1330696558_post_it It's National Employee Appreciation Day! Don't Panic!What defines a cool corporate culture? In house massages? A foosball table? A kale smoothie bar? How about a slide?
None of those hurt of course, especially now that the hipster generation who think every company should be Google are upon us, but by far the most powerful component of a positive corporate culture is also the oldest: An ongoing recognition of employees who are doing a good job.
There are tons of studies and statistics that demonstrate that companies with formal, strategic recognition programs enjoy higher levels of employee engagement, individual performance and talent retention. Organizations who recognize that an old fashioned “pat on the back” is simply good business hit their targets at a far higher rate than companies without formal recognition programs.
If your business doesn’t have one of these programs, today is a great day to start. Why? Because someone, somewhere decided the first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day – and they are trying to make a big deal of it.
Meaning you, as a business owner, should make a big deal about it too. It’s the perfect day to do something fun, invigorating or even whacky to show your employees just what you think of them. It’s also a great way to kick off your recognition program, that’s not just limited to one day in March. Here are a few simple suggestions: 
1.  Food The ultimate icebreaker, start the day off by bringing in doughnuts, pastries or muffins. Hand out Tim’s gift cards for their morning drive coffee. Don’t stop there. Your people eat lunch too.  Have something catered brought in, or book a Subway delivery. Whatever it is, regardless of how simple, it will be appreciated – and that’s the whole idea isn’t it? 
2.  Happy Hour Order in a keg, go to Costo for a bunch of wings and pre-cooked apps, and for just a couple of hundred dollars, you have all the fixings for an in-house unwind session. Shut down work at 3:00 and those two hours of relaxed fun will pay dividends all year long.
3.  Half-Day With Pay If you want to bump it up a notch, close up shop at noon on Friday for all non-essential personnel. That half day of lost productivity will go a long way with your staff.
4.  Gift Cards.  Every guy knows that gift cards are a lifesaver at Christmas. They could be for National Employee Appreciation Day just as well. A quick trip to Shoppers Drug Mart will yield you dozens of options to choose from. iTunes, The Keg, whatever. For just a few dollars you can give your people a simple thank you gift.
5.  Get Personal  It may sound old school, but writing a personal note of thanks and appreciation, on actual paper with an actual pen, and giving it to staff will really hit home. Have personalized stationery made for your senior management and have them do the same. E-mail is a great way to communicate, but it’s hardly personal. A handwritten note certainly is.
0994LK It's National Employee Appreciation Day! Don't Panic!
We here at NEWT are opting in for option 2. Tomorrow at 3pm, business is closed (except for customer service), and the bar will be open.
A keg of Guinness, wings, music and some laughs are on order. Who wouldn’t appreciate that?