It’s time to celebrate World Gratitude Day! Honored annually on September 21, this holiday is an excellent opportunity to show employee appreciation with fun company-wide initiatives.
We know. You might be saying, “There’s a holiday for everything!” But holidays like World Gratitude Day serve as a special reminder to pause and enjoy the present.
(National Waffle Day is on March 25... Yes, there was a time without waffle makers and Waffle House, besides, having a day to celebrate a small achievement like a waffle can help you enjoy it that much more.)
Embrace the Spirit of Celebration with Cooleaf: Empowering Your Company on World Gratitude Day and Beyond!
World Gratitude Day is the perfect opportunity for your organization to take a step back and reflect. We spend so much of our daily lives with our heads down, focusing on the next task or goal, and sometimes we don’t take a moment to acknowledge that hard work.
World Gratitude Day gives our team members, managers, and us as individuals a moment to look back at what we’ve really accomplished.
More Reasons to Celebrate World Gratitude Day
Gratitude is more than acknowledging hard work or celebrating wins. In fact, expressing gratitude supports balanced health and well-being.
Many people find that gratitude reduces stress and helps you support your mental health. It also helps with sleep, mood, and immunity.
As an organization, employee recognition shows that you value your employees as people. It also creates a company culture of appreciation.
“At the end of the day, the appreciation people feel from appreciating one another is really rewarding,” Kiley Skadburg, CMO of the Iowa Clinic said on The Great Retention.
When people feel recognized for their work, they also feel a sense of purpose, which boosts employee retention.
Kiley also pushed for a way for their healthcare staff to show their appreciation because of the trickledown effect employee recognition had. “Taking care of your people will take care of your customers,” Kiley said.
So if you’re looking for a way to encourage your people to express gratitude, read below!
Start a Gratitude Challenge
Think of a gratitude journal. The practice is similar to meditation or mindfulness. It keeps us present and very attuned to the world around us.
A gratitude journal encourages people to look at what they have or even what they worked hard to get. This can be anything from the nice weather that day to prioritizing time with the family.
You can host your gratitude challenge in-person by using an office wall where people post handwritten notes to share a piece of their appreciation. Ask for new posts every day and keep it growing for the week of World Gratitude Day, then ask people to share what they took away from the exercise at the end of the week.
If you’re a remote or hybrid team (or in-office), platforms like Cooleaf help document everyone’s answers and make them easier to share. Encourage everyone to practice daily appreciation, similar to a gratitude journal, and share on the public platform.
Expressing gratitude sounds simple, but many of us don’t take the time to truly appreciate the things around us.
Shine a Spotlight on Your Employees
As a recognition platform ourselves, we think you should spotlight your employees every day, especially on World Gratitude Day.
Hand the baton to your managers, shift leads, or team leaders. Motivate them to recognize team members on their teams or challenge them to recognize someone in a different department.
Employee spotlights like recognition or public shoutouts positively impact performance. In fact, highly effective teams receive about six times more positive feedback. And getting leadership buy-in can encourage others to see the value.
To get started, help your leadership with a few tips or even some templates for issuing an employee recognition.
Host a Peer Recognition Challenge
Peer recognition is a powerful tool. Our teammates and collaborators understand the nitty-gritty of that difficult project or tight deadline. That’s why peer recognition means that much more!
Host a peer recognition challenge on World Gratitude Day. In this activity (online or in-person) ask teammates to recognize peers for hard work from this week. You can do this with communication platforms like Cooleaf and Slack, or even tag a coworker on Linkedin to share how amazing they are.
Cooleaf’s recognition program can tie back to small incentives to keep employees recognizing one another. Through Cooleaf, users can earn points that they can redeem for gift cards. The incentive is a small push to encourage everyone to keep recognizing!
Celebrate Company or Team Milestones
We often think of milestones as work anniversaries like 10 years at a role. For World Gratitude Day, consider other milestones to celebrate.
Start with callouts from the last quarter. Review your goals and shout out any progress or achievements. Remember, some goals require longer lead times, so maybe you didn’t hit that mark yet, but you’re certainly closer because you streamlined a process or started the groundwork.
