How to make the best out of this year's employee appreciation day

Recognition & Rewards
February 28, 2019

A recent Harvard Business Review article looks at the three myths of feedback. Sometimes referred to as the “Feedback Fallacy”, it’s interesting to learn that subjective feedback - from a manager to her employee, for example - often doesn’t produce the performance improvements most of us have been taught to expect.

In fact, it may be that improving employee performance is best achieved by focusing on their existing strengths and key accomplishments. Wait, what?!

That’s right: According to HBR, focusing on correcting gaps or deficiencies impairs learning. Whereas, focusing on what your employee is already good at catalyzes learning. Moreover, praising an employee for a strong performance or a great outcome focuses their attention on what worked, helping them further strengthen that ability.

Show your employees more appreciation this year

What better time to start applying this approach to employee performance improvement than on Employee Appreciation Day?

This year, National Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 1st. Since first introduced by Dr. Bob Nelson in 1995, this day provides an excellent opportunity for employers to create a culture of appreciation and express their gratitude towards their hard-working employees. After all, employees are, arguably, your most valuable asset.

Critically, appreciation should not be limited to one or two days a year. The more you build appreciation into your company culture, the greater the outcomes you can expect. Start by using  Employee Appreciation Day as a  “preview” or “trailer” for the types of behaviors you want your organization to employ all year round. Of course, March 1st is the “big event”, but there’s no reason it can’t be a springboard for a larger, long-term initiative.

With that in mind, here are recommendations for a great Employee Appreciation Day:

It's the small stuff that counts

It’s easy to take note of bit accomplishments like closing a new deal or launching a new product. Often times, it’s all the little steps it took to get there, and all the extra team members who contributed that go unrecognized. When you “don’t sweat the small stuff” someone else usually does, and wouldn’t it be lovely to be recognized for that?

Whose reward is it anyway?

Sure, it’s always nice to order in food or take the team out for lunch, but what’s new about that? Reach out to your employees and let them choose. Brainstorm ideas that combine two rewards like an outing and food, or an activity and drinks. As a bonus, this can easily double as a team-building activity with fun challenges, leaving your team closer and talking about the event for years to come.

Shake up the pattern

A recent study done by the Huffington Post showed that the average person spends 13 years and 2 months, or 4,821 hrs, at work. This doesn’t include the extra time spent checking emails, prepping for meetings, and planning weekly to-do lists. This Employee Appreciation Day, consider rewarding employees by giving back some hours. Offer a paid day off, whether it’s this Friday or a different day of their choosing.

Keep it personal

Nothing is more meaningful than personal recognition. Employees can get caught up in their day-to-day work, allowing anxieties to brew. The moment someone shakes them up with a genuine ‘thank you’, any self-doubt is reduced and new confidence is sparked. This can be done in many ways, whether it’s through individual thank-you cards, in person with a grateful handshake, or an announcement to the team, you can bet it’ll go a long way.

Keep the party going

If you’re feeling cramped by a 1-day event, why not celebrate all month long. This leaves room for contests, multiple outings, and company-wide inclusion. Whether it’s one-by-one or all at once, showing appreciation to your employees leaves them motivated and productive. In turn, the rewards your company will receive will be higher morale, productivity, performance, and retention. This Employee Appreciation Day set the bar high for a productive year and see where it takes your team - the sky’s the limit! If you missed this year’s Employee Appreciation Day, don’t worry! You can show appreciation all year long with Qarrot. Connect with us to learn more about how to make recognition a part of your company culture.

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Louise Bienvenu

Among the many hats Louise wears, she's the Marketing Manager at Qarrot. She's driven by a passion for employee experience and making workdays a little brighter for everyone.