It’s been a national holiday for 125 years now. Labor Day is something that many people look forward to as it marks the beginning of one of the best seasons of the year – football. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882, and it took 15 years for this day dedicated to the achievements of the American worker to catch on and be acknowledged nationwide. According to the Department of Labor, the “nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.” On Monday, September 2nd, city streets will be filled with parades and festivals honoring the contributions of our workforce.
In the HR sphere, the timeliness of this national holiday – 6 months after Employee Appreciation Day – serves as an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your organization’s performance when it comes to recognition and engagement, especially as plans for 2020 begin to unfold. For it to create a lasting impact, employee appreciation shouldn’t be limited to just once (or twice) a year. The success of employee appreciation is marked by measurable indicators such as increased productivity and decreased turnover. Therefore, it’s critical to periodically look at the organization's progress to identify areas for enhancement.
For this reason, we thought we’d revisit our guide to Employee Appreciation from earlier this year. Consider it a gentle nudge and kind reminder even if you missed Employee Appreciation Day! There’s no time like the present to implement some of these easy (and inexpensive) strategies into your daily routine:
Create a “Thank you” train. We don’t mean creating a paper thank you train. This is more like a train of managers and executives that travel to the company's building(s) and visit every office, cube or workstation to thank employees in person, and even shake a hand or two!
Cheers from peers. Who said employee appreciation has to come from the top down? Create a designated appreciation wall in your building/office area. Provide employees with paper, markers, stickers, etc. and let them unleash their inner artist. Nothing says recognition like a bunch of appreciation & recognition notes for everyone to see!
Handwritten notes. The art of writing is not dead. Ask managers to write a personalized card for each individual on their team. Go the extra mile and get the executive team to sign each employee’s card.
Feed them. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t show up for a catered breakfast, a special luncheon or a breakroom filled with cupcakes and balloons! Create a special invite and bring everyone together to eat, but most importantly to thank them for all they do for the organization.
Give a gift. We all know employees like free swag! Think outside of the box and go for a phone stand or bluetooth speaker. Better yet, give each employee a specially designed cookie or a bag full of goodies to savor the day!
Make it social. Most organizations have corporate social media platforms, so use them to express your gratitude and thank all employees with a fun, creative post.
Time off. Consider going old school for a day and letting everyone out early with pay. Or be creative and design a “day off” voucher, giving your employees the opportunity to choose the day they want to leave early.
As you fire up the grill this weekend and begin to cheer on your favorite college or pro football team, keep in mind these creative ways that you can cheer on some of the most important people in your life – your employees.