National Employee Appreciation Day takes place Friday, March 2.
Many organizational leaders and managers wonder if it’s something they should make the effort to celebrate or if it’s a contrived holiday they can skip. After all, if managers celebrated every national holiday ever created, no one would ever get any work done.
I’m all for National Donut Day, but did you know there is a National Clean Out Your Computer Day?
I suggest skipping that one.
Celebrating National Employee Appreciation Day goes a whole lot deeper than giving employees a chance to have fun or giving them a break from doing actual work.
Here are 5 reasons why management should celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day:
1) Showing appreciation is a necessity, not a nicety considering 40% of employees plan to change jobs in 2018, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.
Many managers assume it’s the money that makes people want to stay in their jobs, but it’s not true.
Companies must offer more than competitive pay and benefits to retain their employees. That’s why organizational culture becomes so vital because it serves as a differentiating factor. Pay and benefits can easily be matched, but it’s very difficult to copy company culture.
The reality is people come for the job but they stay for the people and the culture. When companies take time to show appreciation for their employees, they are investing in the retention of their most important assets.
2) Employees have a need to feel appreciated.
Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Once a human being’s basic needs of food, water, shelter and safety are met, humans focus on getting their psychological needs met.
These are the needs to belong, to be understood, and to be appreciated. The need employees have to feel appreciated cannot be ignored. Instead, managers should make it their responsibility to make sure this important need is met in the individuals they supervise.
When employees don’t feel appreciated in their current job, it won’t be long before they start looking for a new job where someone will take the time to appreciate them.
3) Employees are more motivated to work harder when they know management cares about them.
Actions will always speak louder than words. Smart leaders see National Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to show their employees they care in a way that doesn’t relate to performance outcomes or behavior.
When employees feel valued by management as a person and not just an “employee,” they go above and beyond what is required.
4) Celebrations create camaraderie which increases productivity and fosters feelings of loyalty.
Work is made up of two important parts. The tasks that need to be completed for the success of the business and the people who accomplish those tasks.
Most tasks require working together as a team, which is why it’s important that employees are given opportunities to connect and build relationships with one another.
It’s a no brainer that work productivity improves when people get along. Add to that the feelings of loyalty that grow when people feel like they are all part of the same team.
5) Research shows morale, job satisfaction and retention all improve when people feel valued for the work they do and who they are as an individual.
Improvements in these areas translate to real dollars that no organization should leave on the table. There is a real return on investment when it comes to appreciation, especially when a little goes a long ways.
Grand gestures or big parties are nice but not necessary. Small, sincere acts of appreciation will go far toward developing a workplace culture where people feel committed and want to stay for the long term.
For these same reasons, Employee Appreciation Day should be every day and not just once or twice a year. Organizational leaders and managers would do well to remember that their most important assets go home every night, and they should do everything in their power to make them want to come back the next day and the next.