Additional Team Building Resources

Employee Appreciation Day 2022: What to Know & How to Celebrate

employee being congratulated by boss

Who doesn’t love being appreciated? It feels good to know that others value you, whether in or out of the workplace. Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect time to show your employees how much you value them!

Creating a culture of appreciation within your company is easy to do and the rewards are plenty. When employees are recognized for their accomplishments, they are more motivated, productive, and engaged. They are also happier and this will give your morale a big boost!

Below are 10 employee appreciation day ideas, some employee appreciation day themes, and 10 employee appreciation day gifts. But first, learn more about this holiday you absolutely should celebrate every year!

Table of Contents

When Is Employee Appreciation Day 2022?

What Is Employee Appreciation Day And Why Celebrate It?

How Do You Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2022?

cartoon employee being given multiple thumbs up

When is Employee Appreciation Day 2022?

Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday of every March. In 2022, employee appreciation day is March 4. While not an official holiday, National Employee Appreciation Day should find its way onto your calendar! 

Here are the upcoming dates.

2023 – March 3

2024 – March 1

2025 – March 7

The weekdays leading up to EAD can be celebrated as EAD Week. Why limit recognition to just one day or even one week a year? Learn more about employee appreciation ideas year-round.

What Is Employee Appreciation Day And Why Celebrate It?

What Is Employee Appreciation Day?

It is a once-a-year holiday when employers across the country honor their employees for their hard work and contributions to the company.

Bob Nelson, considered a global expert on employee recognition and employee engagement created Employee Appreciation Day as a result of research revealing the positive impact employee appreciation can have on a company’s success.

Collaborating with his publishing company, Nelson was able to make Employee Appreciation Day appear on workplace calendars back in 1995. (Read more about Bob Nelson’s reasoning for choosing the first Friday as EAD).

Since then, Employee Appreciation Day has become a tradition in the United States, so much so that prominent business magazines and journals like Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and Business Insider routinely write about the holiday and employee recognition overall.

boss celebrating employee in front of others

Why Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day

It’s no secret that positive employer-employee relations are essential to a company’s long-term success. Many employers think that bonuses and other workplace perks let their employees know that they are truly valued as an integral part of the company. 

But studies show that employees need more than that to want to put in their best efforts and remain loyal to the company. Appreciation can have a ton of benefits!

  • Enhances Motivation. According to the Harvard Business Review, F40%percent of employed Americans report that recognition for their hard work would increase their drive to perform well.
  • Increases Retention. One study found that 79% of employees left their jobs due to a lack of recognition. A Glassdoor survey showed that 53% of employees said they would remain at the company longer if they received more appreciation.
  • Improves Productivity. Forbes reports that 81% of employees surveyed felt that they were more motivated to work harder when shown appreciation by the powers that be.
  • Creates A Culture Of Appreciation. Statistics show that 82% of employees want more recognition from their managers.
cartoon employees looking at graph going upwards

Knowing all of the above should incentivize you to develop a company culture of appreciation. There’s no better time to start than EAD!

How Do You Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day 2022? 

There are so many ways to honor your employees on EAD (or any time of the year). Below are EAD Ideas, suggestions for themes, and also gifts, to use in 2022 and beyond.

Employee Appreciation Day 2022 Ideas

1. Present Everyone With A Certificate Of Recognition

Create Certificates of Appreciation customized to each employee. Mention their specific talents or contributions. Use Canva to create them and have a ceremony to hand them out.

2. Give Time Off To Volunteer

Studies have shown that people who volunteer have a better work-life balance than those who don’t. Show your employees that you care about their well-being by giving them time off to do volunteer work. Consider volunteering as a team. It’s a great team building activity.

employees volunteering

3. Donate To Your Employees’ Charities Of Choice

If you can’t get out of the office to volunteer, donating to your employees’ charities of choice shows them you value them and the things that they care about.

4. Launch Casual Fridays

Employee Appreciation Day is an ideal time to tell the crew that every Friday, they will be appreciated for their contributions and not their wardrobe!

5. Give Them A Heartfelt Thank You Card

Sometimes a genuine message letting someone know how much you value them can mean more than a small gift. Read here for employee appreciation message suggestions.

6. Have Leadership Express Their Gratitude

Twenty-eight percent of employees feel that the most memorable recognition comes from a higher-up. Ask someone in leadership or your CEO to write personal messages to everyone. Check here for some inspirational quotes to include!

