employee appreciation day mo

11 Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

9 min read
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Alice Florence Orr

Employee Appreciation Day might not be on your calendar yet – but it will be by the end of this article. One of the best days of the year to make your employees feel valued, Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect excuse to explore new initiatives. Recognising employees for their work is our raison d’etre, so naturally we relish any opportunity to make workers feel important.

Employee appreciation ideas can quickly become repetitive. As our People and Culture Specialist Lily Coleman reminds us: “A good idea at Easter will go stale before the Christmas party”. That is why we have compiled a list of actionable ideas that team members will genuinely enjoy. And while a gift card is always a nice touch, sometimes it pays to be more imaginative.

Why not go even further? If you have recently hit important targets, consider celebrating staff appreciation week. If you have the capacity, you could implement one of our ideas every day. It might sound extravagant – but you are showing your employees how much they matter.

What is Employee Appreciation Day?

Put simply, Employee Appreciation Day is an annual day of recognition for staff across all sectors and roles. It does not matter if you’re an executive or a new start – this is a day to shine a light on everyone’s contribution.

🗓️ Employee Appreciation Day 2024 falls on the first Friday of March – this year, it will be on 1st March.

Why does employee recognition matter?

For a long time, we have noticed a shift in the power balance in the workplace. When salary was the main attraction, employers held the power – especially during economic downturns. But since the pandemic, employees appreciate flexibility, health insurance and a better work-life balance. Suddenly, that promotion might not be enough.

If companies are to retain their best people, they must implement systems that ensure employees feel valued. Appreciating your employees will reduce churn, boost retention and improve productivity; we have seen improvements in our customers’ metrics when they start regularly recognising their employees.

Before typing out a generic “Happy Employee Appreciation Day” email, use this as an opportunity to evaluate how you recognise your employees. Has your organisation fallen into a pattern of empty gestures? You’d be surprised how many employees leave due to lacklustre company culture – many cite poor recognition as a reason why they left for another job.

Don’t blame the younger generation for missed targets; ensure you are meeting their recognition needs. Companies win with a great culture.

11 ways to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

1. Host a team Happy Hour

Since Employee Appreciation Day falls on a Friday every year, a Happy Hour will fit perfectly into your employees’ weekend plans. If you fancy hosting in style, hire a bartender to mix bespoke cocktails in your social area. Get creative and name your own signature company tipple. Who wants to try a “Mo on the Beach”?

While alcohol has traditionally been a big part of bonding with co-workers, remember that your company is not Mad Men. Rising numbers of employees are teetotal or sober curious. Make sure to accommodate everyone by including virgin cocktails and other non-alcoholic options.

If most of your staff have childcare commitments, switch up your Happy Hour to a lunchtime Coffee Hour. Hire a barista and let the oat milk flow.

Remote friendly? Not quite. However, if most of your team is remote, there are plenty of workarounds. A coffee voucher or booze delivery service might suffice, but this one has the greatest impact in the office.

Benefits: Your staff will enjoy sharing the experience on social media, giving your company some cool credibility. Not only is a Happy Hour easy to customise and budget, it will help hybrid teams foster better connections.

2. Organise a team trip

Forget Employee Appreciation Day. This idea is better suited to Employee Appreciation Week. Requiring planning and a large budget, a team trip is the most flashy indication of a successful quarter. Here are a few of our favourite destinations:

  • Catching a Broadway show in NYC
  • Glamping in Wales
  • Hitting a cabaret in London
  • Relaxing on a beach in the Maldives

A company trip will bring together remote employees and office staff to celebrate major employee achievements. It gives managers the chance to relax and fosters connection across different departments.

Watch out for unforeseen costs; budgets can easily inflate when planning a company holiday. Our best advice is to pick an option that is at least £1000 under your budget. You can spend leftover funds on perks at your destination.

Remote friendly? Yes! A company trip is the perfect way to bring remote teams together.

Benefits: Your team will not forget this one in a hurry. Watch your retention rate increase.

Mo Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

3. Order pizza

Everyone likes pizza – and Staff Appreciation Day can be an excuse to order from your favourite pie shop. If your team loathes pizza, order platters of sushi for the office. Add some ice cream for dessert to really show you care.

Remote friendly? As with the Happy Hour idea, this one is best done in the office.

Benefits: A cheap and cheerful way to get everyone around one table. Your staff will appreciate a free meal while bonding over a shared passion for pepperoni.

Mo Tip 👉 Did you know that our Rewards are configurable to your employee’s location? That way they can support their local takeaway. Pizza, anyone?

4. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition

While peer-to-peer recognition is always a good idea, Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect excuse to kick off a new initiative. Mo makes recognising peers simple using our Moments feature. We enable employees to thank their peers in real-time, reducing the burden on managers.

We have noticed that empowering employees to share rewards and recognition helps teams work more cohesively. It improves communication – especially helpful for remote teams.

Recently, Mo earned the title of one of the Best Software Companies in the UK for Employee Recognition – what we do best. Even with a small team, we have achieved success because we have built recognition into our company culture. Want to find out how to optimise your team with staff recognition? 👉 Book a Demo.

Remote friendly? Yes. Peer-to-peer recognition via an employee engagement platform like Mo is designed to benefit remote, hybrid and global companies.

Benefits: Peer-to-peer recognition will promote connection and belonging all year round, boosting your productivity metrics.

