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How to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

Employee Benefits • February 5, 2024 at 8:30 AM • Written by: Elizabeth Walker

Created in 1995 by Workman Publishing, Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of March. On this day, employers celebrate their employees' hard work and dedication. Although it’s an unofficial holiday, it’s an excellent opportunity to show your employees you value them.

Employers should show their employees appreciation regularly to retain top talent and create a positive company culture. But you can use Employee Appreciation Day as an extra opportunity to connect with your employees, praise their accomplishments, and offer new perks.

In this article, we’ll explain why Employee Appreciation Day is an annual celebration and highlight five ways you can show your employees you care about them.

Takeaways from this blog post:

  • Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day can benefit your employees and company by boosting productivity, reducing turnover, and creating a positive workplace culture.
  • Offering personalized benefits, such as paid time off, flexible work schedules, stipends, lifestyle spending accounts, and health benefits, is an excellent employee appreciation idea to improve satisfaction and engagement.
  • Showing appreciation can positively impact morale and productivity and create happy employees. From sending personalized thank you notes to treating your workers to a meal, simple gestures can improve well-being and show employees you value them.

Check out how offering a variety of fringe benefits can support your employees

Why celebrating Employee Appreciation Day is important

Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day doesn’t just benefit your employees. Showing appreciation aids in your company’s productivity, reduction in turnover, and overall success.

Employees are more productive when they feel recognized and valued for their work. In fact, according to a Nectar survey1, almost 78% of employees say more frequent recognition would help them be more productive and improve job performance.

Appreciation and respect create a positive workplace, which drives productivity and increases morale. According to Zendesk, 70% of employees claim morale would improve if managers said “thank you” more often2.

Appreciation is also directly linked to employee retention. In 2022, more than 50.5 million people left their jobs3. A recurring reason many employees quit is a lack of recognition and appreciation4.

To attract and retain employees, you need to ensure they feel happy, valued, and cared about. As a company leader, you should cultivate these needs by showing appreciation for their work—even simple tasks. The more satisfied your employees are, the more likely they’ll stay at your organization.

Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to show your employees gratitude. Not only will your efforts boost productivity and reduce employee turnover, which is good for your bottom line, but it also shows you’re a “people first” company that cares about employee happiness and well-being.

Five ways you can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day at your organization

The way you choose to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day is up to you. You can survey your employees to get an idea of what they would like to see, or you can work with your leadership team to determine the best course of action. Whatever you choose, the possibilities are endless.

To get you started, we’ll show you five creative ways you can celebrate at your organization that your employees will surely appreciate.

1. Boost your benefits package

One of the best ways to show employee appreciation is by offering personalized benefits. Offering flexible perks allows your employees to use their benefits in the best way for them. It also enables your employees to use their benefits for the items and services they care about the most, providing them with more financial value.

If you don’t include them already, consider adding these perks to your benefits package:

  • Paid time off (PTO): Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect time to offer your staff more time off. Whether it’s more PTO days a year or switching to unlimited PTO, extra time for your employees to spend with their family and friends is always welcome. Plus, PTO helps employees feel more rested and engaged, which reduces burnout.
  • Flexible work schedules: Flex schedules promote a healthy work-life balance for employees. For example, working parents or employees with long commutes may prefer a 9/80 work week or a hybrid schedule. And if you’re worried about employees working from home, Forbes5 found it improves retention, productivity, and profitability.
  • Health benefits: Health benefits remain the most popular employee benefit. So why not offer a customizable health benefit? With a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), you can reimburse your employees tax-free for qualified out-of-pocket medical costs and sometimes their individual health insurance premiums.
  • Stipends: Stipends are a fixed amount of money you offer your employees so they can pay for various expenses. Stipends are great perks because your employees can use them on almost anything. For example, wellness stipends let you reimburse employees for their wellness costs, like gym memberships and fitness trackers. If you have remote teams, they can use a remote work stipend to pay for their internet bills or home office equipment. You can also offer stipends for professional development, transportation, and more.
  • Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs): LSAs are employer-funded accounts designed to support your employees’ physical, mental, and financial wellness. LSAs can reimburse employees for various expenses and categories, like family services, groceries, financial planning services, and professional development opportunities.
  • Professional development opportunities: A good way to show your employees you appreciate them both in and out of the office is by investing in their personal development and career growth. By offering opportunities for them to take certifications, online courses, conferences, career coaching, and college courses, they can sharpen their skills, develop new ones, and stay up to date with industry trends.

2. Foot the bill for a meal

Treating your employees to a meal is a simple way to show appreciation. If you’re in the office, you can cater lunch for the office or take a trip to a local restaurant and dine in as a team altogether. But if you have remote workers or want to provide even more flexibility, you can offer a one-time allowance or gift card for your employees to have a meal outside work hours.

