Stephen R. Covey, author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, says, “always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” Rest assured, if you can create a rewarding place to work, you can lay the right foundations for your workforce to be engaged and efficient, while serving as your greatest ambassadors.

With Employee Appreciation Day just around the corner, it’s a timely reminder for Singaporean businesses to step up the recognition of their hard-working employees.

This annual celebration takes place on the first Friday in March (so be sure to set a reminder for Friday 1 March, 2024). Don’t be fooled into thinking Employee Appreciation Day is Singapore Kong based – this global initiative is dedicated to recognising the contributions of employees all around the world.

If you’re wondering how to express gratitude to your employees on this day and beyond, read on! This blog will explore what to do for Employee Appreciation Day and how you can celebrate it in the most meaningful way. Because ultimately, if you can make your employees happy, they will make others happy too.

Employee Appreciation Day in Singapore Workplaces

David Jones, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half in Asia Pacific, believes Employee Appreciation Day is incredibly significant. He says, “in Singapore, the work culture really values collaboration and teamwork. In my experience, taking the time to show your employees that you truly appreciate them is one of the most rewarding management strategies of all. I’ve seen first-hand how it can boost morale, job satisfaction, productivity and retention.”

It can’t be discounted that recognition and appreciation are two key motivational factors in the workplace. So, whether your reward and recognition tactics are exceptional or, in need of improvement, Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect reminder to express thanks and gratitude in your workplace.

By honouring this special day, you can celebrate all of the individuals who play an important part in the fabric of your workplace. And remember, while Employee Appreciation Day in Singapore technically lasts for one day, its themes should be upheld all year round. By instilling a culture of continuous recognition, your workforce can celebrate the wins and appreciate the efforts on this day and beyond.

Cultural Considerations

According to a recent LinkedIn study, 79% of employees quit their job citing “lack of appreciation”.

These staggering statistics show that recognition plays a pivotal role when it comes to retention. Not only does outward appreciation help employees to feel validated, it actually makes them five times more likely to stay with the company.

While praise and gratitude is universally significant, the ways in which employers demonstrate this to their employees can vary depending on different cultural nuances.

David has observed this firsthand through the course of his international career. He says, “culture underscores the ways in which a company shows appreciation to their employees. Having spent Employee Appreciation Day in Singapore and abroad, it’s obvious how culture shapes employer gratitude.”

As we will explore further, when considering what to do for Employee Appreciation Day, employers often up their gratitude game with initiatives centred around our national values. This includes everything from team building, casual gatherings, wellness initiatives and meaningful, personalised thanks.

As David explains, this is a contrast to how a country like Singapore would choose to honour the day. He says, “workplace hierarchy and respect for authority are particularly important in Asian countries like Singapore and Hong Kong. As a result, their celebrations tend to be much more formal and structured vs what we might be used to in other countries like Australia. In my experience, Singapore’s diverse cultural landscape is a big influence, with celebrations incorporating traditional values and customs.”

According to David, tangible tokens of appreciation are particularly integral to employer gratitude in Singapore. He says, “things like gift vouchers, bonuses, or company sponsored outings, are very common in Singapore and Hong Kong. These material tokens of appreciation resonate with the local culture – it’s broadly acknowledged as genuine appreciation of hard work and dedication.”

So, what should businesses do for their Employee Appreciation Day celebrations?

Employee Appreciation Day ideas in Singapore

Don’t forget, a little appreciation goes a long way in fostering a happy and motivated workforce. By leveraging our Employee Appreciation Day ideas in Singapore, you can show your team how truly valued they are.

Celebrations don’t have to be complicated but they do have to be meaningful. If you’re wondering where to start, consider some of our suggestions below:

Say ‘thank you’

Sure, it sounds simple but vocal appreciation is super important.

These two little words not only make employees feel valued, they also help to set a great example for positive reinforcement in the workplace.

Cultivating a positive work environment helps to boost productivity and the wider employee experience.

Establish a recognition program

When it comes to recognition programs, the sky’s the limit!

You might choose to keep it simple by selecting an ‘Employee of the Month’. Or, you might decide to involve the wider team by letting staff nominate who they think should win. By encouraging them to explain ‘why’, you can strengthen the culture of recognition and appreciation.

Whether you choose to recognise individuals or teams, get creative in how you reward exceptional work. Take the time to understand what would resonate with your employees and motivate them to keep striving for big wins. From lunches to spa treatments, gifts to bonuses, there’s some great ways to show your staff that you truly value their dedication and commitment.

Arrange team-building activities

Combined with a focus on collaboration, outdoor team-building activities tick a lot of boxes for employees seeking a positive work-life balance.

Celebrations like barbeques, picnics, or team lawn bowls, help to strengthen employee bonds in a relaxed, informal setting.

