If you enjoy a great corporate culture, you probably know it’s important to recognize and appreciate your employees all year long. But it’s especially important to make plans to celebrate them on Employee Appreciation Day. This national event is a special occasion, once a year, when top companies everywhere appreciate employees for everything they contribute to the organization’s success.
In 2024, Employee Appreciation Day falls on March 1. It’s the perfect opportunity for organizations to reach out to all of their employees by creating recognition experiences that are heartfelt, fun, and memorable. It’s a great time to show them—all of them—that they truly matter.
What does mattering mean at work? HR World defines it as “the belief that we are a significant part of the world around us where we are heard, valued, and appreciated.” They also describe how getting ignored at work can have the opposite effect: making employees more likely to feel disengaged, burned out, and anxious.
But are some employees actually feeling ignored or forgotten? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
Why many employees are more likely to feel overlooked in 2024
O.C. Tanner’s 2024 Global Culture Report reveals some interesting statistics about the majority of the world’s workforce who don’t work at a desk. These are the offline, frontline, unwired, and essential workers who by the nature of their jobs lack connection, autonomy, and influence. “From pickers to plumbers to pilots, these people are critical to every economy on earth and touch nearly every part of our everyday lives. Yet when out of sight, they’re often out of mind.”
Our research finds that employees in this group often feel they have less opportunity and voice than their more integrated and connected corporate peers. As a result, these employees are more likely to feel unvalued and detached from their organizations, which span numerous industries, including manufacturing, hospitality, transportation, retail, and healthcare.
In fact, a recent study found that 59% of healthcare workers feel unappreciated at work. Additionally, Gartner reports that while 82% of employees say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just an employee, only 45% of them believe their organization actually sees them this way.
Good reasons to celebrate everyone on Employee Appreciation Day
Are there other reasons to reach out to all employees on Employee Appreciation Day? Absolutely. When employees feel appreciated, there is an 84% decrease in the chance they will experience burnout.
Appreciation shows employees they are valued and that they belong. It helps increase employee engagement, boost employee morale, and build a company culture that can help attract and keep employees. When companies celebrate together, employees are 20x more likely to feel connected and want to stay.
What are some ideas to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day? Consider these 5 ways to celebrate on Employee Appreciation Day in 2024 so you can start showing employees how much they truly matter.
1. Recognize all employees—in-office, remote, and hybrid.
It’s vital to appreciate all of your organization’s employees. Whether they work in the office or remotely, make sure your efforts to thank them reach them equally. If you plan a celebration in the office, also make efforts to include remote workers in the celebration.
You can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day with remote employees in many ways. Send them a heartfelt emailed note, have a virtual team meeting where you celebrate team successes, provide lunch, or mail a personal gift to their home.
Or send team points through a recognition software platform like O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud. Any of these ideas will celebrate remote employees and help them feel connected to the organization and one another.
Our Global Culture Report highlights the profound impact of recognizing hybrid employees through a variety of recognition methods. When recognition programs for remote employees included service rewards, above-and-beyond recognition, and everyday-effort recognition, we saw an impressive increase in all of the following areas:
2. Celebrate with a Group Points Deposit.
When you want to show appreciation to everyone at your organization on Employee Appreciation Day all at once, a Group Points Deposit is a great choice. The option to deploy this type of reward may already be an option inside your employee recognition program. For example, Group Deposits is a built-in feature of O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud.
Group Deposits are perfect for almost any celebration. First, they are infinitely versatile. Use this available tool to thank all of your employees at once at a company sales or growth milestone, holidays throughout the year, Hospital Week, or countless other appreciation moments. Group Deposits are extremely fast and easy to plan and deploy. You can usually create an immediate, company-wide recognition moment in just a few minutes.
There’s never been a better time for a company-wide recognition event.
3. Send an employee appreciation swag box.
What kind of gifts make employees feel valued on Employee Appreciation Day? Consider a custom gift that symbolizes your organization’s culture and history. You can also give them branded clothing or gear featuring your company logo—like a long-sleeve tee, a backpack, or a pair of earbuds. Even better, consider giving each employee two or more of these gifts in an appreciation swag box.
O.C. Tanner can help you provide employees with a curated selection of gifts employees love, so each employee can select something meaningful for themselves. We have hundreds of great ideas and you can read more about popular employee appreciation gifts here. Remember, you can always choose to award points and allow employees to choose from our awards store with thousands of options as well.
4. Share a special message with employees.
After a year of lingering uncertainty, it’s important for employees to hear from leaders. A CEO or executive message will mean a lot to your people on Employee Appreciation Day. Have leaders craft messages that let employees know what their work means and how it translates to the purpose and success of the organization.
For managers, consider writing a personal note or email for each of your team members on Employee Appreciation Day.
- Include details and be specific in how you express your appreciation.
- Think about what they bring to the team, what you admire about them, or which projects they’ve worked on this year that made an impact.
- Highlight their individual employee achievements.
They’ll be glad you took the time to notice who they are and what they do.
5. Spread thanks across the workplace.
Prior to the first week of March, ask executives and leaders to answer the question, “Why do you appreciate our employees?” Then on Employee Appreciation Day, post those quotes everywhere. Print them on posters. Show them on shared screens in the break room. Feature them on the front page of your intranet site. Share them on social media. Email them and include them in Zoom meetings. You’ll surround your employees with inspiration and make them feel invaluable. Check this list of quotes for examples.
You can also create a special event to celebrate the occasion. The CEO and other key executives can speak and truly thank every employee for all they do to help the organization succeed. The event can include a celebration with food or treats as well as the announcement of any special gifts or perks for the day.
Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day your way
These are just a few ideas companies can use to celebrate with their employees. But the best Employee Appreciation Day ideas are built on heartfelt appreciation and celebrations full of meaning and a little fun.
A huge budget is not required to make the most of this day. People spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years serving your organization—do what you can to make this year’s Employee Appreciation Day one employees will remember. What’s most important is reaching out to and celebrating all of your employees, no matter where or how they work.
Show your appreciation often
Keep in mind, Employee Appreciation Day isn’t the only day you can show gratitude for your people. Instead, focus on building a year of employee appreciation.
According to Gallup, employees should be recognized or praised every 7 days. So be sure you have a robust employee recognition program where employees and leaders can recognize and appreciate great work. Other times you can go big with thanking your people include Nurse’s/Hospital Week, Manufacturing Day, Manager Appreciation Day, Administrative Professionals Day, and major holidays.
About Culture Cloud employee recognition software
O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud helps companies improve their employee experience, reduce employee turnover, and make employees feel appreciated, every day.
Read how American Airlines used recognition during difficult times to create their Nonstop Thanks program. The program helped unify and lift employees at a critical period of the pandemic, connecting them when many moved to remote work so they could take care of each other when it mattered most.
If you’d like to talk to the employee recognition experts at O.C. Tanner about how we can help craft a solution for you, please reach out to us.