While a day like Employee Appreciation Day sounds like another silly, made for the internet holiday, that’s both false and true. False in that the one day shouldn’t really matter, but true in that employees do need to feel appreciated – especially in today’s job market where good candidates are few and far between. But they need to feel appreciated regularly, not just on the first Friday of March.

Celebrating employees one day a year simply because society has chosen an arbitrary day does little to bolster employee moral if the other 364 days of the year there is an overall dismal company culture. Instead, use today as an opportunity to review the ways that you are “investing” in your employees by building a culture of appreciation every day.

Show Gratitude

Showing appreciation for your employees doesn’t mean flowers, balloons, and gifts. Well, it can… but more importantly, showing appreciation can be as simple as taking the time to say, “I appreciate you,” or “thank you.” A little goes a long way. If you want to take it one step further, share individual and team successes by acknowledging jobs well done in company emails.

Taking gratitude beyond your business walls, many companies celebrate their employees on their birthdays or service anniversaries by sharing a small quip about them and the value that they bring to the business on their social media pages. This not only a nice nod to the employee, but helps to add a personal connection to your company for potential customers.

Professional Development Opportunities

Whether it’s attending a free speaker series or a full-fledged conference, the opportunities to encourage your employees’ growth is as boundless as the number of online classes and certifications – many of which are also free. The more an employee feels supported professionally, the less likely they are to seek out alternative employment.

Time

Time is that precious commodity of which we are only given but so much so what greater way to show your appreciation for a job well done than by giving your employees a little bit of personal time. Whether it’s the day off for their birthday or an early release following the wrap-up of a big project, there are few things that will be more appreciated than the gift of time. Alternatively, consider allowing employees to work remotely once in a while (if possible) or embrace the concept of flex time – this fosters a community of trust and often will result in increased productivity.

Team Building

From happy hours to company retreats, pot lucks to birthday celebrations, team building can look different to every company but you’ll be hard pressed to find a successful company that doesn’t have a cohesive team behind it – and that doesn’t come from spending all day locked in a cubicle. One thing to keep in mind when planning team building activities is to still respect personal time. While it varies company to company, team building on personal time can often have the opposite of its intended effect. If you’re going to have a company happy hour (and want people to attend) consider starting it an hour before your day typically ends.