Most of us are familiar with employee recognition holidays like Boss’s Day and Administrative Professionals Day.
But what about all the other titles and roles that make your company run successfully?
Work holidays are a lot different than the traditional Federal holidays printed on every mass-produced calendar.
They’re opportunities to acknowledge and recognize particular roles, work groups, and skill sets. But also to reward hard work, initiative, and outstanding performance. Consistently celebrating these holidays shows employees how much they’re appreciated and gives them an added boost of motivation.
You may find it interesting to know that 71% of employees surveyed by Quantum Workplace cited “performance or role accomplishments” as their most valued reasons for recognition. An employee approaching their ten-year work anniversary is likely looking forward to experiencing the same level of recognition they’ve seen their colleagues receive over the years.
Pro Tip: Before you start planning the recognition holiday budget, be sure to check out Caroo’s RecognitionDNA assessment and get a crystal clear picture of how each of your employees actually wants to be recognized.
Lucky for you, finding thoughtful and fun ways to celebrate your team members just got a whole lot easier! Open your planner and grab a pen because you’re going to want to add some of these to your employee recognition calendar.
Employee Recognition Holidays
1) Employee Appreciation Day
The first Friday of March each year is exclusively reserved for honoring your biggest investment. Of course, expressing appreciation for your employees should ideally be a year-round effort. But a company-wide post on your internal social media or Slack channel announcing that there are donuts in the breakroom is a great place to start. Remember… people stay where they’re valued, so once they’re all glazed and powdered over, you could hand out some Employee Appreciation gifts to really drive it home.
Employees are the heartbeat of any business and without them, you’re just a one-man (or woman) show. Employee Appreciation Day gives you an iron-clad opportunity to let them know how much they mean to you and the success of the organization.
2) Administrative Professionals Day
Administrative Professionals Day falls smack dab in the middle of Administrative Professionals Week. That’s right – you can actually honor your rockstar support staff for an entire week, with the main event culminating on hump day.
The last full week in April each year is for Admins! But the Wednesday in the middle of that week is when the confetti drops and the spotlight shines brightest on your assistants, coordinators, administrators, and all the other titles who support your organization all year long.
3) Boss’s Day
Can we agree that we just don’t hear enough about some of the awesome Bosses out there? The ones mentoring and motivating like it’s second nature. October 16th gives us all an opportunity to shine some light on our amazing leaders who make work feel a little less like work.
Chances are, at one point they were exactly where you are now, so they understand the assignment of being a solid and supportive leader. Take a day to show them how much you appreciate their guidance and experience.
Affinity Months for Work
4) Women’s History Month
March is all about expanding our education and acknowledging the brave and brilliant women who’ve shaped our history. What began as Women’s History Week in 1978, eventually expanded to the entire month of March, and has been recognized nationally since 1995.
Why? Because women continue to move all the needles! In tech, sports, community activism, leadership, philanthropy, politics, and anywhere else you can imagine – women have been boldly standing up and challenging the status quo for centuries to get us where we are today.
5) Mental Health Awareness Month
May has officially been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month since 1949, although it’s gotten a bit more headlines in recent years with the pandemic isolation leaving its mark. The stigmas attached to wellness activities like yoga, meditation, professional therapy, and medications are finally dissolving because of the ongoing education and normalization efforts we can all benefit from.
In the big picture, few things will make an impact on your workforce quite like supporting your employees’ mental health. No one should struggle alone and the month of May offers you thirty whole days each year to coordinate educational opportunities and resources for your employees to take advantage of or even share with their families.
6) LGBT Pride Month
As a country, we’ve come a long way since the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 that birthed the original Pride Month. In 2011, President Obama expanded the title to represent the LGBTQ+ community, noting the inequalities and disparities each subgroup faces separately, as well as the community as a whole. Today, Pride events, parades, and celebrations can be found all month long and all across the globe.
“Inclusion” isn’t just a word that sounds good tucked into your core values statement. It’s an action and including Pride in your employee recognition holidays shows all your employees that they’re valued.
7) Black History Month
The initial intent of Carter G. Woodson in 1926 was to dedicate the second week in February each year to educating people on how Black culture has impacted our history over the years. He chose this week because it’s the same week as the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass – one Black, one White – both major players in the abolition of slavery. It wasn’t until the late 60s that it expanded to the entire month of February, and was politically recognized in 1976.
Black history is America’s history. We’ve all been impacted in some way and acknowledging these powerful influences is vital to the continual growth of any organization.
