Team Morale

How to Build an Employee Appreciation Calendar

Employee appreciation calendars help separate top people managers from mediocre ones. If you want to do right by your team members, throwing together last minute celebrations for important milestones is not going to cut it!

Thankfully, it’s a straightforward and fun task to set up an employee appreciation calendar. We’ll walk you through all the steps you need to develop one of the most important tools you can use to boost company culture, increase retention and generally encourage a positive work environment!

Why do you need an employee appreciation calendar?

Employee recognition is important. Companies that celebrate employees’ contributions on a regular basis are more likely to have happy teams— not to mention more productive ones. All organizations are simply the sum of their workers. Without acknowledging the hard work that goes into day to day operations, companies will suffer from worker burnout and even lowered retention rates. Simply put— regular employee recognition is a must. 

Staying organized means nothing gets missed. Building a calendar to keep track of all the important moments where employee recognition makes sense ensures that you won’t overlook anything important, no matter how busy the year gets! Organizations intuitively use this planning tool to keep track of other important operations within their business— marketing campaigns, product updates, quarterly reporting; all of these things have calendars to guide them throughout the year. Employee recognition is just as important, and should be treated no different when it comes to yearly planning. 

Calendars let you plan well in advance. Some opportunities to celebrate employees take more effort than others to pull off. Big parties, luxe anniversary gifts, going away events— all of these things take time and energy to properly plan. Employee recognition calendars are extremely helpful in this regard. You will always know when to begin planning if you have a clear idea of when all of the events are happening! With a proper calendar to guide your efforts, you’ll never catch yourself scrambling to pull something together at the last minute again.

Budgeting is a breeze. Gifts for employee appreciation and celebratory events all require money. Without a calendar to preview the year ahead, it can be tricky to allocate the right amount of budget to each and every moment where an acknowledgment is necessary. With a calendar, you can plan well in advance to make sure you come in at just the right amount of spending. 

Step 1: Think about all of the important dates you’ll celebrate throughout the year

The first and most important step in building an employee appreciation calendar is to sit down with a blank document and start listing every possible moment you can think of that offers a chance to celebrate employees. When you first start, add more things than you think are needed— you can always edit them down later! This can take a while, but in the end it will be worth it. 

Some of the most common items to include are:

For your organization, some of these may make more sense than others. You might also have work-specific events that you will add. Either way, getting them all out on paper, and eventually onto a calendar, will give you an idea of what the entire year will look like. 

From there you can edit to your heart’s content! Does it make sense to have a quarterly celebration if you’re also doing an end of year celebration? Can someone’s retirement party get moved to accommodate a coworkers’ birthday celebration? Laying everything out in front of you will spark questions like these. Your answers to them will help whittle down your calendar into a workable plan for the year. 

Read more: Top Company Event Planners Discuss 2021 Holiday Party Planning Strategy with The Vendry

Step 2: Come up with appropriate celebrations and gifts for each event

With everything laid out in one place, your next task is to plan something special for each event on your calendar. 

This might seem daunting at first, but with the right perspective it can be a fun and creative task that lets you think deeply about how to appreciate the people you work with! Diversity is key when it comes to doing employee appreciation right— no one wants the same party to happen four times a year. Ditto with receiving the same gift over and over again.

For both budgeting and scheduling purposes, we recommend working backwards and starting with the biggest and most lavish employee recognition events of the year. These include your holiday parties, company offsites, summer BBQs and more. Not only do these events eat up a good amount of your budget, they will also take the most time to plan. Being aware of them early is a smart move.

From there you can work your way down the list and think about what you can do to celebrate each individual event! Some events might call for a small gift, like giving a custom mug to someone on their birthday. Others might require a more lavish gesture, like sending an employee a pair of custom Apple Airpods to celebrate a multi-year anniversary with your organization. No matter what you choose to do to celebrate, remember that being thoughtful about the specifics of the event will always yield you a better present in the end.

Step 3: Plan ahead so you have time to make each recognition special

OK— so you have every event in your calendar, and a rough idea of what you plan to do for each one. Now what?

The beauty of the calendar is that, provided you create it ahead of time, you have plenty of time to execute your ideas for each employee recognition event. For big events like parties and company offsites, there is a long tradition of planning ahead of time. But for smaller things like making sure employees receive gifts at the end of the year, or on their birthday, we are always surprised at how many people are left scrambling at the last minute.

With a well-thought-out employee recognition calendar, you avoid this problem by giving yourself a long runway leading up to each event. When you know everything that’s happening over the course of the year, it becomes so simple to pull together meaningful gifts and recognitions with time to spare. If you plan to give gifts for birthdays for example, being proactive and ordering well ahead of time will help you avoid headaches. Same for end of year gifts, gifts for employee anniversaries and every other event you can think of. The true power of the calendar lies in its ability to help you create experiences that really make an impact on your teammates. 

Step 4: Use our distribution and gifting platforms to make gifting a breeze can help you create incredible employee appreciation experiences by storing and distributing custom gifts at a moment’s notice. Not only do we have 1,000s of items across categories like wellness, tech, apparel and office, we also have the ability to put them in the hands of your employees no matter where they are.

  • Our distribution platform makes it a breeze to create custom gifts that we store in our facilities. As soon as the moment’s right, we’ll send them anywhere they need to go. Whether it’s one address or hundreds, we can reach your employees wherever they are. 
  • Using the swag gifting platform, you can allow your employees to choose their own gift from a selection of items you’ve approved. Once they do, we customize it and send it to an address of their choosing.
  • If you want to go all out, we can even help you make fully custom swag boxes chalk full of amazing custom items. Sometimes you have to take it to the next level, and we’re here to help!

In the end, employee recognition is about much more than gifts or parties. But if you’ve worked in an office before, you know that small gestures of appreciation can mean a tremendous amount if they are presented with intention and genuine thanks. What will you do to make your employees feel recognized in the workplace? 

If you are interested in learning about how can help you build and maintain an employee appreciation cadence, please fill out the form below. One of our expert swag representatives will be in touch as soon as possible to chat about your vision.