Blink, and you may have missed it because we did. But Employee Appreciation Day is the first Friday of March (this year, it fell on March 4, 2022), but we didn’t want the month to end without considering this important celebration. Because as we all know, the past two years have been tough. In many cases, employees have gone above and beyond their job descriptions (hello, healthcare workers and teachers) and deserve to be appreciated and celebrated.
But in addition to employees doing more than their fair share these past two years, another important reason to celebrate is that the last two years have been mentally tough. Many of us are working from home and have lost that daily interaction with our colleagues, and while the work may still be getting done, team members want to connect. After all, we’re human, and it’s part of our DNA. And is it ever really the wrong time to have a celebration? Especially as we head into warmer weather months.
Here are some ideas to get you started planning an Employee Appreciation event that will have your team thanking YOU!
A Day of Pampering
Your team has been working hard, and everyone appreciates a paid day off. It can be as simple as everyone choosing a day for themselves, or you can add in a credit at a local spa. Mental health days are important, and when given to you by your boss, they mean that much more. It shows empathy and
compassion, which are respected leadership qualities.
We know… some employees groan when you mention you’re hosting a team-building event as everyone imagines bowling, trust falls, or personality profiling. But ask most attendees if they enjoyed it, and you’ll get a resounding “yes”! Again, most of us want time with our colleagues and the opportunity to share an activity and learn a little more about them. And even bowling can be fun(ny).
We loved them as kids and counted the days until we got to go. And adults can love them, too! So get everyone together for a trip to the zoo, a museum, or a yoga class. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as a local attraction that allows everyone to forget about work for a few hours and spend time with their work friends enjoying their community.
Imagine this as a field trip on steroids. If you have an adventurous crew, then take them somewhere experiential. This could include mental challenges like Escape Rooms or physical challenges like zip-lining or indoor skydiving. It’s the perfect way to encourage a high-performing and adventurous team to blow off a little steam.
Yep, food continues to be the top choice to bring people together. You can keep it simple and order pizza for the team. Or you can up your culinary game and bring in one or multiple food trucks. This way, your employees can get out of the fluorescent-lit lunchroom and enjoy their lunch outdoors. And hosting multiple trucks allows you to please the different palates of your team members. Even better, invite other teams you often collaborate with and appreciate them.
Ok, we don’t want to say everyone gets a trophy, but everyone does bring value to your team. Everyone has a job they do especially well or an essential role in team dynamics. And people love to be appreciated for their value. So make the awards creative and tailored to what they do best. For example, If Bill is always there to help with a problem, give him the First Aid Award with a first aid kit as his trophy.
Virtual Appreciation Day (Care Package)
Are all your team members still working remotely? Don’t forget them. They need to feel appreciated even more because they spend every day alone. Sending a care package to their home is the perfect way to say, “thank you.” It can be a gift basket of snacks or pampering items. Or you can send a selection of wines to each of their homes and host a virtual wine tasting.
It’s important to periodically take the time and remind your team how much you value and appreciate them. Not only will it help with employee morale, but good vibes always contribute to increased motivation. And amidst all the changes of the past two years, pausing and enjoying yourself with friends is priceless.