When I heard that today was Employee Appreciation Day, I had a few questions. Why is this the first I’m hearing of it? How long has this been in existence? And is this something Twitter created, or does it predate social media?
Turns out, Employee Appreciation Day was created back in 1995 by an organization called The Recognition Professionals International. It wasn’t widely recognized, however, until recent years when social media adopted it and it became a bigger deal, covered by such business publication as Inc. and Forbes.
It’s nice to set aside a day to recognize the ones you love, but if you’re only doing it one day a year, you’re in trouble.
To me, Employee Appreciation Day is a bit like Valentine’s Day — it’s nice to set aside a day to recognize the ones you love, but if you’re only doing it one day a year, you’re in trouble.
To say appreciation is part of Plante Moran’s culture is an understatement. It’s a fundamental part of who we are as a firm. So to celebrate this holiday, I thought I’d share a handful of the more creative things we do at Plante Moran to show our staff that we care:
- Notice I used the term “staff member” vs. “employee.” That’s because nobody at Plante Moran is an “employee.” We use “staff” because it connotes that we work with each other vs. for each other. And that’s one of my favorite traits about Plante Moran.
- We encourage our staff to connect with one another –– not just through emails and phone calls, but face-to-face. That’s why each year we invite all 2,200+ staff members from across the firm to attend a day of information-sharing and celebration known as the Firm Conference. This in-person event held in Detroit brings our entire team together in a relaxed atmosphere and leaves them feeling motivated and reinvigorated. This is a day to thank our staff for their contributions and celebrate the firm’s culture.
- When we’re celebrating the arrival of a new baby, we like to send a gift to the new parents. In addition to a gift certificate, they receive a Plante Moran infant t-shirt, which has led to so many cute photos over the years that I’ve lost count. (We even have a few staff currently employed who wore those T-shirts as babies!)
- Another thing we like to do: Send personal letters home to the spouses of our staff to thank them for their support when staff are working on challenging projects. It’s a small gesture, but it sends a big message.
- Partners also regularly hold team outings — and spouses are often included. In one example, Raj Patel, a partner with our cybersecurity practice, hosted an imitation “Chopped” competition at his home where each team was provided a basket containing a menu of pre-selected food items. Teams were then given two hours to prepare a main course based on the items within the food basket. Our staff appreciate these creative outings.
- We also go above and beyond for each other during tax season — one of our busiest times of the year. I recently wrote a blog about the opportunities we find during busy season to spend quality time with our clients, but we also use this time to show extra appreciation for our staff. In one office, we even set up game stations in some of our conference rooms for staff to unwind throughout the week. Talk about competition — we’ve had some fierce rivalries come up during the bean bag toss.
The list goes on. The truth is, we do so many small things for one another every day, it’s hard to keep track. One day, a team is bringing in lunch for another group, and another day, we’re all eating birthday cake in the kitchen. But no holiday or single practice can take the place of truly caring about your people — that’s what makes every day Staff Appreciation Day.
Are you celebrating Employee Appreciation Day? How do you appreciate one another?