Launched in 1995 by Workman Publishing, National Employee Appreciation Day, on March 3, reminds managers that strong employer-employee relations are at the core of any truly successful business. Having a great relationship with your employees is an important aspect of being a manager, and appreciating their efforts can go a long way towards making workers feel valued. Take some time on National Employee Appreciation Day to connect with your employees, offer authentic praise, and listen to their experiences. If you can, give your employees part of the day off, or treat them to a special lunch or group activity.
History of National Employee Appreciation Day
As the basis of the capitalist economic system, wage labor can be a mutually beneficial relationship between employer and employee. But, too often, workers feel exploited, underpaid, and just not appreciated by their managers or bosses. Strong and trusting employer-employee relations can go a long way towards ensuring a company’s long-term success and retaining a satisfied and dedicated workforce.
The American labor movement has its origins in the earliest years of the republic when artisans banded together to maintain wage levels. The earliest strike in the U.S. happened in 1768 when New York tailors stood their ground against wage reductions. After that, American craftsmen started organizing guilds and unions to protect wages and benefits for their respective trades. American trade unionism was born.
Today, most American workers enjoy basic labor protections like an eight-hour workday, minimum wage laws, and overtime protections. Many employers understand the importance of maintaining good relations with their employees and the positive impact of a happy workforce, but labor unions continue to fight for those workers who still experience abuse and exploitation. Workers employed in agriculture, garment work, factory farming, and other low-wage industries all face poverty wages, high injury rates, and exploitative practices.
Employee Appreciation Day is gaining strength in the U.S. and other countries, with many companies using the day to show appreciation to their employees through some time off, a small token of gratitude, or a special event. Most of all, employers can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day all year long by instituting living wages and fair policies. Employee appreciation can boost workers’ satisfaction and the company’s retention rate, increasing the productivity and profitability of the company and creating a happier and more pleasant work environment for all.
National Employee Appreciation Day timeline
The concept of ‘minimum wage’ first takes hold in Victoria, Australia, when authorities establish wage boards tasked with determining minimum pay.
In one of the country's worst industrial disasters and a wake-up call for the American labor movement, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory kills 146 young women locked in their workplace by the factory owners.
President Taft creates the U.S. Department of Labor with the goal of promoting the welfare of workers, job seekers, and retirees, improving working conditions, protecting worker benefits, and advancing opportunities for employment.
The Social Security Act institutes benefits for the elderly, disabled, and unemployed through payroll taxes, creating a social safety net for those unable to work.
National Employee Appreciation Day FAQs
How should I celebrate Employee Appreciation Day?
Demonstrate your appreciation by treating the whole office to a special day. You don’t have to spend much, but engaging in a fun group activity can contribute to team bonding and let your workers know you notice their hard work.
Why is employee satisfaction important?
Research shows that when employees feel engaged, valued, and appreciated, they perform better, stay at their jobs longer, and have increased loyalty to their employers.
When did the eight-hour workday start in the United States?
One of the pillars of modern labor rights, the eight-hour workday became a federal government mandate in 1866 thanks to the efforts of the National Labor Union.
How to Celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day
Do something nice for your employees
You don’t have to spend a lot to make your employees feel appreciated. Take time today — and every day — to let them know their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Appreciate your co-workers
If you’re not a boss, you can still show the people you work with that someone cares and notices their hard work! Take a minute today to encourage your co-workers and bring a smile to their faces.
Support good labor practices
Employee appreciation starts with fair labor policies and practices. Educate yourself about labor rights in your state so you know if your employer ever violates them.
5 Interesting Facts About Employment
Almost half of turnover is due to job stress
Over 40% of workers say they left their jobs due to stress, so keeping employees happy is an important way to retain them and reduce your turnover.
Tuesdays are most productive
Maybe it’s because we’re motivated to get more work done to get the week to go by faster or because it’s the day with the least absenteeism, but Tuesdays are the most productive day of the week for American workers.
Office chairs travel far
The average office chair rolls about eight miles every year.
The average American holds 10 jobs before the age of 40 — with the informal- and gig economy gaining strength, this will likely only increase in the future.
Always the last place you look
The average office worker spends 50 minutes a day looking for lost items or files.
Why We Love National Employee Appreciation Day
Employee appreciation is directly tied to job satisfaction
Happy employees contribute to a more productive and engaged workplace.
Employee appreciation is easy
It's not hard to make employees feel valued — especially if you think about it more than just once a year. Make sure you take some time throughout the year to make small gestures, letting your employees know you notice and value their work.
Employee appreciation can make or break your company's success
Almost 80% of employees who leave their job say it’s because of dissatisfaction with their work environment or management. Retain your workers by ensuring a pleasant and fair work environment.
National Employee Appreciation Day dates