by Derek Irvine
Today is officially “Employee Appreciation Day” – a day that frustrates me somewhat. The intent of the day is good and valid – remind managers to recognize and appreciate those on their teams. And yet, it more often highlights the sad fact that all too often recognition and appreciation is reserved for a special “day” or event.
This might not be “Employee Appreciation Day” in your organization. It’s more likely it’s the annual bonus event. When such events are structured, it gives managers an excuse to hold off on recognition until the prescribed date. Worse yet, such an approach reinforces the false notion that it is the responsibility of the manager alone to express appreciation and give praise.
Every employee in your organization owns the culture of the company. How they choose to behave and interact with each other and with customers every day dictates the culture and the daily employee experience. You have a choice if that is a passive culture or an intentional one directed towards proactive, positive praise from all employees to all employees. What’s a better approach? Consider this advice from Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley, shared in Inc. magazine:
“Companies should look at Employee Appreciation Day like it’s Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s or Father’s Day. The sentiments we share and the way we make others feel on those days is how we should act every day. In the same way, Employee Appreciation Day is a reminder of how companies should treat their employees all year long. The energy and happier-than-usual mood that bringing in breakfast or hosting an awards ceremony creates in an office will certainly be palpable, yet this can be done throughout the year. If Employee Appreciation Day is the only day companies recognize or appreciate their employees’ achievements, then they’re missing a big opportunity to engage and keep them happy.”
Think what kind of impact you might have if you were to gather your team together (or just chat with those in your local workgroup) and say, “Today is Employee Appreciation Day. Because I want to commit to you to do a better job of noticing and appreciating in a timely way the great work you do throughout the year, I’m not going to appreciate you today in a casual, ‘Hey, thanks!’ kind of way. Instead, I’m going to commit to telling you specifically, frequently and sincerely how you and your efforts, ideas and contributions have helped, inspired or excited me.”
That’s an entirely different scenario. Take today as an opportunity to change your habits around recognition going forward for years to come.
Who can you appreciate more sincerely, more specifically, more authentically?