7 Ways to Show Employees Some Love

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: February 28, 2012

Don't Hate, Appreciate!

The first Friday of March is Employee Appreciation Day. But do you feel appreciated?

This "holiday," established in 1995, serves as a day to honor workers across the country. After all, National Bosses Day is celebrated in October, so it’s only fair the rank and file employees have their moment in the sun as well. That’s why it doesn’t matter whether you scrub toilets or if you’re a budding advertising executive on Madison Avenue – Employee Appreciation Day is about recognizing people for a job well done. Every job and every worker.

The question is how should your company do that? Luckily we’ve come up with some ideas, so forward this to your boss.

1. Plan Party Time

The simplest and most widely used method of showing employees gratitude is to throw them a party.

It’s always nice to break up the workday for 30-60 minutes with some food, (non-alcoholic) drinks and – of course – some cake. Bosses should not only make sure they are present, but also speak to employees with some prepared remarks. 

Sometimes showing appreciation is as simple as some food and an “atta boy” or “job well done.”

2. Get Some 1-on-1 Time With Your Boss

We’re not talking about a performance review, more like the State of the Union.

Obviously talking to employees one-on-one is contingent on the size of the company, but getting the opportunity to have some face time with your boss is almost always a good thing. This meeting should be very informal and it gives you the chance to talk with your boss about how things are going, what you like and what could improve (use tact and common sense).

Employees deserve a boss who truly listens and takes the time to hear them out.

3. Handwritten Notes Speak Volumes

A party and some cake is nice. But sometimes employees are looking for something a little more personal.

Sure we’re in the technology age when there’s an app for everything and a million ways to get in touch with your employees at the drop of a hat. And those are valuable time-/cost-savers that should be used regularly. But on a day designed specifically to show workers how much they are valued, all the technology in the world falls short of a handwritten note expressing appreciation for a job well done.

Employees who come to work and find a handwritten thank you note on their desk from the boss will likely be smiling all week.

4. Get a Jump Start on the Weekend

Obviously giving everyone the day off is most likely an impossibility. But there is room for improvisation.

If the whole company can’t take a collective personal day, what about something a little more low-key to show appreciation for employees? Bosses can choose to surprise everyone with a half-day of work. Or they can let some employees come in to work an hour late, while allowing others to leave an hour early to beat rush hour traffic and get a head start on the weekend.

The little things really do make the biggest difference.

5. Make Internal Improvements

If your boss doesn’t want to buy gift cards or pay to send workers out, then how about improvements in the office?

Perhaps it’s a new coffeemaker or cappuccino machine. Or maybe a Foosball table or new TV in the break room. If we’re talking about an athletic work crew, they might appreciate putting a basketball hoop up in the parking lot for lunchtime pick-up games. Whatever internal improvements can be made to the workplace, it won’t go unappreciated by the people who will benefit from it on a daily basis.

6. Perk Up

Employees love perks. So on Employee Appreciation Day, give them what they love.

Not only is this a chance for bosses to show employees gratitude, it’s an opportunity to prove they really do know their own employees. Employees can receive different perks based on their needs/interests such as discounted gym memberships, massages and spa gift certificates to name a few. Not only will employees be thankful, they’ll also be impressed management cared enough to pay attention to who they are and what they value.

7. Show Them the Money

Hey, we’re Salary.com – you knew this one was coming!

While employees appreciate handwritten notes and cake, at the end of the day it’s more money they want. In a recent Salary.com survey of more than 2,400 people from December 2011, more than one-third – 67 percent – said they want to leave their current position because they’re not paid enough. Additionally, 29 percent said not receiving an end-of-year bonus also played into that dissatisfaction.

So what better time to make up for that undersized paycheck and lack of a raise than giving one to deserving employees on Employee Appreciation Day?

The Bottom Line is Let Them Know You Care

Whether it’s a party, a personalized gift or a face-to-face meeting, hopefully employers do SOMETHING for Employee Appreciation Day.

Although all workers appreciate a bump in pay, showing gratitude to employees for a job well done doesn’t have to cost anything except for a little time and effort. Satisfied employees are happy, happy employees are more productive, and more productive employees stay on the job longer with increased productivity. In a nutshell, everyone wins when employees are shown a little TLC.

And just in case your boss doesn’t appreciate you, Salary.com does. Happy Employee Appreciation Day to all the hard-workers out there!

Recommended Reading

Whether you have employees you deeply appreciate or you think your boss needs a friendly nudge in the right direction, here are some books you might find helpful:

  • Make Their Day: Employee Recognition that Works
  • 365 Ways to Motivate & Reward Your Employees Every Day: With Little or No Money
  • Love 'em or Lose 'em: Getting Good People to Stay
  • 1001 Ways to Reward Employees
  • The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People