Beyond Employee Appreciation Day: Tactics for year-round gratitude

By: Tim Schieffer
happy employees shaking hands

If you thought the holiday season was behind you, guess again! Employee Appreciation Day is observed during the first week of March (mark your calendars for March 1st in 2024!), and there are several important reasons you should take note:

  1. Even though it’s an annual holiday, it’s important to celebrate employees all year. Lack of employee appreciation is one of the leading causes of employee turnover, and high performers are the most likely to resent a lack of both formal and informal recognition.
  2. The best employee appreciation ideas go beyond standby tactics like sweet treats or virtual happy hours. When in doubt, think like an employee. What was the most meaningful form of recognition you’ve received? Could you scale it? 
  3. One-off appreciation ideas and work rewards never hurt, but ongoing appreciation efforts that tie back to the organization culture create a much bigger impact—like increasing employee satisfaction. 

What matters is the authenticity and consistency in how you show employee appreciation—and how you seek to learn what truly matters to them. Credibility, respect and fairness are also essential elements to building a high-trust workplace culture. Employees want to feel they’ve made a positive contribution to the work they’re doing and understand how their work fits into the organization’s mission. If employees don’t accept your efforts as being authentic—or believe in the intention behind your recognition and rewards—employee engagement won’t improve.

Have we convinced you to celebrate, yet? Check out these five meaningful and memorable recognition ideas to support your organizational culture. 

1. Employee Recognition Programs

Design a recognition program that encourages employee engagement while benefitting the organization’s investment.

employee appreciation program communications

2. Virtual Events 

Care for both in-person and virtual audiences while planning an employee engagement event.

website for employee appreciation virtual event

3. Employee Recognition Platforms

Infuse strategic recognition and reward ideas through a streamlined web platform to align and unite employees. To create a year-round approach, consider tying your recognition ideas to fun dates.

employee recognition platform on laptop

4. Milestone Recognition

Recognize employees with milestone celebrations and years of service awards at high-impact moments that also align with your brand and support the company culture. 

employee recognition milestone anniversary cards

5. Employee Motivation Ideas

Download our ebook for 50+ ways to motivate your employees for measurable results. 

50 Ways to Motivate Your Employees Ebook

Whether you’re in the planning stages or just learned about Employee Appreciation Day, we hope this insight has been helpful—now and in the future. 

At ITA Group, we practice ongoing employee engagement, so we understand the position leaders are in when choosing when and how to reward their teams. There’s not one way to do it right, but at the end of the day, both leadership and employees should feel good about the efforts being made to appreciate the organization’s most important asset: its people.

In the meantime, check out our Employee Recognition Ideas That Actually Help Retain Your Team Members. Good luck!

Tim Schieffer
Tim Schieffer

Tim is the Employee Experience Insights and Strategy Leader for ITA Group. With 20+ years of experience serving clients in multiple industries, including e-commerce, communications and finance, he offers a unique perspective on how to attract and retain top talent. His passion for delivering personalized employee engagement strategies helps create cultures centered on empowering people. Outside of work, you'll find him cheering on the Green Bay Packers as a proud part-owner. Go Pack Go!