Did you have today on your calendar? I know you had today, but did you have today on your corporate calendar, in your leadership mind? Today is the first Friday of March, and known as Employee Appreciation Day.
Congratulations to those who did! It’s a great opportunity to highlight what our teams do for us, and the organization. Maybe you’ll provide lunch for all or have a tab running at the local coffee shop for everyone to go and get their fave drink. Maybe leadership will serve breakfast for everyone. All efforts are appreciated recognition of the contributions brought to a company’s success.
If you’re pre-planning, it’s a chance to get creative, too. One time I brought in a popcorn bar – jars of specialty popcorn flavors, about eight of them. They lined the table in our large forum area where everyone walked through multiple times a day. All day long the chatter was about what popcorn combo was the best. There was razzing and laughter. The votes were taken and a winning combo was chosen.
Another time my team received socks that said “I’m Nacho Average Employee” on one, while the other said “I’m Awesome!” They’re thick, warm, and keep the toes comfy on those colder days in our area, especially in the work-from-home offices, where drafts tended to be fodder on the team’s thread.
Whether you’re able to pre-plan or not, and most importantly, whether it’s the first Friday in March or not, there’s plenty of ways a manager, supervisor and/or anyone in a leadership position can do on a quick turn to show appreciation for the work of their colleagues:
- Take them out for a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate). Spend 10-15 minutes to ask them to go to the local coffee shop and grab their favorite drink. If you happen to know what that drink is, name it. There’s power in acknowledging that someone doesn’t drink coffee and would prefer a cup of tea or hot chocolate! Plus, the chatter, away from the office for just a few minutes, goes a long way to strengthening the relationship.
- Grab a card, or a piece of company stationary, and write a note. Be specific about a contribution the employee made, and the impact it had on the desired result. Mail it – yes, meaning put a stamp on it and send it off – to their house; or you can leave it on their desk, too. Mailing it however is an extra step that then shows you want to share that experience and contribution with not just that individual, but with their family with whom they live.
- In the world with social media – use it! Give some shout outs to the people in your company through your channels. This can have a broad reach to highlight their impact. Then have leadership members comment on the posts to help reinforce the appreciation.
- Take time for the team to play a game or two! If you have the space and weather for something outdoors, that’s great. There are fun things that can be done online, through their phones, that can bring everyone together for some fun times. So many things can be done with Kahoot! for example!
Whatever you do, the bare minimum is to extend a personal thank you, and to make a vow to yourself as a leader – or leadership team – to incorporate employee appreciation acts into the fabric of the culture of the organization on a more frequent basis. It’ll do your company wonders!