By letting your employees use the money you’ve given for a meal whenever they want, they can choose the time and place they wish to dine at or even use a meal delivery service.

If you decide to go this route, consider giving enough money to cover the cost of a meal for your employee’s spouse, children, or friend. This will show them that you care about their lives outside of work and want them to spend quality time with their loved ones.

3. Send an appreciation video or personalized note

According to a recent study6, 28% of employees believe the best recognition comes from their direct manager. However, 24% want an upper-level leader, like a senior director or CEO, to recognize them. Just saying “thank you” significantly impacts employee engagement and morale. But to make the day special, you can go the extra mile.

You can encourage your managers and leaders to handwrite personalized thank you notes or cards to hand out or mail to employees. Everyone expects e-cards, but the time and thought that comes with writing out a note won’t go unnoticed. Plus, it’s a tangible message they can keep in their workspace as motivation even after Employee Appreciation Day has ended.

If you want to create a company-wide thank you and appreciation video for your workers, ensure it’s visible. Post the video on your company website, social channels, and employee chat platforms to make it a public recognition and showcase your strong company culture.

4. Support your employees’ passions

It’s important to remember that your employees have interests and hobbies they pursue when they’re not at work. You can use Employee Appreciation Day to support the organizations your workers care about most, like planning a volunteer event or donating to their favorite charities.

A recent study found that 59% of employees say they’re more motivated and loyal to a company if their employer is socially and environmentally responsible7. Participating in volunteering activities, whether in or outside the office, shows your employees you appreciate the causes they care about and want to show your support by giving back to them.

The amount of volunteering opportunities is endless. As a team, you can clean up a local park, work in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, or host a food drive. If you’re unsure what organizations your employees care about most, poll your staff for feedback before you begin planning the event.

Another option is donating to charities that your employees support. This is a remarkably flexible option if you have fully remote employees who live across the U.S. and can’t participate in a local company-wide volunteer event.

75% of millennials believe it’s vital for companies to support different charitable causes8. You can offer to donate a certain amount of money to your employees’ charity or organization of choice as a one-time payment or on a recurring basis. Matching your employees’ donations is another option to show support as well.

5. Plan a creative company outing

If you’re looking for a stand-out celebration, you can treat your employees to a company-sponsored outing. Depending on your budget and business size, the special event can be as small or extravagant as you wish. Some ideas include reserving an escape room, buying tickets to a sports event, visiting a local museum, going to an amusement park, or organizing a cooking workshop.

You can also plan fun activities for entire teams, like scavenger hunts or trivia challenges with prizes to drive collaboration, boost morale, and allow your employees to engage with each other in a fun setting outside the workplace. Planning something creative and unique will show you appreciate them and want to treat them to a truly exceptional employee experience.

As always, you don’t want to forget about your employees who may live in other states. Virtual games your workers can play together across the company are a good option for remote employees. There are many online platforms you can use to set up a teamed video game tournament with prizes or company swag for the last team standing that will keep them engaged.

Or, if you want to make an in-person event digital, try a virtual escape room. Like a physical escape room, teams solve riddles and complete puzzles within the time limit to “escape the room,” all from their remote location.


Employees are employers' most valuable asset. While showing appreciation should be a year-round practice, Employee Appreciation Day is a special time to focus on your staff members and go the extra mile. Not only does receiving praise increase employee morale, improve satisfaction, and reduce turnover, but it also makes your staff happy—which is the most important result of all.

As part of Employee Appreciation Day, don’t forget to add new benefits to your compensation package. PeopleKeep offers various personalized benefits ranging from health to wellness to remote work perks that will have a profound impact on your employees’ well-being.

Contact us, and we’ll help you create your perfect benefits package.

This article was originally published on February 15, 2023. It was last updated on February 5, 2024.

1. https://nectarhr.com/blog/employee-recognition-statistics#3-779-of-employees-would-be-more-productive-if-they-were-recognized-more-frequently

2. https://www.zendesk.com/blog/beyond-bonuses-how-to-motivate-your-sales-team/

3. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/01/why-2022-was-the-real-year-of-the-great-resignation.html

4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/07/11/how-to-move-from-the-great-resignation-to-the-great-recognition/?sh=14ca5da837a4

5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/glebtsipursky/2023/04/12/unlocking-the-remote-work-productivity-advantage/?sh=220d55426dab

6. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236441/employee-recognition-low-cost-high-impact.aspx

7. http://bbmg.com/radically-better-future/

8. https://www.ibmadison.com/how-workplace-giving-can-boost-employee-engagement/

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Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Walker is a content marketing specialist at PeopleKeep. She has worked for the company since April 2021. Elizabeth has been a writer for more than 20 years and has written several poems and short stories, in addition to publishing two children’s books in 2019 and 2021. Her background as a musician and love of the arts continues to inspire her writing and strengthens her ability to be creative.