Employee Appreciation Day: How to Make It Last

The concept of a dedicated Employee Appreciation Day is nothing new. In fact, in 1995, the USA started celebrating a somewhat unofficial Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday in March. This tradition has helped spark a revolution in the ways employees and employers interact with one another.

Today, employees look for more than financial benefits when considering finding a long-term place of work. They look at the overall culture of the company. How are employees treated? What is the work-life balance? Will there be flexibility and room to grow inside the company? Having a single day to show your employees how much you value them simply is not enough.

But it’s a good way to start – and we’re here to give you tips on how to turn one day into an overall company culture of personal gratitude that inspires employee loyalty.

Employee Appreciation Day: Many holding out a champagne glass to toast.

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

If this is the first time you’ve heard about it, don’t worry. While Employee Appreciation Day started in the USA in 1995, the practice is still relatively new. And the holiday is still catching on internationally. To sum it up, the day is about recognizing and rewarding the people that make your company a successful one; your dedicated employees!

There are many different ways to reward your employees on this special day. From parties to gifts, we’ll give you tips for each one. We highly encourage you to choose more than one way to celebrate your employees’ hard work!

Surprise Them with Thoughtful Employee Appreciation Gifts

Many companies choose to recognize their employees’ hard work by sending them employee appreciation gifts. A general rule of thumb is giving employees a gift proportionate to their role with the company and how long they’ve been with you.

Gift cards are an excellent general gift to surprise your employees. If you’d like to treat them to a bottle of their favorite liquor but don’t quite know what it is, don’t worry! Drinkable Gifts can help you send gift cards in bulk, saving you time and money!

Care packages are another great gift option. Ideally, the care package’s contents should be unique to the recipient. When it comes to relaxation and practicing self-care, everyone has a different routine. So, make sure you include goodies that help them unwind in the way they like best. Don’t be afraid to include a pack of their favorite beer or a bottle of great wine! If you happen to know that they have little ones, or beloved pets, at home, slip in a few gifts for them for an extra personal touch.

Alcohol Gifts are a wonderful way to say “Thank You” to your employees. Take care to select either their favorite bottle of liquor or something high-end. Traditionally champagne or top-shelf liquor are the ideal gifts for valued employees.

Whatever you choose to send, make sure you include a genuine note of thanks. When done right, your Employee Appreciation Day should help set the tone for the work environment for the rest of the year.

Creative Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

The “best” way to celebrate employees will look differently from company to company. The best advice we can give is to poll your employees for ideas. Keep an open mind, and work with them to curate an activity that fits the unique personality of your office.

Go for an outing – it can be a museum, rock climbing, or the zoo. You don’t have to go all out and have a weekend away in Vegas, but you certainly can if your budget allows! Pick a few options that fit your company budget, and let your employees vote on the winner.

Throw a party – closing business for a day in favor of having a team party is a very popular Employee Appreciation Day idea. A paid day to mingle, eat great food, and play games with co-workers is a wonderful morale boost for employees.

Give them the day off – you can choose to give the whole team off on this day. Or if that’s not feasible, reward your employees with an extra day of paid time off they can use at their leisure.

Open the floor for suggestions – you pay your team to develop ideas for your company, it only makes sense to pay them to help them figure out the best way to celebrate. You don’t have to wait for the first Friday in March to appreciate your team. Let them take a vote, maybe they’d rather celebrate closer to the summer so you can have a company beach day. Maybe they’re winter folk and they’d like to sled. Whatever it is, make sure your team feels heard and give everyone an equal opportunity to speak.

Employee Appreciation Day - team get together with drinks

How to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day Virtually

Many companies have taken the leap to go entirely virtual. In the era of work from home, it can feel impossible to bring your team together physically. And that’s okay! It’s possible to celebrate with your virtual team!

Video party – coordinating a video party doesn’t have to be complicated. You can set the date and send them their favorite drink and snacks to enjoy during the event. Use the video party time to highlight their achievements, give them a platform to showcase talents, and have a heart-to-heart talk about how they’d like to grow employee appreciation efforts going forward.

Company meet-up – while you may not see each other daily, you can see each other sometimes. Use this as an excuse to plan a company retreat with your valued employees! If you have a particularly large company, you can plan multiple different trips to help with costs and make it more practical for people to mingle. However you coordinate it, paying for in-person company bonding time is a way to improve morale and interdepartmental cooperation.

Turning Employee Appreciation Day into a Company Culture

Setting aside one day a year to celebrate your team and recognize your employees’ hard work is amazing. But use this day as a catalyst to look at how you can show your employees appreciation year-round. This can start simply by figuring out ways to give your employees a better work/life balance. Such as offering the flexibility to work from home, rotating shifts, or implementing more generous time off policies.

But it can, and should, be more than that. For instance, you can implement a year-round employee gifting culture that empowers your managers to send their team gifts for company milestones, birthdays, or major life events.

Additionally, you can empower team leaders and volunteers to host after-hours events. Setting aside a budget for small team outings, such as dinner events, can help alleviate stress and give employees openings to have conversations freely with superiors.

Hosting an Employee Appreciation Day event is only meaningful if your employees feel valued all year long. So make sure you use it as inspiration for what comes next. The gestures don’t have to be huge, but they do need to be consistent.

Final Thoughts on Employee Appreciation Day

At the end of the day, your team knows what it needs best. You just need to listen. Opening up an anonymous feedback survey can do a world of good when it comes to helping you figure out what your employees need to thrive. Below are a few examples of the kinds of questions you should ask on such a survey:

  • What do you feel the company can improve to help you better achieve your work goals?
  • Is there anything you’d like to see the office implement to help you feel more comfortable and better focus on your tasks?
  • What kind of schedule would best suit you and support your ability to complete all your work while managing your own life?
  • What kinds of gifts would you most appreciate receiving from the company?
  • Would you be interested and willing to fill out a non-anonymous survey that tells us a bit more about you so we can better curate gifts?

Make sure you follow through on the most popular responses and be transparent about what is going on. You won’t be able to implement everything at once or exactly as requested. But you can take steps to create an environment where your team feels appreciated and thrives. The more your employees feel valued, the longer they’ll stay and the better they’ll be able to work.

If you’d like to learn more about how to coordinate a year-round gifting program for your employees, please fill out this form, or contact our experts directly. We’re ready 24/7 to help you deliver corporate alcohol gifts around the world.

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