Why is Employee Appreciation Day Even a Thing?

The most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us! Cancel Christmas. Veto Valentine’s Day. Move over Mother’s Day (sorry, Mom).

Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 3rd! It’s a very exciting time in our industry, so forgive us if we go overboard a bit. We’ll get into some of the cool things you can do for your team members in a minute.

But first…

As we started preparing promo pieces and clever ideas to show your employees how much you appreciate them, we started wondering: Why is this even a special occasion? Are there really bosses and companies who only take the time to recognize their employees one time out of the year?


Showing your employees you appreciate them can get insane business results if it’s done on a regular basis. Click HERE to find out how easy it can be.

Sadly, that is the case. There are a great many who think that having a special event on this one day of the year fills up the employee’s emotional bank account enough to perpetuate top levels of performance. But come November, or July, or possibly even March 9th, some employees will already have burned it up like a piece of magician’s flash paper.

Like any other holiday or special nationally recognized day, its nice to put a spotlight on Employee Appreciation. However, if you lose sight of it the rest of the year, its hardly worth any effort at all.

Like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day, the spirit of this special day should live with us throughout our daily lives, on a regular basis. It should be something we are always conscious of, not just living out in a single event, unless we’re satisfied with just going through the motions.

We said we’re going to share with you some ideas for recognizing your employees, and we’re getting there. You’re free to use them on March 3rd, but we implore you to consider building a consistent, ongoing, and long-term strategy for employee recognition.


Employee Appreciation Day, 2016! Check out pics from our last Employee Appreciation Day! Click HERE (*HINT: Food is your friend for these celebrations!)

Studies have shown that in order to increase levels of employee engagement management should set a goal of recognizing every employee at least once every seven days. Why is employee engagement important? Engaged employees are committed to the committee vision and goals, motivated to succeed, and have a higher sense of self-worth and well-being.

OK, now for a few simple ideas (there are a million and one ways to do this; this is just to get you started):

  1. Come up with one thing that every employee does well. Try not to overlap them, make them unique to each person (they are people, after all). Gather the team and read each one of them aloud. Have the entire team clap for each other after each one is read. There’ll be some laughs, some blushing, maybe even some misty-eyes, and you’ll be seen as someone who is paying attention to their efforts.

  2. If that sounds a little too much of a “public display of affection” for you, try a handwritten note with a personalized message. At MyEmployees, we have a product called Spot-On Cards that are perfect for this. A handwritten card says you’ve taken time to thank the recipient personally. It’s a simple, but immensely powerful gesture.

  3. Cater breakfast or lunch. Or both. This one is stupid simple. It does not have to be extravagant. For breakfast: donuts and coffee, maybe a fruit tray. For lunch: get a stack of pizzas or have the sub shop make one of those fifteen foot sandwiches.

  4. Look around the office for promo items or schwag you’ve gotten from vendors. Write each employee’s name on a slip of paper and then put them all in a hat or bucket. Hold a drawing for each of the items, and pull out one name for each. They don’t have to be high cost items; everyone just loves to win something.

  5. Hold a contest to swap desks with the boss for a week. This works great in settings where employees work in shared space or cubicles and the boss has an office. You may see a significant spike in performance as people strive to win.

  6. One suggestion I heard a short while back was to offer to cover one of the more dreadful tasks employees have to do during the day. Tell them you will take care of it for them. Be careful that this doesn’t have too great an effect on overall productivity or quality. And, who knows, you may uncover some ways to improve a process employees are struggling with.

  7. Just say, “Thank You.” Go to each employee and thank them for their contribution to the company. Be specific in your praise. Look them in the eye, be sincere, and shake hand their hand. Again, Spot-On Cards that are perfect for this.


Food trucks are an awesome way to get the team together for an employee appreciation event. We gathered the team to celebrate the employees, and decided to expand it to a company-wide field day.

To make it extra special, we hired a local food truck to come out and provide lunch for all the employees. The weather was just right for hot dogs, corn hole, volleyball, and more.

Check it out!


Another unique idea? Get the team together for a good cause. Here’s a highlight reel from the team at MyEmployees getting down and dirty at the 2016 Combat Mud Run to raise money for veterans of the armed forces.

Whether or not there’s a mud run scheduled in your area near Employee Appreciation Day may be a stretch… The idea is get everyone inspired around something they can do to feel good about themselves, have fun, and come together as a team.

Make Employee Appreciation Day in 2017 a great day for your employees! Show them how much their contributions mean to you and to your business. And, if you don’t already, strongly consider making Employee Appreciation Day an everyday event. Taking the time to recognize and reward your team members will pay dividends through employee engagement and lead to increased productivity, quality of work, quality of life, and, ultimately, profitability.

Matthew Coleman

The mission of MyEmployees is to engage America's workforce, one manager, one employee at a time... forging stronger companies in the process. We empower leaders to create memorable moments that recognize team members for remarkable contributions in the workplace. MyEmployees provides the only 'done for you' employee recognition solution powered by your personal Employee Engagement Expert to ensure you skyrocket your results, inspire your team, and transform your clients into raving fans!