The first Monday of September is marked by Labor Day in the United States. The holiday marks the American labor movement and celebrates the contributions of workers to the nation’s social and economic achievements. It was first celebrated in New York City, but a few years later, in 1894, an act of Congress declared Labor Day an official national holiday, and it has been observed annually on the first Monday in September.
Since it’s a federal holiday, government offices and public schools are closed on Labor Day, as are many businesses. Whether your employees have the day off or have to work, taking the holiday as an opportunity to acknowledge and thank them is a good idea.
Here are 6 ways to acknowledge your employees this Labor Day:
- Throw a party.
Apart from celebrating workers and their contributions to the economy, Labor Day also marks the end of summer. Many people throw their last BBQs and pool parties over this weekend, so a great way of thanking employees is to throw a Labor Day party at the office. In fact, a BBQ or pool party theme would be perfect. If budget is an issue, make the party a potluck and ask employees to bring food or paper goods such as plates, cups, etc. Decorate a conference or communal room to get everyone in a celebratory spirit.
- Provide a free meal.
If throwing a proper party is simply not in the cards, consider providing a free meal for your staff. Whether it’s muffins and coffee in the morning or sandwiches for lunch, employees will appreciate the thought and the free food.
- Hand out awards.
Show appreciation for your employees by providing awards. You can ask employees to nominate and vote for the winners a week or so in advance. Give out fun awards like a best team player, most company spirit, and happiest camper. Consider getting small, personalized trophies for the winners, or think about printing and framing certificates for the awardees.
- Give bonuses.
If it’s possible within your budget, you can give bonuses to acknowledge top employees. The bonus can be something simple like an extra paid vacation day, a restaurant gift card, or another monetary gift. A bonus also serves as a great motivator, especially if employees know they’re presented at holidays and other special days – they’ll work harder in order to get one.
- Offer praise.
In these high-tech days, something personal like a handwritten note goes a long way towards showing appreciation. For Labor Day, take the time to write notes for employees thanking them for their hard work and loyalty. If you have a large workforce, ask managers to write a note for each member of their team. Then ask senior-level staff to write the notes for the managers. If you decide to go the tech route, you can use the company’s social media platforms to express gratitude for your staff.
- Be flexible.
You can acknowledge employees’ busy lives and support their work-life balance by being flexible with their hours over the Labor Day weekend. For instance, you can let everyone go home a couple of hours early either the Friday before Labor Day or on the day itself (if the company isn’t closed). You can also let employees accrue extra hours during the previous week so they can take the day off. Do whatever works for your company. Employees will appreciate the gesture and come back ready to work after the holiday.
Have you ever celebrated Labor Day at your workplace? What other ways have you acknowledged employees for their commitment to work?
Some people like money, others prefer honors. A good HR manager knows who prefers what and how to approach everyone individually, but if you choose either money or praise, there will be some who are dissatisfied, so choose both and make everyone happy.
When congratulating people, try to avoid formalities and make this communication simple and sincere. If your boss isn’t grateful for his or her people, remind him or her about all the great work the staff has done this year. Let’s help everyone feel like an equally valuable part of the labor force.
I would say some companies have an outdated, established tradition of celebrating the best workers on Labor Day. The meaning of the holiday is not to celebrate the success of the company, but to celebrate everyone who works for it.