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A person doesn’t have to spend a lot of time in the business world before conversations are overheard discussing what is the most important part of a business. Of course, an argument could be made that, especially when first starting out, the most important part of a business is the customers. After all, they’re the ones that patronize the business, access services and products, and ultimately ensure the ability to turn a profit at the end of the day. 

Once a company has grown past a certain point, however, customers begin to have a strong contender for that title of “most important”: the employees. 

When a company owner is in the place of hiring employees to manage the extra business that can no longer be handled alone, it’s also now time to make a shift and also recognize the vital importance of employees!  

Employee Appreciation Day was established for one reason: without employees, there’s no one to service customers, which means they don’t get what they want or need, and they won’t continue patronizing the business. 

Employees are what makes businesses able to keep their doors open. So, Employee Appreciation Day is an easy way to make sure this is understood by everyone, especially the employees. 

History of Employee Appreciation Day

First appearing in 1995, Employee Appreciation Day began, perhaps, as a response to Boss’s Day, where the employees were reminded of the importance of respecting and appreciating all that their bosses have done for them. While Boss’s Day was created in 1958, it took almost 40 years for the favor to be officially returned through the creation of a day to appreciate employees of all sorts.

At some point, the idea began to surface that it would be nice to encourage recognition of both sides of this very important business equation. It is often too easy to forget that employees are some of the most important assets a company can possess. Therefore, Employee Appreciation Day was introduced to make sure this is not forgotten. 

In the mid 1990s, the discussion surfaced from a founding board member of Recognition Professionals International, Bob Nelson, who worked with his publishing company (Workman Publishing) to create the day. 

Bob Nelson didn’t want employers to underestimate all the things their employees do for them. Often their value goes beyond just the scope of their jobs, but above and beyond to keep a business running smoothly! 

It doesn’t matter whether the employees are part of a manufacturing facility, a warehouse, answering the phone all day, or handling billing and customer complaints, a business could not operate without them.

There’s an old saying “An office can operate without a boss for a day, but not without a receptionist”, and that certainly stands as a clear reminder of all that employees do, and just how important they can be to every business.

So, it’s time to celebrate the employees! 

How to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is simple, and it’s right there in the name! Simply let employees know they are appreciated. 

Bosses can implement ideas to encourage their employees. Maybe taking a small staff out to lunch to get to know them better. Possibly scheduling a day where, rather than coming in and spending the day hard at work, employees can sit down and get to know their management in a more personal manner. 

Consider these other creative ways to make sure employees feel appreciated on this day: 

Host Employee Happy Hour 

If staff camaraderie could use a boost, consider taking the group out for drinks after work. They might appreciate a little time spent together and a few drinks or appetizers paid for by the company won’t hurt morale either! (Be sure to provide non-alcohol alternatives for those who don’t drink, so they can still participate.) 

If it’s impossible to get everyone out after work, consider hosting a coffee bar with bagels, donuts or fruit for breakfast on the day as a special treat. 

Swag Bags

For bosses who have a bit of a budget to spend on this day, Swag Bags are a great way to make employees feel special. Fill them with goodies such as sweet treats, snacks, company-logo merch (water bottles are popular) and gift cards to restaurants or local shops. If swag bags seem difficult, a simple bouquet of flowers is a classic option. 

Spend the Day Away

Employees love to get paid for having fun! Consider a field trip away from the office. Take the group on an outing to the zoo, a museum, a tour of a brewery or something else they might enjoy. Spending the time as a team, even when not at work, can go far toward building synergistic relationships and healthy dynamics. 

Send Employees Home Early

Many offices are able to take this opportunity to let their staff go home early, but get paid for the full day. Who wouldn’t enjoy an extra few hours off in the afternoon to use as they wish?! It’s an easy way to show appreciation that doesn’t require a great deal of planning ahead. 

Simply Do Something Nice

Depending on budgets, recognition of employees on this day could just be a card on their desk or a display of appreciation in the form of an email sent out through the company system. Whatever is chosen, make sure to remind these vital parts of your business just how important they are, personally and to the company. This type of employee recognition and appreciation is sure to improve morale–and that tends to improve performance as well. Plus, it’s an ideal opportunity to be kind and generous, which makes the world a much better place for everyone–bosses and employees alike!

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