Knowledge Leader

Why Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is Good for your Business


Aurora Paulozzo
by Aurora Paulozzo
Marketing Manager

Why employee appreciation day matters for your business

If you’re not convinced that showing appreciation for employees can really impact your organizations productivity, think again. Research shows that the number one reason why 78% of people leave their jobs is lack of appreciation. In addition, 37% of people say appreciation is the number one motivator to do great work (Sturt and Nordstrom, 2016). A study conducted by Bersin & Associates on modern recognition programs revealed that companies who scored in the top 20% for building a “recognition-rich culture” had 31% lower voluntary turnover rates (Llopis, 2012).

But shouldn’t employees be appreciative that their organization has employed them in the first place? Well yes, they should. The reality is employees have no incentive to be loyal, innovative or even motivated to work hard for an organization. This is especially true if they feel undervalued, unappreciated and unrecognized. In a world where people are fighting to stay relevant, it’s no wonder that a huge factor driving productivity is recognition. In fact, “employees who receive recognition tend to have higher self-esteem, more confidence, more willingness to take on new challenges and more eagerness to be innovative” (Mason, 2001). That’s why, now more than ever employers should be celebrating some form of “employee appreciation day”.

Creating a “recognition rich” culture year-round

One of the best ways I’ve heard employee appreciation explained is through equating it to Valentine’s Day. We’ve all learned from a young age that Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love and gratefulness in our relationships. If you accidentally forget Valentine’s Day or decide to avoid falling into the deep dark hole of wasteful spending that the Hallmark Card industry has created, it’s not the end of the world. However, you will probably disappoint your sweetheart. On the contrary, if you go above and beyond to profess your love for your sweetie just one day per year, your love for them may come into question.

Now apply that analogy to how you treat your employees. A leadership team may genuinely appreciate their employees year round. When appreciation is not explicitly communicated or expressed, it goes unnoticed. In the same sense, if you only acknowledge the efforts, talent, and results of your employees one day per year, odds are employee morale is low and turnover rates are high.

It’s never too late to start

The good news is that there are several organizations who recognize the importance of creating a “recognition rich culture”. These companies create a reasonable balance between employee contributions to the organization and an organization’s contributions to employees. Companies like @REI, @Google, @Zappos, @Twitter, @Facebook, and @Southwest Airlines are at the top of the leader’s board. If you’re looking for what you should be doing, just take a look at them.

Job seekers today prioritize finding a good fit culturally as much as they do professionally. As such, it’s hard to ignore the importance of keeping your employees happy. When adding technology and connectivity into the mix via social channels and the internet there’s an added layer of visibility. Candidates have access to more information than ever before when examining whether or not they want to work for your organization. Remember: employees are a company’s greatest asset.