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.