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How to Host a Successful Employee Appreciation Day

Every year, Employee Appreciation Day takes place to remind company leaders of the importance of recognizing their hardworking staff. Ensure that you're taking advantage of the day to boost morale and show your employees that you've taken note of their dedication, contributions and progress.

Even the best of the best agree that appreciating employees is crucial to a strong work ethic: A 2013 survey by the Aberdeen Group found that 60 percent of Best-In-Class organizations thought employee recognition to be one of the most important drivers for successful individual work performance.

Employees find recognition to be a great source of motivation as well. For many, it even serves as one of the primary reasons for staying with their employers. A survey by Gallup found that the No. 1 reason Americans leave their jobs is because they don't feel appreciated. In fact, the largest concern among human resources departments in 2015 was employee satisfaction and engagement, as many companies continued to fight high turnover rates, according to a survey of 3,300 worldwide organizations by consulting firm Deloitte.

Steps to Pulling Off A Successful Employee Appreciation Day

If you're looking for strategies to recognize your staff, offering a catered luncheon for employees is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to keep your team happy and reward them for a job well done. A company lunch encourages socialization and bonding among staff while enabling business leaders to thank individual team members and the company as a whole at a single event.

1. Set aside money in your budget

When you plan your company budget at the start of every year, set aside money for employee recognition expenditures. You won't want to have to sacrifice these costs because you don't have the funds due to poor planning—without employee recognition, your company is at risk of seeing a loss in engagement and productivity. Give staff a reason other than a paycheck to work hard. Have money ready to invest in events like employee lunches.

2. Send out sufficient notice

In an email or company announcement, inform staff that they will be receiving a free lunch in celebration of Employee Appreciation Day, including the date and time of the event. This will allow them to plan ahead, whether it means leaving that hour open or planning to come into the office that day if you allow work from home privileges.

3. Leverage vendor loyalty

A lot of companies have a local restaurant that they turn to for lunch meetings and company events. It often pays off to use the same establishment for catered functions, as many restaurants offer discounts for loyal customers. You can also rest assured that the food is high quality and the service is reliable.

4. Choose a menu for everyone

Consider all types of diets and food preferences as you submit your order entry. Send out an email a few days before the event and ask if anyone has any food allergies. Have a vegetarian dish available so everyone's happy.

Incorporate an Awards Ceremony

In your invitation, note that you will be recognizing workers who have showed exceptional progress and work ethic. Even naming a few people in particular can make attending the event more enticing, encouraging the winners' colleagues to show up for support. Make each reward personal with a gift. For example, consider rewarding a standout employee who's known for his collaboration skills with a framed desktop print that celebrates teamwork and reflects on his contributions to the company. Or, show your most energetic and enthusiastic staff member your thanks for his positive attitude with a coffee mug that celebrates his one-of-a-kind mentality. An engraved trophy is another classic and meaningful gift that will last a lifetime.

While giving special gifts to your most valuable employees is important, providing small tokens of thanks to everyone on your team can also go a long way. In fact, offering employee rewards can reduce turnover rates, according to statistics from digital strategy company Reload Media. Practical items your staff can use at work, such as a mousepad or highlighter set, won't only show your appreciation, but serve as a daily reminder that their had work is recognized.

How to Deliver a Motivational Speech to Your Team

As a leader of your business, thanking and motivating employees personally through a quick speech at your company lunch can benefit morale. To make sure you're delivering an inspiring speech that's going to keep your team moving through even the biggest of challenges, make sure you cover these bases.

Lay out specific points ahead of time Chances are, you have a few specific points you want to get across during your speech. These may include providing a brief summary of the company's goals and noting certain benchmarks your team has met and how they've helped the business. Highlight these beforehand so you don't end up forgetting to mention something important. This will also help keep your speech short and sweet.

Emphasize success through real stories

A 2015 survey by Gallup showed that employees are 59 percent more likely to be engaged with their work when their leaders are. A passionate, engaged leader will take note of both individual successes and those made by the company as a whole. Show your enthusiasm and engagement by mentioning two or three specific stories where your team excelled and individual achievements were made by staff members. This will make it known that you recognize your business wouldn't be where it is without this commitment from its employees and that good work never goes unnoticed.

Make goals personal and specific

Talking about the potential you see in your company is a key point to make in your speech. However, it's not going to hit home for your audience unless you make it personal. Explain that you're excited about how specific products or projects are going to drive the company's success and how. Emphasizing your confidence will also show your staff the trust and faith you have in them. Explain that you have high expectations because you know you have a team that's talented enough to not only meet, but exceed them.

Show your team you love leading them

According to a 2015 survey by human resources consulting firm Mercer, only 53 percent of the 1,520 employees surveyed believed they would be at the same company in a year, not because they didn't like the job itself — 28 percent said they had considered applying for a similar role with a competitor — but because of poor leadership.

You're the one your employees are looking to for direction and motivation. After you've expressed clear goals for your team and recognized key players in the company's success, it helps to note how proud you are of your staff as a whole, the confidence you have in them and their abilities, and how excited you are to continue leading them.

How to do Employee Rewards Whitepaper 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better recognized.

Customer Favorite Employee Gifts

Updated Friday 05-26-2017
Service Waterfall Framed Desktop Print
Rating: | Reviewer: Spearhead 6 of Chicago, IL

Service Waterfall Framed Desktop Print

Great Quality
I recently gave these to my service team and it was a great way to bring that team together. They all proudly display the art on their desks.

Motivational Rubik's Cube
Rating: rating | Reviewer: Dina, Head Cheese at a Creative Company of Northeastern PA

Motivational Rubik's Cube

A Really Cool Client Gift
This product is unique and a great client gift. I always like to give motivational yet standout gifts to my clients. This is definitely a stand out product and fun, too! Gives a new twist on the ordinary stress ball...I think it is a great brain exercise tool to keep on your desk and also a great conversation piece. I also loved the graphics and words of inspiration. Only thing that I didn't like is that it is a bit too small, especially for the price.

Thank You Sunrise Framed Award
Rating: | Reviewer: Erica of Central New York

Thank You Sunrise Framed Award

Beautiful Plaque
We have purchased three of these for retiring Board members and they really are a piece of art. Beautifullly constructed and definitely something they will keep.

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