If You Don’t Know It’s Employee Appreciation Day, Your People Sure Do

Did you know it’s National Employee Appreciation Day?

Celebrated on the first Friday of March (fitting that it’s a Friday, right? #TGIF), the annual observance was coined in 1995 by Recognition Professionals International. The idea was to create a day when leaders can truly thank their staff for their hard work. After a tough year for every workforce, we’re betting a little appreciation could go a long way for employees in 2021.

Sadly, some leaders didn’t get the memo. We’re looking at you, Goldman Sachs’ CEO David Solomon. Recently, Solomon spoke at a Credit Suisse event and stated that working remotely was “not a new normal” for the company. In fact, it’s an “aberration that we’re going to correct as quickly as possible,” he added. Does Solomon realize that nearly 43% of full-time American employees say they want to work remotely more often even after the economy has reopened, according to a getAbstract survey? It’s a shame he doesn’t get that his employees – and even his paying clients – may in fact appreciate the flexibility of working from home.

All that aside, 2021’s edition of Employee Appreciation Day is certainly unique. Now more than ever we should be focusing on employee engagement, starting with listening and learning from our employees as we continue through this new way of life. Is Zoom fatigue at an all-time high? What’s the best working style for them? What schedule is most conducive to their home life? Should your goal be to head back to the office, even for a few days per week? CEOs and senior leaders should be more visible than ever, fostering transparent communications with employees every step of the way.

Productivity is no longer the most important item on the agenda; mental health and wellbeing rank right up there. Peppercomm’s own Ann Barlow and Courtney Ellul recently wrote about how you can create an employer value proposition that emphasizes wellbeing. For leaders, there’s no better way to be productive than to connect with employees on an emotional level and ask how they are doing.

So, today of all days, we encourage you to shoutout your employees, send them a token of gratitude and simply ask “What do you need?