The first Friday of every March we celebrate Employee Appreciation Day.
This is a time for managers to thank employees for their hard work throughout the year.
Dr. Bob Nelson, who cofounded Employee Appreciation Day with the publisher of his book, "1001 Ways to Reward Employees," in 1994, now admits the concept of the day is "a little silly."
He says he understands the importance of ongoing employee recognition — and says it cannot (and should not) be shoved aside 364 days of the year.
"I'm a big advocate of using recognition on a daily basis," Nelson tells Business Insider. "By no means is Employee Appreciation Day meant to be this one day to thank people or this one day to bring in doughnuts," he explains. "But I did want to have one day where we could call attention to the topic and have conversations about its importance."
Recognition in the office has increasingly become a hot topic. "A lot of employees today — and particularly the younger generation — expect to be recognized on a daily basis," says Dr. Nelson. "It's not because they want to be pumped up or because they have a frail ego, it's because they're smart enough to realize that in the fast moving and dynamic times we're in today, you have to have a steady stream of feedback."
The millennials entering the work force are pushing for more recognition, but not in a way that requires time-consuming appreciation programs or extravagent gifts. Rather, "they want the feedback and the praise, and they want to know that their efforts are on track."
You can bring doughnuts, sponsor a catered lunch, or plan activities to show appreciation on March 6, 2015 — but if you don't have anything planned, that's ok too. On going praise is what matters — making the effort to reward hard work is what will benefit your company and boost productivity in the long run.
As Dr. Nelson says, "what you reinforce, you will get more of. It is absolutely guaranteed."
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