3 Reasons Why Employee Appreciation Day Irritates Me

Recognize This! – Employee appreciation should happen every day.

Today is Employee Appreciation Day. This irritates me. The fact of my irritation may surprise regular readers who know that employee appreciation and recognition are very important to me. There are three simple reasons why Employee Appreciation Day irritates me:

1)  It reinforces bad employee recognition practices

There are already enough poor practice employee appreciation programs in place in companies today – Employee of the Month, Perfect Attendance, and the like. We don’t need another one added to the mix.

2)  It lets people off the hook for timely, frequent, meaningful recognition.

Just as average and poor managers use the excuse of the annual performance review as a reason to only give employees feedback and set goals once a year, so too do they use Employee Appreciation Day as an excuse to give all employees usually generic, impersonal recognition just once a year.

3)  It devalues the greater importance and ability of recognition to change company cultures.

Strategic, social recognition – frequent, timely, based on your core values – has the power to not only change your company culture into one of appreciation, but also give you the ability to proactively manage your culture going forward. That’s simply not possible when we think of appreciation as something we do once a year in early Spring.

We can do better than that. We must do better than that. What can you do instead?

  • Use Employee Appreciation Day as a reminder about the importance of recognition.
  • Use Employee Appreciation Day as a day to kick-off a more strategic, far-reaching employee recognition and reward approach.
  • Use Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to commit to your team members and peers that you will make a greater effort to notice and appreciate the good work they do every day.

Do you or does your organization have plans for Employee Appreciation Day?

Derek Irvine

About Derek Irvine

The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.

2 Responses

  1. bob says:


    So does mother’s day devaluate mothers? Listen nobody is saying that you only should recognize your employees once a year, just like nobody is saying we should ignore our loved ones except for valentines day.

    There are days to celebrate just about everything on the planet, so what exactly is wrong with having a day called “Employee Appeciation Day”?

    Talk about a knee jerk reaction to something.

    • Derek Irvine Derek Irvine says:

      Thanks for the comment, Bob. I encourage you read my blog more regularly for my full take on employee recognition and appreciation. You will understand that I very thoughtfully consider everything I post here. Yes, there is nothing inherently wrong with Employee Appreciation Day, but the fact remains many do use it as an excuse to abdicate recognition on any other day. The organizations and leaders I regularly speak with affirm this.

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