For instance, your sales team might have cleaned up their CRM, a project that takes so much time. Maybe Customer Success developed an onboarding process that other teams are replicating. Your developers might have finally solved that bug that was literally bugging them for months!
In the example below, a Frazier and Deeter teammate recognized their teammates for their inaugural event:
These are everyday wins but for a team focused on their specific goals, these are also milestones. Shoutout that milestone at a meeting or offer a token of appreciation to that team like their own happy hour or lunch.
Organizations are constantly growing in big and small ways and creating a supportive company culture starts with instilling a sense of appreciation.
Send Out Employee Gifts
A sure fire way to show appreciation and celebrate World Gratitude Day is with small gifts. This can be anything from company branded swag like sweatshirts, high-quality water bottle, or even electronics.
You can easily set up a swag shop or distribute swag shop gift cards so your people can choose what they like best.
As an alternative, you can gift each team something unique to their team’s culture. Work with your leadership to find something that everyone will love.
Set a Company Day Event
Remember that fostering strong employee engagement means investing in your people’s personal lives as well as their professional strengths. So why not host a company event off-site?
Encourage employees to invite family members and treat everyone to a fun day together. Opt for outdoor activities, or are a barbecue. With family and personal loved ones there, employees have the opportunity to get to know their coworker beyond the workday.
And we encourage you to spotlight your employees in front of their nearest and dearest. Give that public shoutout with an award ceremony— have fun with the awards. Highlight how specific people embody company values or are an office superlative like “Emoji Queen” or “First One to Speak Up in a Meeting.”
If you’re a remote team, you can get creative. Coordinate get togethers in your key cities. Host online events like a Zoom magic show (yes this is a thing!), yoga class, or play online games. You can even host an evening trivia match!
Organize a Company Field Trip
If your organization has been busy with remote work, why not bring everyone together in a company field trip or retreat?
It’s a great opportunity for remote teams to come together to talk through goals for the next year, try out in-person team building activities, and get to know each other beyond stand-up meetings.
Stability Healthcare hosted a long-awaited summit on a tropical cruise. The team built up excitement with Cooleaf challenges to share pics, like posting a travel selfie or meeting up with a team member from another department.
It disrupted the usual work day and provided space and time to truly engage with one another.
If you can’t host a whole trip, plan out a field trip. Explore the mountains together, try a wine tour, or explore a new area of town together.
Make a Creative Company Happy Hour
Not all happy hours need to be down at the pub. Eminent Healthcare’s Signature Hospitality Services Team brought in an ice cream truck and all the fixings for the department.
It’s such a creative way to make World Gratitude Day feel special and take a break from only talking shop.
Consider non-alcoholic happy hours so everyone can enjoy with something new. We heard of a team hosting an Oreo flavor tasting where they brought unique Oreo flavors to vote on the best one— there are so many flavors. We heard many remote teams tried a mocktail making class over video.
Have fun with your happy hour! It’s whatever brings you and your team joy and shows your gratitude.
Give Everyone a Day Off
Nothing says “good job” like being able to rest and relax. Host a day off for World Gratitude Day!
Organizations, Cooleaf included, host quarterly health days where our team goes offline. This is our way to show support to our people and encourage healthy work-life balance.
A team-wide day off is a company perk but is also way to show empathy and understanding for your team’s hard work.
Mark Your Calendar for Other Employee Appreciation Dates
Celebrating World Gratitude Day company-wide puts your people first. It’s a holiday that not only encourages appreciation but also well-being and work-life balance.
Speaking of holidays, don’t forget to mark your calendar for other fun and notable holidays in your own HR calendar. You especially want to remember the first Friday of March, so you can celebrate Employee Appreciation Day!
And don’t worry if you need employee appreciation day ideas. Cooleaf’s got you covered.
Unleash the potential of your workforce and unlock their true brilliance with Cooleaf. Together, let's celebrate your employees' hard work, dedication, and accomplishments 365 days a year. Elevate your company's culture, productivity, and happiness. Join Cooleaf today and embark on a journey of continuous appreciation and success!