What Is National Employee Appreciation Day?

As you may (or may not) know, the first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day. It is a day to focus attention and express appreciation of all employees, across all industries.

Why It’s Important

Employee appreciation is a critical aspect of maintaining employee engagement. In today’s competitive marketplace, keeping employees engaged is more important than ever. According to PayScale’s 2019 Compensation Best Practices Report, 66 percent of companies cited employee retention as a major concern. Additionally, a mere 22 percent of employees feel they’re being paid fairly. While pay is a limited resource, appreciation is unlimited asset. When employees feel appreciated for the work they do, they’re more likely to be engaged in their positions and the organization.

How to Do it

Employee appreciation can take many forms. It can be something as a simple on the spot “thank you” or a more structured recognition/acknowledgement of a job well done at a company-wide quarterly meeting. It can be informal or formal acknowledgement/recognition of an employee’s or a team’s behavior, effort or business result.

Being specific and timely with recognition is also important. It’s one thing to tell an employee an overall “thank you” but it can mean a lot more when an individual or group is acknowledged for a job well-done on completing a specific goal or project. It’s especially important to express this appreciation shortly after the achievement.

Some organizations focus on holiday parties, learning/development opportunities, time off, money, etc. Here at PayScale, we try to express employee appreciation throughout the year. Some relatively inexpensive and easy-to-implement ideas have included the creation of a company-wide “thanks channel” on Slack to our “3rd Thursday” program, where we call out valued and appreciated behaviors and achievements at all-hands value awards. On a more complex side, we’ve invested in providing a thoughtful benefits package that fosters employees’ physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing.

Want more specific ideas on how to show employees some love? Check out this article for 7 creative ways to appreciate your employees .

Strike a Balance

Allison Kiniry, Sr. People Business Partner at PayScale, adds “In my experience, employees want to feel valued and they want to be recognized for the work they are doing — especially if they’re exceeding expectations. Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their good work.”

Allison also sees a correlation between managing employee performance and recognition. When coaching managers and leaders, she reminds them about the value of praise, and to always share critical feedback with employees in private. She notes that too often, managers can get stuck on the negative(s) – a specific employee’s poor attendance, poor attitude, or poor work performance. However, it’s just as important to focus on high performing employees who are meeting or exceeding expectations, lest they may go feeling unnoticed or unrecognized.

Tell us what you think

How do you show your employees that you value them? Share your ideas with us below or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/payscale