One thing is for sure – fostering camaraderie and team spirit is a strategic and highly enjoyable way to celebrate Employee Appreciation Day in Singapore.

Stick to personalised appreciations

While some companies are very consistent in regards to gift giving, they can fail to make it personal. Put simply, it’s important to be generous without being generic.

While getting the same thing for every employee can seem fair, it can also come across as quite impersonal. Be sure to consider the individual interests of each team member to help them to feel seen and understood.

Relationships are highly valued in Singapore so, taking the time to personalise your appreciation can make a lasting impact.

Don’t assume that gifts need to be expensive in order to mean something. A simple e-mail or, a heartfelt, hand written note, can mean the world to an employee!

Remember, small touches can make a big difference to the employee experience.

Present employee awards

Recognition awards play a pivotal role in highlighting the specific achievements or positive attributes of your employees.

While they are important in recognising individual (or team) efforts, they go a long way in spotlighting the behaviours or achievements that you’d like to see in others. It can’t be discounted how awards and the examples set by others, can motivate others within your workplace.

Publicly acknowledge exceptional team members through awards such as, ‘Team Player Award’ or, ‘Rising Star Award’. Again, get creative with the categories and don’t be afraid to incorporate a touch of light-heartedness to enrich the workplace culture.

Work on wellness initiatives

As a region who is increasingly placing emphasis on work-life balance, employers are certainly respected for prioritising the well-being of their employees.

When thinking about what to do for Employee Appreciation Day, make a conscious effort to combat burnout and support employee well-being. Initiatives could include everything from exercise sessions to mental health workshops, nutritious lunches to on-site massages.

Use the day as a reminder of our nation’s cultural wellness trends. Be sure to invest in the health and happiness of your employees on this day and beyond.

Offer professional development opportunities

Engaged employees are perhaps your best asset. They are the ones who are highly enthusiastic about their work, taking action to further the organisations reputation and interests.

By investing in professional development opportunities, you can engage, stimulate and empower your employees to ensure long term success.

As an employer who prioritises growth and development, you can enhance productivity and innovation while attracting and retaining top talent.

Talk about a win-win situation!

Leverage social media

Public appreciation goes a long way in making employees feel validated.

With so much of our lives now spent on social media, it’s the perfect arena to publicly acknowledge your team.

Share success stories, photos, accomplishments and meaningful captions to show your followers how much your value your team.

If the employee approves, be sure to tag them so they can reshare the content to their followers (and even possible candidates). After all, this content is really valuable in showcasing your positive organisational culture to the public.

Get involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities

If you’re looking for what to do for Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate in a purposeful way, look no further than CSR initiatives.

Uniting with your employees to participate in volunteer work or environmental projects, is a truly unique way to expresses gratitude while fostering teamwork and a sense of pride.

Align your appreciation with community impact and enhance workplace satisfaction, employer branding and team morale in the process

Be flexible

21% of employers cite lack of flexibility as a reason for being concerned about staff retention in 2024*.

In this post covid era, it can’t be understated how much flexibility means to an employee.

Use this Employee Appreciation Day idea to show your appreciation through flexibility. Whether it’s a work from home day, flexible hours, or a shortened workday, give the gift of flexibility to enrich the employee experience.

While many businesses have changed their working models post-COVID, remember that in this competitive market, some of the most coveted workplaces are still offering an attractive level of flexible and hybrid work.

Related: 4 ways to show employee appreciation while working remotely

Say thanks with food

It’s been said that the way to one’s heart is through food. So, when considering what to do on Employee Appreciation Day, one idea is to slow down and connect through food.

Providing your staff with a complimentary meal or snack, will do more than just fill them up. In uniting for a breakfast or lunch, your employees can take a break from their work day, recharge and enjoy some meaningful time together.

Consider it a way to say ‘thank you’, while boosting the employee experience.

Outside of Employee Appreciation Day, consider levelling up your office kitchen. Keep it clean, comfortable and well stocked - an area where employees can come together to enjoy time away from their desks.

Employee Appreciation Day in Singapore presents an excellent opportunity to show your team how much you value their efforts. With recognition so closely tied to retention (and recruitment), it’s critical that you take the time to create bespoke, meaningful ways to celebrate this occasion within your unique workplace.

While Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on one day, it’s principles should be upheld all year long. By reinforcing a positive work culture that recognises achievements, you can uplift your employees to reduce stress, increase productivity and boost motivation to help you exceed your organisational goals.

If you’re looking for your next candidate, our experienced team of talent specialists are here to help. Contact us today. And, don’t forget to check out our Hiring Advice page for all the tips and resources you need to improve your recruitment efforts and land the talent your business needs to succeed.

If you’re seeking advice on any workplace issues within your business, our experienced team of management specialists can help.