National Employee Appreciation Day- A Complete Guide

National Employee Appreciation Day–A Complete Guide

National Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated to appreciate the workforce at any organization. Every year on the first Friday of March, national employee appreciation day is celebrated in the US and an unofficial holiday is announced. This is a slight gesture to show employees that employers appreciate their contribution to the organization.

Bob Nelson, a board member and founding recognition professional international in collaboration with his publishing company, Workman Publishing, created National Employee Appreciation Day in 1995. The idea behind this was to celebrate a day to recognize and appreciate the work that employees do for an organization.

Appreciation can work like magic as it adds to employee happiness and satisfaction, which can directly affect employee performance. What is the meaning and significance of appreciation? Is it limited to mere certificates? That is what we will try to uncover here.

Why is a day celebrated for employee appreciation?

Everyone loves it when someone praises them. So do employees, and this day is to show employees that their hard work counts and their employers value their dedication. When someone is appreciated, then they feel the connection with the organization and then employers don’t have to bother about performing the employees.

This day aims to bring cheer and happiness to the workforce. Along with the employee performance-boosting, this day also fills the gap in communication between employees and employers. A motivated team can do wonders and heads like HRs, managers, CEOs can take advantage of this. If employees’ efforts are appreciated, then they will remain more satisfied.

The First Friday of March

National Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March, which makes sense in two ways. First, as February is the shortest month, it has small deadlines which mean there’s more workload in that month, and this helps to make the environment lighter from the stress of work.

The second reason could be that, as per the records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, December and March are the months when most employees leave the organization. December is the end of the year, so it can be understood, but since March is the deadline for proving bonuses from last year, employees leave this month too. To decrease the chances of losing talented employees, a celebration and a light environment are created.

The Benefits

Appreciation is a mode of value. Encountering or being reminded of excellence disposes us to feel admiration and awe. And celebrating it together with employees helps the employer to know employees at a personal level.

A message of unity: When all employees and seniors celebrate something together, then employees will feel more welcomed and connected.

A chance of direct engagement with employees-Manager and employee relations can bring 70% variance in employee engagement, accounting, and satisfaction.

Better professional abilities– A joint research published in personality and social psychology journal states, when an employee gets angular gratitude they are more likely to put discretionary efforts, helping their co-workers, and welcoming new employees.

Small gratitude can help in achieving big goals. When employees feel a connection to the work environment, feel safe and respected, they are more proactive, pro-social, and eventually, chances of revenue increment are also high.

To spark motivation within the team– Appreciation and recognition are key factors for motivating employees, and employee appreciation day could be the best day for this.

Celebration of National Employee Appreciation Day

As the work culture has shifted to work from home, the way of celebrating employee appreciation day has also changed. On this day, all employees used to gather and celebrate it, but now situations have changed and that’s why a new way of celebrating national employee appreciation day is needed.

Now, as 1 out of 4 employees work remotely, managing regular contact and communication with employees becomes difficult. But finding innovative ways to celebrate this day isn’t that difficult. Listed below are some ways which can help human resources or managers to celebrate employee appreciation day with their employees:

Hosting a happy hour-virtually happy hours can be hosted where employees and employers can meet and greet virtually, making their bonds stronger.

Gift packages: You, as an employer, might not reach all your employees. Your token of love can reach them. The care packages may have candies, some goodies, and that extra touch from your company.

Special recognition: If employees get awards for their efforts, then it is also a good way of recognition.

Messages: video or audio messages provide a human touch, so instead of emails, try video or audio messaging with your employees and see if you can increase their unsaid devotion.

Phone calls: Calls are neglected even though we know their impact on relationships. Personal calls to any employee can affect positively their company’s relationships and dedication.

Message ideas for National Employee Appreciation Day

While you are filled with gratitude from inside but can’t put your emotions in words, then your message won’t get delivered to the employees. Here are a few tips for you to add to your gratitude message towards your employees.

Describing the reason-When you tell them the reason behind your appreciation, employees realize their impact on the organization.

Cite their positive work-By acknowledging an employee’s contributions, you increase their happiness and gratification.

Sprinkle the words of appreciation: Add a few lines to appreciate their work for the organization. You can also add a personal message to them.

Tonality-Balance your message’s tone between friendly and formal, being too personal is not a good option.

Personalization –Personalization is that extra spice that makes your appreciation dish complete. To add that personalized feel to the message, you can gift your employees a pen with their names marked on it. Small gifts can leave big impressions.

Quotes for the Day

You can also use the following quotes while addressing your employees to build better connections and motivate them on National Employee Appreciation Day:

  • Good employees have the power to influence and inspire, and thanks for being my inspiration.
  • The efforts you put in for the growth of the company are commendable. May you all be able to maintain consistency.

It’s your vision that made our plans succeed, and we appreciate it to the moon and back.

  • I must be a lucky boss if I get employees like you.
  • While you were staying late to complete your work, I was there observing your dedication. Thanks for your extra efforts.
  • For a good company culture, the hard work of employees like you is like fuel and I lack words to thank you for that.

