For more than twenty years, the first Friday in March has marked the day when organizations around the country are encouraged to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day. The holiday, which first arrived on calendars in 1995, is intended to be set aside as a day to focus on all of the hard work your employees do and to recognize them for their diligence and commitment to the company.

Although this holiday has gained some recognition in its 20 years, some managers may not realize just how important this day can be for their company in the long run. To help raise some awareness, we wanted to explore why it’s important for companies to take the time to recognize its employees on this day, as well as offer some tips on how to celebrate it.

Why is Employee Appreciation Day Important?

National holidays seem to be a dime a dozen these days, with new ones springing up all the time. It almost seems as though there’s some sort of holiday to celebrate every day of the week. Although many of them are trivial, such as National Taco Day or “Give Someone a Thumbs-Up Day,” making the effort to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day properly can have positive real-world implications.

For one, it presents a great opportunity for companies to showcase themselves to potential job candidates, bolstering overall recruiting efforts. Later this month we’ll be publishing a report on outplacement and job seeker behavior based on a study in which we uncovered what job seekers are looking when searching for a place of employment, as well as ways companies can position themselves to become more attractive to candidates.

One of the findings we will reveal in this report is just how important company culture is to job seekers. In fact, they ranked company culture as one of the top-three factors that contributed to whether or not they accept an offer. Amongst other things, celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent way to show current and future employees that the company truly values all of the hard work being done at every level.

Simple, Yet Significant

The O.C. Tanner Company, which designs and helps implement employee recognition programs for clients, conducted a study and released findings that showed the simple act of a manager showing recognition caused employees to produce great work. “Recognize me” far outpaced “Pay me more” and “Give me a promotion” as the best way for leaders to encourage their employees to work effectively.

This is proof that employees don’t need to be thrown a big party or given other significant (and expensive) incentive to produce good work. All it takes is a moment of simple recognition to encourage employees. While there’s a multitude of ways an organization can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day–such as having lunch catered or bringing in on-site massage therapists—it’s the simplest efforts that makes the biggest impact.

More than Just a Day

Employee Appreciation Day may only come once a year, but good employers know that they can’t just show gratitude to workers one day out of 365 and expect those workers to feel valued. The best employers are consistently recognizing their employees many times throughout the year.

Recognizing that the value of your employees extends far beyond the time they spend on the clock is what truly sets a company apart from its competitors. Show them that you appreciate them and care about their professional growth. Services such as outplacement, continuing education and training will help employees realize that their employer wants what’s best for them not only as it relates to the work they’re doing now, but throughout their career. This level of appreciation can be rare in the corporate world, but companies who embrace this approach are likely to see motivation and commitment levels go through the roof.

Consider using this holiday to evaluate the ways your company shows appreciation towards its employees and to recognize the positive, company-wide ramifications of providing a service that shows your gratitude for them beyond a single day.

03 March 2016

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