July 26, 2019

8 Inexpensive Ways to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

In most workplaces, employees often feel overlooked. They work hard every day, but how often do their milestones and achievements get noticed by supervisors and coworkers alike? Employee Appreciation Day might be an unofficial holiday, but it’s still an important one worth noticing.

Employee Appreciation Day is observed on the first Friday in March every year, and it’s a chance for organizations of all sizes to thank their employees for the work they’re doing. Employee Appreciation Day was first created in 1995 as a way to recognize employees at Workman Publishing, but it hass since spread throughout the United States.

While we can all agree Employee Appreciation Day should be celebrated more than once a year, it’s important to take this chance to remind your employees just how much you value their hard work. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank or tap into a large budget to do just that. Create a special bond with your employees by celebrating their success on this special day.

Here are 8 inexpensive ways to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day.

1. Call Out Accomplishments

The first idea is also the simplest. On Employee Appreciation Day, why not call out accomplishments both big and small. In most workplaces, there isn’t time to focus on individual accomplishments as they come and go. Take this as an opportunity to highlight those achievements whether you hold a meeting, write them somewhere in the office, or simply send a company-wide email.

2. Company Lunch

Nothing speaks louder than free food. Taking your employees out to lunch or bringing in a catering crew is a relatively affordable way to show that you care. Treating your employees, even in a small way like this, shows you see them as more than just a cog in the wheel.

3. Volunteer Together

Why not give back while you’re at it? Volunteering is an effective way to boost employee morale, and 70% of Americans prefer this even to company-sponsored happy hours. Talk to your employees to find out where they’d like to give back, and then make it happen.

Take an entire day or just a few hours and do something good for your community. Volunteering at a local conservation program, senior living community, humane society, or shelter is a great way to build teamwork skills, learn more about your employees, and just do something kind for others.

4. Company Gifts

Free things are always a perk, and your employees will appreciate you taking the time to give them a little something. If you have company products like branded clothing, coffee mugs, gift cards, etc, these go a long way. Ask your employees what type of swag they’re interested in and make sure they feel appreciated. Plus, this encourages brand awareness!

5. Field Trip

Field trips aren’t just for kids in school. Think of how excited you’d be to go to on a school-sponsored field trip. Harness this same excitement for your employees by organizing a trip somewhere locally. Going to a local garden, park, brewery, factory, museum, or other sight is a great way to spark new ideas.

This is a memorable event everyone can enjoy, plus it’s a great escape from the stress of work. Who knows? You might think of something amazing when you’re unplugged from the office.

6. Team-Building Workshops

While team-building workshops get a bad reputation, they’re not all bad. Research suggests that those who have creative outlets outside of work actually perform better on the job.

Bringing in a chef for some cooking classes, an artist for painting classes or any other type of workshop is an easy way to get those creative juices flowing. If you can, offer a variety of activities so everyone can choose what they want.

7. Happy Hour

Sometimes you have to fall back on an old classic. Happy hour is almost always a welcome activity. Make it extra special by cutting the day of work early and have some fun in a relaxed atmosphere. This gives employees a chance to de-stress and learn more about each other without any formal structure.

It doesn’t get more casual than happy hour. Just make sure you have some limitations in place so everyone stays safe and there are options for those who choose not to drink. Cheers!

8. Pizza Party

Pizza parties sound like something that belongs in a school classroom, but they’re always a favorite. No matter how old you are, you’ve got to love pizza. Bringing in enough pizza for the whole team is a fun way to show you care. Just be sure you take allergies and preferences into account.

Appreciate Your Employees Every Day

While you should appreciate your employees every day, these ideas will help you celebrate Employee Appreciation Day on a budget. It’s time to do a little something special for those workers who get the job done time and time again.

Not sure which of these activities you should go for? Ask your employees! See what sounds like the most fun to them and then check with your budget. You’ll be celebrating achievements in no time. Taking advantage of Employee Appreciation Day helps you build trust, connections, and the foundation for success.

Rani Joseph

Senior Manager - Marketing at Xoxoday. Apart from writing blogs and articles, she loves researching and reading.