8) AAPI Heritage Month
Again, this country wasn’t built by a single race or culture and May is all about recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Like what? How about the fact that the Transcontinental Railroad was built on the backs of Chinese laborers? Kind of a big deal!
Education is powerful because we don’t know what we don’t know. But knowing adds dimension and substance to the things we experience every day and helps us to understand the struggles and accomplishments of the AAPI cultures.
9) Hispanic Heritage Month
Another month-long celebration that started as only a week, Hispanic Heritage Month now runs from September 15th through October 15th each year. Several Latin American countries also celebrate their Independence Days within these 30 days, so it’s a month of recognizing their history, liberation, and growth as a culture.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are an estimated 62.5 million Hispanic or Latinos living in the United States and chances are, some are your employees. Show them how much you value their culture and history as well, even if you’re not a part of it.
Important Dates and Events to Recognize at Work
10) First Day of Work
New employees often carry a Dead Sea scroll full of fears, wonders, and worries on their first day. But it’s also your chance to show them how much you believe they belong there, and that none of those limiting beliefs were even worth their energy. Cheers to new beginnings!
You only get one chance to make a first impression – good or bad. An employee’s first day of work is a prime opportunity to make them feel comfortable and ensure their employee experience starts out on the right foot.
11) Work Anniversary
Work anniversaries are a great time to recognize the skills, experience, and loyalty of your employees. Each one means that not only have they committed another year of their lives to your company, but also indicates that you’re nurturing a workplace where people want to spend more anniversaries on your payroll.
Ever forgotten your own anniversary? If not, then you clearly already understand the importance of an anniversary. If you have, you probably learned (very quickly) why that wasn’t the best decision you could have made (and never will again).
12) Employee of the Month
This isn’t a brand-new idea, but it is an oldie and a goodie. It’s no longer just about adding a newly engraved tag on a plaque (that no one ever sees) each month or handing out meaningless company swag. EOM rewards can be anything from a big lunch where all their team members can honor them, to gift cards for travel, and customized tokens of appreciation.
Believe it or not, when done right, these celebrations can directly improve your HR metrics. Stats like employee engagement, satisfaction, and employee retention all show an uptick when the workforce feels valued.
13) End-of-Year Holidays
By the end of summer, signs of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve can be spotted everywhere. But believe it or not, these aren’t the only holidays worth acknowledging at the end of the year. When supporting a culturally diverse workforce, be sure to include culturally diverse holidays in your celebration budget.
The truth is, not everyone celebrates Christmas. Expanding your end-of-year holiday season recognition beyond just those that are most heavily commercialized, brings celebratory inclusivity to your workforce, and gives employees an opportunity to learn more about other customs and cultures.
14) Employee Birthdays
One thing’s for sure – every single one of your employees has a birthday and bonus – you already have this information on file! Whether you opt for a traditional cake and ice cream theme or enroll in a recognition program that automates gift ideas for your employees’ birthdays, just be sure to do something. Birthdays are an opportune time to acknowledge each of your team members for who they are and the value they bring to your organization.
Birthdays are the perfect opportunity to celebrate your employees as individuals and not for anything work-related.
Employee Recognition Holiday Timeline
15 – National Relaxation Day – Prioritize self-care by slowing down and intentionally relaxing.
16 – National Independent Worker Day – This day is to honor the invaluable contributions of the contractors and freelancers you collaborate with.
26 – Women’s Equality Day – Celebrating the accomplishments and struggles of the heroines throughout history who’ve made great strides on behalf of women’s equality.
12 – Day of Encouragement – Exactly what it sounds like – 24 hours dedicated to encouraging and uplifting those around us (including your employees).
21 – World Gratitude Day – Countries all over the globe come together on this special day to support an attitude of gratitude by intentionally acknowledging all the things in life we’re grateful for.
26 – HR Appreciation Day – Human Resources is the primary link that connects leadership to the employees and employees to their purpose, so show your HR peeps some love!
4 – Improve Your Office Day – Make Marie Kondo proud! Decluttering their workspace and improving their surroundings is also an opportunity to boost employee morale and improve productivity.
10 – Mental Health Day – An ideal day to support your employees’ mental health and well-being by spreading awareness and offering valuable resources.
16 – National Boss’s Day – For all the bosses who don’t relentlessly nag about the cover sheet on our TPS reports – you’re the real rockstars!
1 – International Stress Awareness Day – The first Wednesday of November is dedicated to stress awareness and how to manage stress in healthy ways, like exercise, meditation, and mindfulness.
6 – National Team Manager Day – In the trenches every day, corralling people, managing time and information, empowering their teams to do their very best. Team Managers are quiet heroes that deserve a day of recognition.
