Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Employee Appreciation Day

I received a press release today telling me that Friday, March 5th is Employee Appreciation Day. The idea for the day was create 10 years ago by Dr. Bob Nelson, called "the Guru of Thank You" and one of the founders of the National Association for Employee Recognition (NAER). The purpose of the day is "for employers worldwide to thank, acknowledge, and appreciate their employees for their ongoing efforts, contributions, and performance."

Dr. Nelson stresses that workers need recognition on a continuing basis, but setting aside a day for this helps to remind managers of its importance. It makes sense to me. There's a Boss's Day, so why not a day for employees?

If your company is short on cash, don't worry. The best forms of recognition, Nelson says, are often the efforts that cost little to nothing but are creative and come from the heart. Some examples:

1. At the headquarters of Kentucky Fried Chicken, they ask employees to bring in their musical instruments once a month, and then the musicians serenade the month's top performers.

2. A manager for a bookstore in New Mexico received a gold-painted spark plug with the words "This is for adding such a spark to our workplace." She's kept that award for 30 years.

3. A big insurance company lets award winners Dump a Dog: They're allowed to pick anything on their to-do list for their manager to do for them. (This award is very popular, as you can imagine.)

What creative ideas has your company come up with to thank employees? Use the comment feature on this blog to let your colleagues know what's worked for you.

But the best way to thank an employee, Nelson says, is to give him or her "simple, sincere, and specific" praise--whether in person or electronically, in writing or in public. Do that daily, he says, and you're "90 percent of the way toward creating a motivating work environment."

PS--Speaking of thanks, thank you for your patience and I apologize for the short hiatus in blog postings. I was in Florida attending my 87-year-old grandmother's wedding, if you can believe it!

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