Employee Appreciation Day is here and I’m sure all of us in HR have been busy prepping for “the big day.” I’m excited to organize activities for our employees, but I couldn’t help but have some worry around this day — specifically that leaders and employees will show appreciation to their colleagues only today, and not on any other day of the year. At HighGround we make sure to recognize our employees regularly but unfortunately, this isn’t the case for some companies, which I’m sure shows in engagement survey results.
As humans, we crave positive reinforcement and reminders of how well we are performing, congratulations on a project and being thanked for spending those extra 10 hours in the office one week.
I encourage everyone to use Employee Appreciation Day to fuel thoughtful conversation about how your organization approaches appreciation/gratitude and recognition. So instead of summarizing all the cool ways companies can celebrate, I wanted to focus on a very simple exercise all leaders, managers and employees can practice on a daily basis to show appreciation toward their coworkers and/or direct reports to make appreciation a more continuous practice.
It’s the Simple Things
The most affordable, easiest and long-lasting way you can show someone appreciation is by simply saying “thank you.” We spend a lot of time overthinking and trying to come up with the most creative ways to show someone appreciation. But my advice is to go back to basics and write a meaningful handwritten note or pick up the phone to call a remote employee to tell them they are not forgotten and are appreciated.
My mom always used to say, “A little bit goes a long way,” and the same goes for our efforts toward gratitude. According to a 2014 Forbes article, gratitude improves our physical and psychological health, enhances empathy and reduces aggression, increases self-esteem, and increases mental strength. Research also shows that the more gratitude we practice, the happier we are as humans. So not only do the receivers of thanks benefit but so do the givers, which means both you and the employee win. And don’t underestimate the surprise factor. Expressing appreciation unexpectedly will surely have a greater effect than you might expect.
It’s About Everyone
Remember to celebrate all of your employees. There are always high performers who catch the attention of the executive team, but don’t forget about that employee who can churn out a spreadsheet in record time, is always offering to help others or is constantly volunteering to take on the project no one else will take. They need to be recognized too and we all know how demotivating it can get when we don’t feel appreciated.
Let’s all do a better job of making employee appreciation a daily habit. Is your company doing anything to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day? What are the creative ways you consistently recognize one another?