above, you could consider signing your organisation up for group memberships at a wellness or fitness programme. After all, wouldn't it be nice to reward your employees by reminding them to take care of their health?
#5 Don't forget the value of a 'thank you'
As always, whether you're carrying out any or all of the above activities, do remember that saying 'thank you' goes a long way for employees. While it seems like such a simple thing to say, many leaders tend to forget saying it, even day-to-day.
Overall, what's most important is that, while EAD a special day for all employees, showing your appreciation for them goes beyond this day, and should be a common practice in any organisation - especially in times like today where the effects of the pandemic may have taken a toll on employees' mental health and wellbeing.
In fact, more than half (57%) of employees surveyed felt that the general employee appreciation/recognition efforts made by their organisation and its leaders, outside of EAD, have increased since the onset of the pandemic. Does this resonate with you?