‘Tis the season – the season of professional appreciation days! It kicked off last week with Administrative Professionals’ Day (April 27th), and then jumped right into Teacher Appreciation Week this week (May 2nd-6th). We’ll follow it up with Provider Appreciation Day on May 6th and National Nurses Week May 6th-12th. 

I got to wondering how all these appreciation days came to be. As it turns out, in most cases, a professional organization just felt that the employees they represent were under appreciated and lobbied for a recognition day. Sometimes the date selected has relevance to the history of the profession. For example, National Nurses Week always runs the same dates, ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, making it easy to plan for and keep established as a national recognition event. 

The key here is the feeling of not being appreciated. Workhuman iQ surveyed over 2,000 fully employed people in the US, Ireland, Canada, and the UK aged 18+ and the results show that thanked workers feel more connected and less burned out. The report on the results is quick to point out that progressive work policies and well-being programs are also necessary, but there is a simple and powerful impact to appreciation. 

According to the survey, the more recently someone has been thanked by a manager and/or peer, the greater their sense of connection to the company culture and their colleagues. Let’s take it a step further. The results show that people who were thanked in the last month are: 

  • Half as likely to be looking for a new job,
  • More than two times as likely to be highly engaged, 
  • More than two times as likely to feel respected at work, and 
  • More than three times as likely to see a path to grow in the organization. 

We aren’t saying you can halt the Great Resignation by saying thank you to employees and co-workers once a month, but we are saying that building a culture of gratitude will go a long way toward retaining employees. Consider how you can introduce peer-to-peer recognition, give praise when you see someone doing something right, and get to know how the people you work with prefer to be appreciated.  

National Employee Appreciation Day already happened this year, but maybe get it on your calendar for the future – it is the first Friday in March each year. It also wouldn’t hurt to do a quick google search to find out if there is a day dedicated to your employees’ professions and set reminders to celebrate your employees on those days in addition to your regular thank yous. 

Now seems like a great time to take a lap around your office or building and offer up some genuine words of thanks! And just in case you were wondering – HR Professional Day is September 26! This is also a great time to remind you that Mother’s Day is coming up on May 8th.