Employee appreciation | Why this firm launched a Thank You Festival

Why this firm launched a Thank You Festival

Data from Socialcast previously revealed that 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated – signifying the importance of employee appreciation in the workplace.

And it seems employers are starting to take note by showing staff that they appreciate them – whether this is through extra time off, offering staff rewards or by launching a Thank You Festival – an initiative one employer recently rolled out.

Noting how tough the past year has been, Reward Gateway recognised that now is the right time for employers to step up and show their appreciation, while also saying ‘thank you’ to staff.

To coincide with Employee Appreciation Day (March 5, 2021), which took place earlier this month, the firm rolled out a Thank You Festival that featured bands, video messages of appreciation from its leadership team and ways for employees to chat in real time with one another.

Commenting on the initiative, Catrin Lewis, Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications at Reward Gateway, shared with HR Grapevine that the business “wanted to create a moment of gratitude, celebration and connection for our people”.

“Employee Appreciation Day gave us a perfect opportunity,” Lewis continued. “At Reward Gateway we also like to push the boundaries and we needed something that all people could enjoy collectively – and that's music. Music unites people.”

The company’s mission

Reward Gateway strives to follow its own mission of making the world a better place, something that this latest initiative also aims to achieve according to Lewis, particularly as the creative industries have suffered due to the coronavirus crisis.

She explained: “We mean that for everyone – no matter where they are located. The arts, music and creative industries have been hit so hard by the pandemic, and our festival was a perfect way to support them as well, making their world a better place to work as well. With this, we hoped to inspire other businesses to support an industry that really needs our help.”

Recognition at the core

Reward Gateway’s data previously discovered that 75% of employees say that just a simple ‘thank you’ from leaders would improve their morale and motivation. Meanwhile, research from Gallup revealed that 82% of people feel that recognition improves their job performance. These figures indicate how crucial it is to put recognition at the core of a business – something any seasoned HR leader would likely agree with.

Lewis also concurred with this notion, as she continued: “Employees are in a challenging place right now, adjusting to change so regularly, the overall uncertainty of the situation and struggles to communicate. People need reassurance that they are doing the right thing. They need to feel empowered and trusted to be working in their new remote environments. They want to be visible, and people want to celebrate with each other.”

With this in mind she shared that “recognition provides employees with the guidance and reassurance they need”.

To build this into a business, Lewis believes that it boils down to getting the backing of senior leaders, as she said: “Getting leadership to champion recognition can help tremendously.”

But she noted that the first step is simply saying ‘thank you’. “Most importantly, it begins by saying ‘thank you’. A recent Reward Gateway survey showed that 90% of HR workers agree that effective reward and recognition drives business results, but almost a third struggle to find the time to make it happen. Scheduling ten minutes once a week to recognise someone for living a company value or doing a good deed goes a long way,” Lewis concluded.

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