Employee Appreciation day, which was invented by HR expert Dr Bob Nelson in the 90s, is a way for managers to recognise employee’s value in the workplace. 

It falls on the first Friday in March (today) and employers across the UK have shared insights with HRreview on how to show workers they are recognised.

From all of the comments, it is clear that showing appreciation to employees is anything but arbitrary 

Christophe Peymirat is Head of Uber for Business EMEA, he says businesses must make sure appreciation initiatives are accessible to all. His advice: “One simple way to ensure employees feel valued is offering personalised gestures or experiences. They’re not restricted to attending in person appreciation events, like face-to-face internal award ceremonies. While a great way to show recognition, these could isolate those who are hesitant about returning to the office.”

Alex Pusenjak, Global VP of People & Culture at Fluent Commerce said initiatives do not have to cost much but they are important: “Employee appreciation is directly tied with job satisfaction, workplace happiness, and employee morale. When you show your employees that you care, it can also boost motivation, increase engagement, foster loyalty, and increase productivity.”

Bruce Martin, CFO at Tax Systems: “At Tax Systems, among the other benefits we offer our employees from birthday days off and duvet days, to employee discounts and gym memberships, the biggest part of creating the culture we want our company to embody, is through broadening the concept of ‘flexibility for everyone’. And we have done so since long before the Covid pandemic. By being more accommodating and taking on the objective approach of trusting our team to get the work done, we have employees who are happy, motivated, and committed to the company.”

Nicole Sahin, CEO and Founder of Globalization Partners “Expressing appreciation in a work environment has some seriously good follow-on effects for both teams and individuals. In fact, four out of five employees are more motivated to work harder after their boss shows gratitude for their contribution. On the other hand, employees who don’t feel appreciated may quickly look for an exit. 

She added: “About 85 percentof the world’s population lives in cultures that are considered “collectivist. Team members from collectivist cultures often appreciate the work of the team more than the contribution of any one individual, and find it awkward or embarrassing to be called out, even for a heartfelt thank you. In this instance an employer should consider thanking them as part of thanking the overall team instead.”

Stephanie Kelly, Chief People Officer at IRIS Software Group: “One-off performance-related bonuses or gifts may be appreciated and retain employees in the short term. But while a great way to say a quick thank you, this won’t support long term retention. Business leaders and HR teams must instead focus on creating and sustaining a winning culture that empowers constant recognition and appreciation. 

“Offering regular opportunities to learn and grow, and programmes that look after employees, will help retain a culture of appreciation, where employees love what they do and are in it for the long haul.” 

Ian Rawlings, RVP EMEA at SumTotal: Receiving recognition in the workplace has a measurable impact on the health, wellbeing and performance of employees. It’s therefore important that managers consciously plan space for appreciative words and gestures each day, to recognise employees achievements as and when they happen. 

Helping employees progress is also a good way of expressing appreciation. For example, release a colleague who has been particularly hard working from certain duties so that they can focus on a project that they have shown interest in, which may open up new opportunities for them. Allow staff time to further their education and training. Another way to support staff advancement is to mention their hard work on the company social media platforms. This will have the added benefit of showing your customers what committed employees your company has, and show potential candidates that your business appreciates its staff.”

Richard Guy, Country Sales Manager UK & Ireland at Ergotron: “On this day, all employers should take a reality check on how they provide for, and show value to their employees, wherever they work. We are reminded how much it matters to value our employees and I believe we should show our appreciation to them not just today, but every day of the year. We should celebrate the diversity of our teams and how grateful we are for each worker’s daily contribution. Employees mean everything to a business – its innovation, support, personality, and energy. We should thank them all for their dedication, strength and support of one another during the last challenging two years.

Samantha Humphries, Head of Security Strategy EMEA at Exabeam“For those working in the cybersecurity sector, there is rarely such a thing as a ‘quiet’ working day. Security analysts receive an overwhelming number of alerts every day, leaving them inevitably suffering from alert fatigue and unable to consistently identify genuine threats. This can be unmanageable.

“This Employee Appreciation Day, it is important that we not only express our gratitude for our employees but look to implement practical solutions that get to the core of the most common problems. For example, with teams often time-poor and overstretched, security leaders should look to automation to help free up teams from mundane manual tasks so they can focus on doing what they enjoy most – solving cybersecurity challenges”

Joel Gujral, Founder and CEO, MYNDUP:  “Employee Appreciation Day is a great opportunity for employers to show just how much their staff mean to them. Whether sending gift vouchers to say thank you, or organising group events to celebrate or simply socialise, there are many ways businesses can display appreciation for their people. 

“But this shouldn’t be restricted to just providing freebies. The wellbeing and mental health of employees must also be considered, especially as the past couple of years have been extremely tough. Going above and beyond to offer therapy or counselling, to life coaching or mediation tools, proves to employees that their company is taking the time to appreciate struggles they may be facing. This will encourage a culture of openness. And in turn, will create an environment that people genuinely enjoy being in and will be willing to work hard for.” 

Darren Jaffrey, General Manager of EMEA & APAC, HireVue: “Businesses need to think outside the box when it comes to showing employee appreciation. Sending virtual gifts – like fitness or food vouchers – is a great way to say thanks. But showing appreciation through gifting is usually limited to just one calendar day a year due to budget. Employees also need to feel appreciated and inspired all year round, otherwise they will jump ship and look to seek acceptance elsewhere. 

“No matter what businesses choose to do to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day this year; they should never underestimate the power of recognition.”