10 – International Accounting Day – Shout-out to all the money people who make sure the lights stay on and we get paid!
4 – Extraordinary Work Team Recognition Day – A whole day to recognize the amazing members of your workgroup who prove every day that there in fact is no “i” in “team.”
5 – International Volunteer Day – Even if you don’t have volunteers “working” for your company, this is a great opportunity to honor your employees who spend their spare time making a difference in the world by volunteering for positive-impact projects and organizations.
8 – National Blue Collar Day – Without the laborers and trade workers of the world, we have no plumbers, welders, construction crews, convenience store clerks, landscapers, truck drivers, or assemblers, just to name a few. Need a better reason to recognize the Blue Collar workers around you?
Looking towards 2024, here are some employee recognition holidays for next year!
11 – International “Thank You” Day – An annual reminder to say “thank you” to the people in our lives who lift us up and make a difference – big or small.
24 – National Compliment Day – A simple compliment can make someone’s whole day and this is a whole day to dish them out.
26 – National Fun At Work Day – “All work and no play…” The last Friday in January each year is dedicated to making sure work doesn’t get dull.
5-11 – Freelance Writers Appreciation Week – Don’t forget to show some love to the Freelance Writers who help keep your company in the #1 search position!
17 – Random Acts of Kindness Day – Leave uplifting sticky notes on someone’s desk or surprise your colleague with their favorite latte. Random acts of kindness feel good to everyone involved.
25 – National Chocolate Covered Nut Day – That’s right! Celebrate as a team over perks like cocoa-coated cashews (or almonds, or pecans, or hazelnuts, or… you get the picture).
1 – National Employee Appreciation Day – The first Friday in March each year is all about employee appreciation so mark your calendar in advance.
8 – International Women’s Day – All across the world, celebrations are held annually to honor the advances and immeasurable impact women have made – and continue to make – on the world.
20 – International Day of Happiness – Just before Spring officially arrives, this day is set aside for acknowledging the happiness in our lives and focusing on what’s important.
18 – National High Five Day – No “down low – so slow” on the third Thursday of April. It’s high fives on tap, all day long.
24 – Administrative Professionals’ Day – Honor your Admins and let them know how much you appreciate their dedication, talents, and support.
28 – Workers’ Memorial Day – We have plenty of days here that celebrate your current employees, but it’s also important to remember those who’ve lost their lives (or their livelihood) while on the job.
8 – National Receptionists Day – The first voice your clients and customers usually hear is that of your receptionist. Be sure to recognize the valuable employees who manage the front lines of your organization.
15 – World Facilities Management Day – Keeping your physical office “in shape” and running smoothly is often a background role that doesn’t get much attention until something’s wrong. But this is their day to shine like the heroes they are.
16 – Supply Chain Professionals Day – These folks touch so many aspects of your business and may not get the attention they truly deserve. Good thing there’s a day for them!
2 – National Leave The Office Early Day – Exactly what it sounds like. Early dismissal, woo hoo!
21 – National Take Back The Lunch Break Day – It’s easy to slip into a routine of skipping lunch or grabbing something quick to eat at our desk between meetings. Not today! Also doubles as a great team-building exercise.
27 – National Work From Home Day – For those who understand how satisfying it is to attend a Zoom meeting in sweatpants from the comfort of their couch – this day for you.
13 – Gruntled Workers Day – The intent is to shine a spotlight on your employees who aren’t just good at their jobs, but also good at making a positive impact on the workplace and their colleagues.
24 – International Self-Care Day – A perfect day to bring awareness to the importance of focusing on our own well-being as well as our mental and physical healthcare.
25 – National Intern Day – Always the last Thursday in July, today is the day to show some love to the potential future leaders of your company – maybe, the world!
Employee Recognition Holidays: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What holidays do offices celebrate?
- A: Some holidays that are celebrated in offices are Boss’s Day, Administrative Professionals Day, and National Fun At Work Day. And to be clear, you don’t have to all be in person to celebrate. Many business owners also celebrate Federal holidays like Labor Day and Veterans Day.
Q: How do you celebrate affinity months at work?
- A: You can celebrate affinity months at work by providing educational information and resources for the specific holidays to expand your employees’ knowledge and understanding. You could even create trivia games for each one so everyone can have fun while learning about the holidays in more detail.
Q: What are some important dates to celebrate at work?
- A: Some important dates to celebrate at work are National Employee Appreciation Day and National Work From Home Day, but there’s a whole list of options above to celebrate all year long.