Preparing for employee appreciation day requires some serious planning, regardless of whether you're highlighting an employee's accomplishments during a regular staff meeting or handing out gifts at an annual awards luncheon. A well-planned employee appreciation event requires the committee to make decisions about when and where it takes place, as well as how much money it requires.
Employee Recognition vs. Reward
Senior leadership, together with your human resources department, should first decide whether you're going to recognize employees or reward them. Employee recognition is an intangible form of appreciation that could be as simple as a complimentary remark. On the other hand, employee rewards typically are things that may require the company to give employees something of material value. It could be a lapel pin that denotes years of service, a cash bonus or an "Employee of the Month" plaque. Make it one or the other. You don't want some employees to receive just complimentary remarks while others get something to take home or to the bank. And there’s an art to singling out top performers without making other staffers feel jealous or left behind, according to Inc. But every employee can't receive a reward, so have your senior leadership team address the entire staff during the program and thank all of the company's employees for their dedication. Then, the stars of the show, so to speak, are the ones who get the rewards. Of course, you can give everybody a small token of appreciation, such as an engraved coffee mug, but save the larger rewards for exemplary employees.
Plan for the Big Day
Employees often welcome the opportunity to play a role in recognizing their peers. Depending on the size of your company, a committee comprised of both leadership and staff may be made. At least one to two members from the company's leadership team may be necessary so they can approve committee expenses. An odd number of committee members guarantees that the voting won't reach impasse when the group faces difficult choices. The committee may come together no less than three to four months before the big day. In fact, they might be responsible for selecting a date. If the season warrants it, the committee may want to convene earlier. For example, if your employee appreciation day coincides with the company's holiday celebration, they may need to begin planning a year in advance to reserve the venue for your event. The committee’s duties could include picking out a venue, forming the program schedule and deciding on catering options. At least one committee member should be responsible for managing the budget for awards and event expenses. Another committee member should keep management up to date on the plans so higher-ups can keep their schedules clear to attend the event.
Create an Event Budget
How much you budget for Employee Appreciation Day may depend on a number of factors. It could be determined by a percentage of a profit, or a set amount previously identified for company social functions. An alternative to determining how much money to spend might be based on how much you want to spend per employee. For example, if you're running a small company without a lot of employees, a $50 gift card might be enough of a grand prize. Large companies with even larger pocketbooks might be able to fund more extravagant events. The planning committee must approach this event like any other corporate project. It has to be done on time and within budget. The committee's ability to pull off an event within these parameters might determine whether there will be future company appreciation events.
Ready, Set, Appreciate
At least a week or two before the big day, visit the venue, check the lighting and layout, and discuss final logistics and details with the caterer or hotel sales manager. This gives you some time to make changes instead of finding out about a problem in the 11th hour. One or two days before the event, confirm that your company's senior management will attend. Without them, the employee awards are nice, but not nearly as outstanding as they could be with the top brass present.
About the Author
Ruth Mayhew has over two decades of experience in human resources management and consulting for various industries including the technology, healthcare and federal government services. Her work appears in various top professional human resources and consulting publications.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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