Topic: Employee Recognition


Four Ways to Thank Employees on Manufacturing Day

Easy, meaningful ways to show appreciation to your manufacturing employees.

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Updated on 

February 12, 2024






Manufacturing Day is the first Friday in October (October 7), and while traditionally it’s a day to highlight manufacturing careers to students, it’s also the perfect time to thank all your manufacturing employees for their amazing work over the past year. Recognition and appreciation help build the thriving cultures that make companies a magnet for talent.

Every one of your employees deserves to be recognized in a big way after more than 2 years of pivoting processes and equipment to meet Covid requirements, keeping production on time with fewer staff, and managing supply chain issues.

Recognition helps employees feel appreciated and valued and can lead to higher employee retention and increased productivity. Unfortunately, 53% of manufacturing employees say productivity and bottom lines are more important to their organization than people, and 1 out of 4 manufacturing employees does not trust their direct manager. With continued worker shortages from the Great Resignation, employers must sustain employee morale and help their people feel connected, or risk losing their best talent.

—2022 Global Culture Report, O.C. Tanner

This year, in addition to meals and fun activities, remember to show your employees genuine, heartfelt appreciation for all the work they do to meet their goals, take care of customers, and keep your organization going. Here are 4 meaningful ways to recognize your employees during Manufacturing Day (and beyond):

1. Showcase employees’ great work to the world.

Only 66% of manufacturing employees say their leader appreciates the work they do. While most organizations showcase their state-of-the-art equipment and tools, new products, and innovations to the world during Manufacturing Day, don’t forget to also highlight your greatest asset: your human capital.

  • Share your employees’ accomplishments publicly, whether it’s on social media, your company website, or on shared screens in your lobbies and break rooms.
  • Utilize your organization’s internal social networks or employee recognition program’s Wall of Fame.
  • Give a shout out to your teams in company meetings for their accomplishments, hitting company or career milestones, and thank employees for any extra efforts.  
Examples of recognition given to healthcare employees via Culture Cloud



2. Leverage your existing recognition solutions.

Giving points through your employee recognition program is an easy and quick way to say thank you with a tool your people already use.

Over a third (36%) of manufacturing employees say the recognition they receive feels like an empty gesture. So recognize them in a meaningful way that lets them choose gifts that are personal to them. Tools like Culture Cloud have a built-in Group Deposit feature that allows you to give every employee a certain amount of points that they can use to choose a personal gift they’ll love.

Then extend the appreciation throughout the year by recognizing whenever employees meet specific KPI or production goals, safety and efficiency targets, or innovate at work.

“It’s important that everyone feels respected and appreciated, and that you’re not just a body at work. It’s important for people to feel that appreciation and know that they added value.”
—James Darmstadt, Supplier Quality Product Senior Manager, GE Appliances

3. Give out a company-wide symbolic award or special gift.

The award makes up over 40% of the impact of the entire recognition experience, so be thoughtful in what you give. Consider a special symbolic gift to thank them for helping you through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and meeting increased demand, post-pandemic.

Many of the best manufacturing companies create beautiful custom awards that symbolize the products their employees proudly make every day, or a new product that’s about to launch, and share it with all employees to instill pride and build connection to their work. Other manufacturing companies have given an employee reward that is both practical and memorable. Things like:

  • Solar power banks for phones
  • Home emergency kits and high-end flashlights
  • Electronics
  • Car safety kits
  • Outdoor sports gear
  • Gifts employees can share at home with their family

Have leaders present these gifts in a thoughtful recognition moment to build connection with each employee—don’t just have employees come down to HR to pick up their gifts. Give them out at an office party, team lunch, or on-site festival or activity, and have senior leaders be present to express their appreciation.

Beautiful “Frontline hero” pins given by a large healthcare organization to employees to wear on their badges during the hardest times of the pandemic


4. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition.

Recognition shouldn’t just be limited to leaders during Manufacturing Day. 44% of manufacturing workers say they rarely receive recognition from others when they do great work. But recognition from peers can strengthen connection, belonging, and inclusion. It also reduces burnout and improves teamwork. Tools like Culture Cloud make recognition easy, fun, and meaningful.

  • Make peer-to-peer recognition easy by providing mobile and offline tools for your people to recognize one another on the floor or after their shifts.
  • Set up appreciation stations around your work environment so peers can easily write a quick note or submit a nomination for more formal recognition.
  • Invite peers to participate in service anniversary celebrations, by contributing comments and photos or speaking during the celebration.

Remember, recognition and appreciation aren’t just to make employees feel good for one day in October.

63% of manufacturing employees say their organization only recognizes the large accomplishments, not the smaller everyday efforts of their people. Build appreciation into your employee experience and show appreciation throughout the year because your employees do great work and go the extra mile every day.

Be sure to recognize the daily efforts, above and beyond accomplishments, career anniversaries, and team successes of your people. And if you need examples for reference, see how top manufacturing companies like CEAT, GE Appliances, and BASF recognize their employees and positively impacted their company culture.

However you choose to recognize, you’ll be building a workplace culture where your people feel connected, valued, and want to stay.

“Recognition encourages employees to go above and beyond their role, help others, and seek help from others.”
—Dilip Modak, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, CEAT

For a mobile, easy recognition solution to help appreciate your people, check out Culture Cloud.

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