7. Get Out Of The Office And Play

Take a field trip, play a scavenger hunt, go to an escape room, or have a picnic. Do anything that is fun and far away from the office so they can leave their worries behind.

Prison Break The Escape Game

8. Bring In A Catered Lunch

Bye-bye local pizza, hello panini, and pasta from a nice restaurant or caterer. Demonstrate that you pay attention to the little things by ordering vegetarian or vegan dishes for those who want them.

9. Have A Well-Being Day

Ask your employees in advance what kind of service or activity they would enjoy. Some might want a masseuse, while others will feel uncomfortable with that service in-office. Have alternatives like gift cards to a salon or Spa Treatment gift baskets.

10. Hold An Office Party

Go all out and throw a party! Decorate your office. Bring in fantastic food and drinks. Play games. Just don’t plan it for outside of work hours. No one appreciates that!

Read on for some fun themes to liven up the party!

employees dancing in office

Employee Appreciation Day 2022 Themes

If you do choose to throw a party on Employee Appreciation Day, here are a few themes to make the occasion special.

Awards Presentation Party

This theme lends itself perfectly to the occasion. Organize a ceremony-like party with stylish decorations and nice hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tell everyone to dorn their swankiest outfits.

A few weeks in advance of the awards ceremony, start thinking about each employee’s special trait or something they do exceptionally well so you can choose a gift for each person.

Perhaps they always have a positive attitude at work or go out of their way to help their colleagues. Maybe they are a spreadsheet wizard. Whatever it is that makes them so valued by the company, choose a gift that reflects their talent.

The gifts don’t have to be expensive. Coffee mugs with a comment about that employee’s talent work well. You can get small trophies or certificates of employee appreciation alongside a gift card. Below we have other suggestions for Employee Appreciation Day gifts.

employee receiving award

Decades Night

Always a popular theme, have everyone dress up in the attire of a chosen era, like the 1920s, 1960s, or 1980s. Select food that was popular in that era and create a playlist of decade-appropriate songs!

Superhero Party

Have your already heroic employees dress up like their favorite superhero! Encourage your employees to pick a superhero whose powers match best theirs or powers they wish they had! Then let everyone try to interpret how the superhero’s powers relate to the employee!

10 Employee Appreciation Day Gifts

1. Brighten Up Their Workspace

Employee Appreciation Day is around the corner from Springtime. Give everyone some greenery or flowers to get a jump start on the nice weather.

2. Quality Travel Mugs

A no-spill travel mug or a stainless steel water bottle are both affordable and thoughtful gifts.

3. Gift Cards From Their Favorite Online Shops And Stores

Let them pick their own gift. You cannot go wrong! 

cartoon employees gathered around gift card

The nicest part of this gift is that it shows them you know a bit about them or took the time to find out what they do for a hobby.

5. Buy Them An Audiobook Or Online Music Subscription

Perfect for the book lovers and music aficionados in the group!

6. Give Them A Subscription To Headspace 

Show your employees that you value them and their mental well-being by purchasing a subscription to Headspace. They can learn guided meditation that will help with sleep and stress.

7. Upgrade Desk Accessories

Replace plastic or wire mesh office supply holders with a nice desk set or get quirky, fun pen cups filled with their favorite pens!

8. Give Upscale Food Baskets

Skip those bland crackers, cheddar cheese, and salami baskets. Go all out and give upscale food baskets for sophisticated palates.

gift basket

9. Work From Anywhere Day

If your company is remote, this gift isn’t a good choice. But if you are an in-office workplace, let everyone work from wherever they want. Be flexible with their work hours that day too.

10. Hand Out Cash In Gift Cards

It may seem tacky, but if you write something personal inside the card to express your gratitude, no one will be complaining about this gift.


It’s all too easy amidst the hustle and bustle of the work day to set aside time to tell an employee that you truly appreciate them. Celebrating Employee Appreciation Day annually ensures that you take that time to demonstrate your gratitude to every one of your workers. 

Even if small gestures are part of your company culture, Employee Appreciation Day allows you to formally recognize your employees’ contributions and reinforce their importance to the company.

Employee Appreciation Day for 2022 has passed, but you don’t have to wait for the next one to roll around. Start expressing your gratitude now, Find out how here!