Employee Appreciation Day

Friday, March 5, 2004 marks the 10th annual Employee Appreciation Day, a day for employers worldwide to thank, acknowledge, and appreciate their employees for their ongoing efforts, contributions and performance.


Employee Appreciation Day was initiated by Dr. Bob Nelson, who has been hailed "The Guru of Thank You" and "The King of Rewards," in conjunction with Workman Publishing in New York and the initial release of his book 1001 Ways to Reward Employees. That book has gone on to sell over 1.5 million copies worldwide and is currently in its 42nd printing. Dr. Nelson went on to found Nelson Motivation Inc. (www.nelson-motivation.com) on the principles of effective employee recognition and to help found the National Association for Employee Recognition (NAER), where today he serves as an advisory board member.


In truth, recognition should be done by managers on a daily basis with their employees," Dr. Nelson says. "So Employee Appreciation Day is just a reminder to managers everywhere to keep to their best intentions and thank their employees. It's easy to do and it's important to your employees that you do it."


Nelson adds, "Ironically, the most powerful forms of thanks tend to be those things that have little or no cost, but are fun, creative and come from the heart." He sites several of his favorite examples, of which he has thousands:


How some companies acknowledge their employees.


At Kentucky Fried Chicken's headquarters they invite employees to bring a musical instrument in once a month. They give that group a list of the month's top performers, asking them to go serenade each person at their desk.


A manager for Hastings Books & Music in New Mexico was given a spark plug painted gold on a piece of yarn by her manager with the words "This is for adding such a spark to our workplace." She still keeps the award in her jewelry box 30 years later to commemorate the first time she was recognized at work.


A major insurance company has the Dump a Dog award in which employees who successfully complete an assignment are allowed to select anything on their "to do" list and have their manager do that task for them. The award is quite popular.


A Hewlett-Packard Company engineer burst into his manager's office in Palo Alto, CA, to announce he'd just found the solution to a problem the group had been struggling with for many weeks. His manager quickly groped around is desk for some item to acknowledge the accomplishment and ended up handing the employee a banana from his lunch with the words "Well done, Congratulations!" The employee was initially puzzled, but over time the Golden Banana Award became one of the most prestigious honors bestowed on an inventive employee.


All employees at Apple Computer in Cupertino, CA, who worked on the first Macintosh computer had their signatures placed on the inside of the product.


Xerox Corporation gives Bellringer Awards: When an employee is recognized, a bell is rung in the corridor.


Ford Motor Company and AT&T use their employees in commercials.


Former US president Bill Clinton sent a pink rose and a card signed by Hillary and himself to every White House staffer to commemorate the first 100 days that the administration was in office. The card said "Thanks for being part of the first 100 days".