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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Lisa Green 

Thursday, March 02, 2017 11:12 am

Plenty of ways to show employee appreciation Friday

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

On Friday, you might feel just a little more special at work.

Yes, you may already know you add value to your workplace. But tomorrow, employers are encouraged to let you know they recognize that.

Friday is Employee Appreciation Day, according to Recognition Professionals International, an organization that promotes the day, offers webinars and suggestions to improve work environments.

Commonly known as "Recognition Day," the annual observance should be a way to "kick-start a year-round culture of appreciation," Kathie Pugaczewski, the organization's executive director, said in a news release. 

Recognition efforts range in scope from simple events like a root beer float bar at work all the way to elaborate incentives such as travel and monetary rewards.

"Successful companies like Disney, Southwest Airlines, the Cleveland Clinic and others routinely partake in these efforts, and the results are clear to see," the release said.

Suggestions the organization offered include: 

* Offer free food. Everyone loves a simple snack, sweet treat or a full meal, and there’s something special about an employee being served a meal by their supervisor that reinforces the notion of value and recognition. Everything from food truck appearances to ice cream socials are encouraged.

* Plan team activities. Getting out of the office is imperative to the mental health of employees -- even if it’s just to the parking lot for a group stretch. Team activities can be a valuable way to recognize employees and foster team spirit. Some workplaces practice theme days, allowing workers dress in the colors of their favorite sports team, or emulate their favorite superhero. 

* Emphasize wellness. Some workplaces provide healthy snacks or energy-boosting foods, especially in the afternoons. A popular wellness activity is to bring in massage professionals to provide back and neck rubs.

Employers need to remember off-site and “virtual” employees and find ways to include them, so they feel as recognized and valued as on-site employees.

In showing appreciation, authenticity is essential, said Brad Deutser, president of a consulting firm that advises leaders and organizations about achieving clarity, especially during transition, growth or crisis.

"People aren’t easily fooled by insincerity," Deutser said this week, in an email promoting ways to motivate and inspire employees. 

“If your gratitude doesn’t come across as real or if it’s not founded in something you truly are grateful for, then the inauthenticity shows through,” said Deutser, whose firm has primary offices in Houston and in Los Angeles.

Gratitude can shift perspective, inspiring employees to take challenging situations and reframe them in a way that reminds them something positive results.

“It’s about creating positive energy,” Deutser says. “It’s about creating a positive workforce. And, it’s about understanding the direct correlation between positivity and performance.”