Today, March 2, 2018, is Employee Appreciation Day! I realize that these days there is a day for everything: Grilled Cheese Day, Hot Dog Day, Dr. Suess Day, even National Pasta Day! (Pasta Day is October 17th if you were wondering, a day I will certainly be celebrating!) Yes, many of these days are silly and fun and go rightfully unnoticed. But there are a few of these national days that we should stop and consider.
The need for appreciation is human and universal. Over the last year, I have personally been working on showing appreciation more in my life to those who make it better. I wrote about that in this blog post back in November. I find that the more appreciative I am of others, the more I see that reflected back to me. And if for no other reason than business results, research shows that appreciation and gratitude can have a significant impact on driving productivity and results. In a study reported by Harvard Medical School and conducted by researchers at the Wharton School, it found that a group of fund-raisers who were shown appreciation made 50% more calls than the group who was not.
So, I would encourage you to find a way to appreciate your employees today. I don't think appreciation has to come in the form of some grand gesture, although occasionally that is nice too. A simple, "thank you for the work you do that makes this organization better," can go a long way. This Forbes article has ideas from eight companies each taking a unique approach to appreciation today. O.C. Tanner offers a weekly appreciation tip, and they have special Appreciation eCards that you can send to your employees or colleagues for free!
Whatever you do, I'd encourage you to not just make appreciation about today. Find ways to build appreciation and gratitude into the culture of your organization. In the same way that we have shifted our thinking on performance reviews from an annual or quarterly basis to a continuous process of real-time feedback, organizations need to shift their thinking about appreciation for employees from an annual, once-a-year employee party to a continuous, real-time culture of gratitude and appreciation.
Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD Program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!