On 5 March, the world celebrated Employee Appreciation Day but for the most part it passed quietly under the radar. That’s hardly surprising given the events of the past year. But perhaps the uncertainties thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic makes 2021’s instalment more important to celebrate than ever.
It is, after all, a year that has seen lockdown and restrictions curtail the normal working activities of practically every industry and services sector. For example, an InterTrade Ireland survey (Q2 2020) revealed that, since the last Employee Appreciation Day, the Irish cross-border trading alone had fallen dramatically behind.
Where 42% of companies had confirmed they were growing before the pandemic, just 15% confirmed so in the summer. And while 7% were originally in decline, the figure had jumped to 53% of businesses. The Central Statistics Office, meanwhile, reported Ireland’s unemployment rate to have reached 20.4% (including PUP) in December, though at 7.2% under normal measures. It still represented almost a doubling of the 4.7% jobless rates in December 2019.
And yet, despite the hit that economies have taken, projections of recovery are promising with an ERSI report expecting GDP to have grown in 2020 (3.4%) and to grow in 2021 (4.9%). Productivity, as business folk understand all too well, is largely dependent on the commitment and efforts of employees.
This trend has been almost universal around European and Western economies, with businesses and manufacturing firms of all sizes relying on the commitment of their employees to keep things moving despite the heavy hits they have suffered.
It may be a little after the official Employee Appreciation Day date, but it is never too late for employers to show their appreciation for the role their personnel have played in the last 12 months.
5 Ideas To Show Employees They Are Appreciated
- A Floral Bouquet
- Celebratory Swag Bags
- Gift Cards
Speaking of gift-cards; admittedly, the current Covid-19 restrictions limit the range of the gift card options. The traditional favourites – restaurant bookings, cinema tickets, even trips to a local bar – are all unrealistic at this time. But there are e-giftcards to consider too, where online purchases can be made by employees themselves.
- Cinema Nights & Hampers
- Organise a Charity Day
For some, saying it with flowers is still the most effective way to say almost anything. Arranging to have individual bouquets delivered to members of your staff is always going to make them feel special and appreciated.
A simple but popular option is to distribute Swag Bags amongst your employees. They can be filled with any number of items, from chocolates and snacks to company-logo merchandise and gift cards to local stores.
While it may be impossible to get to cinema, it is very possible to arrange online movie screenings. Most people already have Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions, so even if there is no need to book tickets, it is possible to arrange a movie hamper at least.
There are options other than the streaming sites mentioned above. Check out Curzon Home Cinema.
These are days when supporting the community is more poignant than granting gifts and half-days to employees – and employees themselves will be first to agree. The coronavirus pandemic has seen many families affected and supporting those areas of society most in need is going to be highly appreciated.
While traditional fundraising activities might not be possible, organising an activity that brings colleagues together in a cause that helps them make a difference would be welcomed. Get in contact with a local Volunteer Centre to find out how to help.
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