Friday, March 6, will be the 25th annual National Employee Appreciation Day., Known as the “Guru of Thank You,” Dr. Bob Nelson was a founding member of Recognition Professionals International (RPI, previously known as the National Association for Employee Recognition). He created the Employee Appreciation Day in 1995 because he “wanted to call attention to the importance of thanking employees when they do a good job.”

Employees are one of a government’s or company’s greatest assets. In these days, when qualified workers are not always easy to find, it becomes especially important for employers to cultivate an environment wherein people not only want to come to work but they want to do their best to help make their workplace successful and happy for everyone involved.
Here are some interesting statistics about how work is changing in the United States.

As 10,000 baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are retiring each day, the number of millennials (born between 1981 to 1996) in the workplace is growing at a fast clip, and they are projected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Did you know that:
· 88% of millennials consider a positive work culture essential.
· 60% of millennials value a sense of purpose in an employer.
· 88% of millennials don’t feel money is their main motivator.

That means that workplaces need to realign their management practices around this generation in order to be successful. What do millennials want? According to Dr. Nelson:
· They want to be challenged (78% will work for less if challenged).
· They want to be coached (75% want mentors and training opportunities).
· They want to be trusted (69% want more freedom at work).
· They want to be thanked (90% expect daily recognition and feedback).

Recognition and appreciation are known as key motivational factors for everyone in the workplace. So if you aren’t already offering your staff some of these positive reinforcements, Employee Appreciation Day is a good time to start. Here are some suggestions from the RPI on ways to show your appreciation:

Be Flexible – Flexibility goes a long way in this virtual reality world. If possible with your industry, allowing a little flexibility can reap huge benefits when you need last minute work done.

A Thank You Note – When a job has been done well, a heartfelt, hand-written thank you means more than a slap on the back or an e-mail sent off at the end of the day.

Team Effort Celebration – If the team pulled together and made it happen, reward them with an office pizza party or a casual dress day.
Get Caught – Make sure the employee hears you telling someone else you thought they did a great job.

Create a Culture of Encouragement – Employees who expand their horizons bring new skills to your workforce and will encourage others to do so too. Praise their achievements and encourage others to pursue their goals.

Finally, communicate! Ask your staff how they would like to be thanked for a job well done. Chances are they’ll have some ideas that you can use, and they will appreciate you asking.

Written by SuzAnne Runge, Director of Communications, Wayne Township Trustee Office

Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox

SuzAnne Runge

Trustee Austin Knox is a Fort Wayne native who, on January 10, 2020, was unanimously elected trustee at a caucus of Democratic precinct committee leaders of Wayne Township. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer