Managers should take the time to recognize all employees on a regular basis, experts say -- focusing on behaviors they want to reinforce -- rather than singling out certain individuals or groups at scheduled times.
“Ideally, employees should be valued all year round, especially when they have performed well, but the first step is raising awareness about the importance of recognition on the part of every manager. … Employee Appreciation Day has helped serve that purpose,” explained Bob Nelson, Ph.D., president of Nelson Motivation Inc. and author of "1501 Ways to Reward Employees" (Workman Publishing, 2012) and other best-selling titles.
Nelson, who created Employee Appreciation Day -- celebrated the first Friday in March -- with the first edition of his book, "1001 Ways to Reward Employees" (Workman Publishing, 1994), said the event remains popular. However, the real goal, he noted, “is to make recognition a part of ongoing practices at work, not to just generically thank everyone one day out of the year.”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. The kind of recognition most employers extend occurs too infrequently and “does not speak to the needs, expectations and motivations of today’s workforce,” Nelson said.
When HR professionals were asked on the SHRM Connect site how -- and how often -- their organizations express appreciation for employees, they shared a variety of practices.