Sometimes your recognition misses the mark 

Let me simplify it, managers rely on just prizes, parties, and awards for appreciation, but the employees’ awards are the vehicle for delivering recognition and not recognition. Employees are more interested in the meaning behind the employer’s offerings. When you always send gift cards and goodies, it looks like a mere ritual rather than any meaningful recognition.

The following examples can help us better understand why is that so?

Perks and recognition are different. For example, if a director organizes a dinner party for all employees, then it is a perk, while if he or she thanks their employees for achieving anything for their organization, then it will be recognized.

Is providing bonuses enough?-Situations are different when a manager announces that he will provide bonuses to his employees, and in another case, he/she announces that these bonuses are because of the increment in company revenue because of the employees’ dedication.

The problem is not that employers don’t understand the value of appreciation, but that they misunderstand it to be limited to gifts, parties, and perks.

For that, we can decide what is true recognition and appreciation in this article.

Recognition that works doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be just a thank-you message. For employees, slight gestures mean a lot. A meaningful and memorable recognition works the best.

Let us take a case where one employee who feels no senior authority knows him/her at the organization is being gifted a thank-you card. If no one identifies that individual, then this gesture looks like a duty. But if any senior tries to get to know the smaller employees working at their organization and what their feelings about the environment are, then this gesture seems meaningful.

How recognition that you are offering can work

Let us look at the elements that work for recognition. These are thanks, praise, opportunity, and respect.


It may not appear like a way of appreciation, but it can help. As a supervisor, you can give them more freedom and control over their role, or you can offer them a new opportunity where they can contribute in a more meaningful way, or you can ask for their opinions on any project and you will see more dedication in them than before.


Employees want their supervisors to see that they are making progress. Here are a few ways which can work for appreciation;

  • A clear and concise message of appreciation.
  • What you make is proportional to the accomplishment, and don’t overdo it.
  • Don’t time it whenever you see the progress. Appreciate it right away.
  • Presenting a certificate of accomplishment elaborating on their accomplishment.
  • Describe the employee’s accomplishments in a company meeting or gathering.


Employees value a sincere thank you. Employees need to be thanked as they are working hard and your thank-you message for their hard work can bring a significant change in their attitude towards managers who show their gratitude.

Remember that the expression of gratitude is the simplest form of recognition. A clear, concise, and accurate thank-you message describing why they are being thanked will just be sufficient.


Respect is often overlooked. Employees feel half appreciated if they aren’t valued properly. Employees want to be valued because they are employees, not because they contributed something.

Statistics that can help you make a better decision.

As an HR or manager, you may want to know the impact that your organization’s recognition program is making the impact that you want to convey, or it lacks something or how should you plan for the appreciation program. So let’s look at the below statistics that may help you decide better.

About employee engagement

Harvard’s business review says that on asking individuals about employee engagement, three quarters (approximately 72%) of them believe that recognition can boost employee engagement positively.

About employee performance

Gartner says that a well-designed appreciation and recognition program can bring an increment of 11.1% in annual average turnover.

Reports by Gallup believe that if the number of employees being recognized every week is doubled, then there is a chance it can bring a 24% increase in work quality; and a 27% decrease in employee absenteeism.

Effect of recognition on company values

52% of employees believe that their recognition programs lack organizational values, as reported by Bonusly. As far as we are progressing through this article, it is becoming clear that gifts are just a way of recognition. And in this case, statistics can back up this claim.

If recognition just involves gifts and awards, while there’s no emphasis on company values, it looks more shallow. Only by overcoming this criticism will any organization be able to increase employee engagement.

Recognition can lower frustration

Offering gratitude releases oxytocin (the love hormone). Recognition can lower frustration by 28.6%, as reported by Globoforce. And when they are under lower pressure, they will be able to perform better.


National Employee Appreciation Day is a day marked to celebrate and cheer employee contributions in any organization. It should be celebrated in a way that its true aim is fulfilled instead of just a duty.

By appreciation and recognition, we acknowledge the efforts that employees put into an organization’s growth. And HRs, managers, or directors appreciate employees by providing them with many gifts, bonuses, thank you messages, etc. While sometimes their tokens fail to deliver the message that they want to convey.

It is simply because if someone similarly celebrates a day every year, then it becomes just a custom.

Certainly, an employer wants to appreciate his/her team so that they feel happy and satisfied with their role, but they unconsciously miss the true essence of recognition. The principal thing to remember is that it is better to appreciate employees with a more personal touch (if possible). And adding these four elements of recognition (respect, opportunity, thanks, and praise) can always help you simplify the entire process.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q.1: When did the National Employee Appreciation Day celebration start first?

In 1995, the national employee appreciation day celebration started.

Q.2: I am considering announcing a bonus to my employees on this National Employee Appreciation Day. What is the best way?

You can consider saying “this bonus is my gift as our revenues increase through your dedicated contribution” while you announce the bonus. They will be happier with your message than with the bonus.

Q.3: When is the next national employee appreciation day coming?

We celebrate Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday of March. And in 2022, it will fall on March 4th, 2022.

Q.4: How is National Employee Appreciation Day celebrated?

There are many ways of celebrating this day. We may consider partying, gifting the employees some goodies, a thank-you card, or a small get-to-gather where each authority is present.

National Employee Appreciation Day- A Complete Guide

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