Does Employee Appreciation Day Matter?

What if your company doesn’t celebrate this one day? No party. No banner that says, “We Value YOU!” No special gift waiting on your desk when you arrive. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with celebrating Employee Appreciation Day — but what happens if your manager forgot or is stingy with appreciation? Do you call Human Resources to complain?

YOUAreEmployeeoftheMomentWHAT IF, instead, you started your own APPRECIATION MOVEMENT within your sphere of influence? Recognizers are leaders. Be a difference maker and role model gratitude. Jim Carrey, the comedian, once said, “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” Here are some ideas to get you started…

Appreciation starts with awareness: Be aware of the things people do well. What are the qualities you admire in your coworkers? Recognition is simply noticing “out loud” with a positive comment, a handwritten note or a Certificate of Appreciation.

Practice common courtesy and acknowledgment: Greet people, say “Good morning,” make eye contact, smile, use their name. It sends the message that I’m glad you’re here. Positive interactions produce oxytocin and boost our immune systems for the person giving, receiving and witnessing it.

Ask: Ask people how they like to be recognized. Some love to be recognized in public. Others prefer their thanks in private. Get to know people and learn about their hobbies, interests, favorite snack or drink. Individualize your approach.

Give ’em a Hand: Create your own “Pause for Applause” Board. Have everyone trace their hand on a piece of paper and write their name on it. Ask others to write something on the hand that they admire about that person: a positive quality, characteristic or skill. Everyone can read the positive comments and give themselves a pat on the back.

Write Thank You Notes: Handwritten thank you notes are one of the most powerful, yet underutilized communication tools to convey your appreciation. Make it a habit to write at least one thank you note a week: Pick a day you’ll remember like Thankful Thursday or Fan Mail Friday.

Tell Stories About Great Work: Find out if there is a space on the company website or start a newsletter to feature “Employee of the Moment” for the person who went above and beyond for a coworker or client. It could be visible for customers to see — people love to do business with companies that treat their employees well.

That being said, I also support the notion that “People join companies, but they leave managers.” They can make or break the deal. They set the tone and it can have positive or negative ripple effect on the team.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own morale. We can choose an attitude of gratitude or sit back and wait for the recognition to happen. What we appreciate, appreciates. It’s a shift in thinking from employee of the year or month to Employee of the Moment. It’s up to you. 

Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Workshops, and Thankology™ Toolkits. She can be reached at or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.

Culture: Take Your Values Off the Wall

Workplace culture. Everyone’s talking about it. There are 1,001 ways to define it. What does your culture say about your company? More importantly, what do employees say about your company’s culture?

Culture constitutes the beliefs, expectations and values shared by employees and transferred from one to another. Some say it’s what employees do when no one is looking!

A Harvard Business School study reported that culture has a significant impact on an organization’s long-term economic performance. The study examined the management practices at 160 organizations over ten years and found that culture can enhance performance or prove detrimental to performance. In the books Good to Great and Tribal Leadership, they look at what separates GREAT companies from good ones. The most important ingredient they found? A strong company culture.

According to Kristin Graham, VP of Engagement and Communications at Expedia, who gave an inspiring presentation at a recent NHRMA Conference, “Company culture isn’t a poster. It’s a living, breathing organism that reinforces your core values.” In fact, the right company culture can:

  • Enhance customer experience: Zappos
  • Drive innovation: Google
  • Instill a sense of employee pride, camaraderie and enthusiasm: Umpqua Bank
  • Improve company’s performance/Be a competitive differentiator: SW Airlines uses culture as a way to attract and retain talent ? It’s also part of their employee value proposition.

ZapposZappos is renowned for its culture. Tony Hseih, CEO and author of DELIVERING Happiness, suggests that what matters most is that a company defines its core values and that you commit to them. Hseih reports that “50% of our performance reviews at Zappos measure how employees are furthering the company’s culture.” Zappos’ culture, which is all about customer service, is the responsibility of everyone in the company, not just one department, like Human Resources.

Is your culture company driven or employee driven? Graham suggests it needs to be both. She believes culture has three elements include: 1) Company 2) Leaders and 3) Employees. “Leaders can’t maintain it on their own, but they can kill it.”

“Culture ultimate belongs to employees — they are the ones who create and sustain it daily,” Graham suggests.

That being said, what tools can we give leaders and employees to take the values off the wall and bring them to life? Recognition is a powerful communication tool to let employees know what’s important to the organization. It’s about putting your values in action. It’s less about formal awards and more about celebrating Employees of the Moment!

A recent Deloitte study shows two out of three employees are currently looking for another job. What is your organization doing to build a culture of appreciation and engagement? What is it costing you not to do it?

Get your THANK ON™! Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Lunch-n-Learns, and Thankology™ Toolkits and more. She can be reached at or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.