5. Give your team the afternoon off

Inspired by the “Summer Fridays” trend, giving your team the afternoon off is a spontaneous and meaningful way to reward them for hard work. Make it even more impactful by sharing the announcement on your employee recognition platform.

It might feel counter-intuitive to award time off when trying to maintain momentum. However, studies have shown that rest – and four-day work weeks – are beneficial to employee productivity. We’ve previously written about the benefits of a 9-day fortnight. Take this opportunity to explore alternative working arrangements for your team.

Encourage your team to share what they got up to on their afternoon off on your employee recognition platform. You can easily set up asynchronous Boosts on Mo to improve team engagement.

Remote friendly? Absolutely. An afternoon off has the same effect regardless of whether your team in in-office, hybrid or remote.

Benefits: Time is money. Awarding time off might seem like a risk – but rested employees tend to be more productive. This one will benefit everyone in the end.

6. Write a LinkedIn recommendation

Many Employee Appreciation Day ideas focus on rewarding past behaviour. But employees will appreciate you taking the time to invest in their future. Writing a LinkedIn recommendation for your colleagues or employees may raise alarm bells – the last thing you want is a drop in retention. Here are five reasons why you should consider writing LinkedIn recommendations for your staff:

  • Encourages loyalty
  • Stands out as a sincere gesture
  • Goes hand-in-hand with their professional development
  • Cheap, fast and simple
  • Incorporate seamlessly into Compensation Review Season

Remote friendly? Yes! Remote workers often suffer from reduced feedback compared to their in-office peers. A LinkedIn recommendation is a good place to start addressing the balance.

Benefits: A nice option if the budget will not allow for material gestures.

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7. Send personalised messages

Rather than sending a general email to your employees, write them personalised messages instead. Review their most recent evaluation and craft a positive message based on recent achievements.

If you are short on time, utilise your employee engagement software to promptly acknowledge your team. You can tag individuals and teams within our platform, making it simple to communicate quickly.

Remote friendly? Absolutely. Mo is easy to configure to your company’s needs, making it easy for managers to appreciate their teams.

8. Give them really cool merch

Let’s face it – most company merch is bad. Yours doesn’t have to be. Send out a quick survey to your team to find out what items have appeal. Not everyone wants a t-shirt or a tote bag – but a customised Chilly’s bottle might be genuinely useful. Here are some other merch ideas:

  • Fun socks
  • Cufflinks
  • Flasks and insulated water bottles
  • Baseball caps and beanies

If your company dramatically goes bust, your company swag might even become highly desirable. Just look at Lehman Brothers.

Remote friendly? Yes. Team swag is easy to post.

Benefits: With minimal effort involved, company merch is a simple if superficial way of making employees feel like they belong.

9. Start a mentorship program

There is a difference between rewarding employees and investing in them. To nurture your team’s professional development, consider developing a mentorship program. Sharing skills within your team will help your staff level up without committing to lengthy courses.

Coaching and mentoring are different – agree upon your goals before starting the initiative to avoid mistakes.

Mentoring supports women and minorities in feeling included and empowered in your company. It encourages them to pursue positions they may have previously believed were not suitable for them.

Remote friendly? Yes! Mentoring can take place on a video call.

Benefits: Investing in your people will improve retention and productivity.

10. Send a cash employee reward

There is never a bad time to send a gift card – except when someone is being laid off. But before you ring through a few thousand Amazon vouchers, remember that many employees find them old-fashioned and restrictive. Younger generations are increasingly mindful of where they shop, making it hard to find a gift card that satisfies everyone’s values.

To make things more complicated, many companies have a global workforce. Attempting to please everyone will ultimately satisfy no one. When it comes to international teams, rewarding remote or hybrid workers in their local currency makes sense.

We created our Reward function to be configurable to your needs as a company. Mo uses cash rewards in the first instance, giving employees the agency to decide how to convert their money.

Remote friendly? Yes! When implemented through employee recognition software, cash rewards are perfect for remote and hybrid teams.

Benefits: Employees can correlate their achievements with a monetary value, giving them perks that go beyond salary and bonuses.

Mo Tip 👉 We work with top brands to allow your employees to spend their cash rewards on their favourite products, services and experiences. Coffee, anyone?

Moment All Company Notification

11. Set up employee recognition software

Employee recognition programs like Mo improve engagement metrics and reduce workload for busy managers. A good company starts with a positive company culture – that’s why we have developed a configurable platform to help you recognise and reward your employees.

Make every day feel like Employee Appreciation Day by setting up a smart and effective system. Mo is a company-wide platform with proven results. If you would like to hear more about how Mo can help improve your culture 👉 Book a Demo.

Remote friendly? Yes. Employee recognition software is easy to set up and helps companies feel more connected across geographical and cultural differences.

Benefits: You do not have to wait for a special day to implement improvements. It only takes a few months to set up employee recognition software and the effects can often be felt before your next employee engagement survey.

Employee Appreciation Day: Key Takeaways

  • Employee Appreciation Day is an opportunity to make staff feel valued for their contributions to your company’s success. It happens on the first Friday in March.
  • Do not wait until Employee Appreciation Day to start recognising your employees. There are many smart and effective ways to reward and appreciate your people all year long.
  • Employee recognition software is a proven way to improve your engagement metrics and boost productivity – speak to one of our experts about our software by Booking a Free Demo.

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