Why I Get So Irritated About Employee Appreciation Day

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Today is Employee Appreciation Day. This irritates me.

The fact that I am so irritated may surprise regular readers who know that employee appreciation and recognition are very important to me.

There are three simple reasons why Employee Appreciation Day irritates me:

3 reasons why I don’t like an appreciation day

  1. It reinforces bad employee recognition practices. There are already enough poor practice employee appreciation programs in place in companies today – Employee of the Month, Perfect Attendance, and the like. We don’t need another one added to the mix.
  2. It lets people off the hook for timely, frequent, meaningful recognition. Just as average and poor managers use the excuse of the annual performance review as a reason to only give employees feedback and set goals once a year, so too do they use Employee Appreciation Day as an excuse to give all employees usually generic, impersonal recognition just once a year.
  3. It devalues the greater importance and ability of recognition to change company cultures. Strategic, social recognition – frequent, timely, based on your core values – has the power to not only change your company culture into one of appreciation, but also give you the ability to proactively manage your culture going forward. That’s simply not possible when we think of appreciation as something we do once a year in early Spring.

Here’s what we can do instead

We can do better than that. We must do better than that. What can you do instead?

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  • Use Employee Appreciation Day as a reminder about the importance of recognition.
  • Use Employee Appreciation Day as a day to kick-off a more strategic, far-reaching employee recognition and reward approach.
  • Use Employee Appreciation Day as an opportunity to commit to your team members and peers that you will make a greater effort to notice and appreciate the good work they do every day.

Do you or does your organization have plans for Employee Appreciation Day?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is senior vice president of client strategy and consulting at Workhuman, where he leads the company’s consulting and analytics divisions. His writing is regularly featured across major HR publications, including HR Magazine, Human Resource Executive, HR Zone, and Workspan.

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