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Is Employee Appreciation Day a gimmick or game-changer? As a leader in the rewards and incentives industry here in the UK, I would argue that every day is a day to stop and thank staff and colleagues. The power of recognition, ideally rewarded with a gift or incentive, plays a hugely positive role in cultivating a happy workplace.

So, while I was initially sceptical about singling out just one day to celebrate employees, I now see that ‘Employee Appreciate Day’, or week or month – many businesses have extended it to run the whole of March – has an exciting role to play in inspiring all-year-round recognition and here’s why:

Having a day clearly dedicated to staff recognition is needed now more than ever. As the world marks 24 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and unprecedented economic pressures, organisations have a unique opportunity to thank employees who rose to the challenge during this time and continue to do so.

A definitive day of appreciation for the efforts made all year round by employees who have weathered the storms of remote, hybrid or frontline work is a great opportunity to create unity and connection. As many organisations plan ahead for a fresh,  new financial year in April, celebrating and reflecting on employees’ contributions in March can steer a fresh perspective and add to a progressive work culture.

There is huge pressure on HR departments across all sectors right now in terms of staff retention and the recruitment of quality talent who will remain motivated and loyal. Some in the HR industry have called it the ‘big re-evaluation’ or the great resignation. More than ever, employees are looking for indications that the work they do is meaningful, makes a difference and that they are appreciated.

A simple thank-you can make all the difference – anything from a surprise gift, such as a gift card or voucher to spend as they wish, to a work anniversary day off to recognise their hard work. Loyalty is earned. Time and again, studies find that employees who feel valued are more likely to remain committed and according to one Gallup poll, employees who do not feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to quit.

There is unprecedented change going on in offices, organisations and businesses all over the UK. Workers are being called upon to adapt to new ways of working, interacting often while on-boarding new corporate messaging in a post-pandemic world. Working from home, once considered implausible, is now positively encouraged. Plus, flexible working hours, exciting new technology, restructuring of teams and management, all require an open-mindedness and receptivity from staff.

Here is where Employee Appreciation Day is an ideal opportunity to stop, reflect and acknowledge these changes and to thank staff who are taking on new work-place challenges which can be stressful. Taking care of our own and each other’s mental health starts with reflection and this Friday is an ideal day for that. We often spend more time with our colleagues than our own families, so supporting each other though change is key to developing strong relationships

Be it a ‘well done’ post-it note, a personal message of praise from the boss,  a name-check in the staff magazine, or finding a surprise ‘thank you’ cup cake or box of chocolates on your desk, a reward can go a long way.  Here are Appreciate, we know from our thousands of customers across a whole range of sectors, who see the value in rewarding flexibly with a Love2shop gift card or vouchers, that employee job satisfaction is linked to an increase in levels of productivity.

One Harvard study showed an average of 31% more productivity and 37% more sales when employees reported being happy/satisfied at work. Key to that is feeling appreciated and valued. While all organisations do and should be generating a culture of appreciation all year round, Employee Appreciation Day is a perfect opportunity to give a real or virtual ‘pat on the back’, and in the process, everyone wins.” :

    Frank Creighton is director of business development at Appreciate Business Services, home of Love2shop, the UK’s leading rewards and incentives specialists. He is a strong proponent of EAD - Employee Appreciation Day - and says embracing it has a multitude of benefits.

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