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Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day by Fueling Employee Work Passion

Jason Diamond Arnold

March 1, 2019

Last month, our culture celebrated Valentine’s Day. I was struck by how busy the local flower stand was on my way home from work that Tuesday evening. It’s no surprise many people (mostly men) were scrambling, last minute to pick up a token of love for their significant other. Truth be told, I decided to pull in and join the masses, by picking up a few gifts for some of the special people in my life. As I shuffled my way around the maze of flowers, bumping into other desperate souls, I thought to myself, what makes this day so special? Why do we celebrate love this one day a year? How do we continually keep the passion alive for the things that we care about the most in our lives?

From Bosses Day to Administrative Professionals Day, there always seems to be some celebration that results in cupcakes or decorations in the breakroom area—tokens of appreciation for the roles people play in our work life. But how do we keep these celebrations from being perceived as only a token; rather than a reflection of a larger gratitude we have for the role our colleagues play day in and day out?

How can you take the concept of one day and help fuel employee motivation all year long? Find out from @InspireSoftware. #EmployeeAppreciationDayTweet This!

March 1st, 2019 is Employee Appreciation Day, and it is another opportunity to celebrate the contributions of the people who bring the vision and values of an organization to life every day of the year. But like Valentine’s Day, celebrating employee appreciation one day a year is not enough to fuel your workforce toward optimal performance. Employees need to feel passionate and motivated to engage in their work and intentionally produce results they actually care about on a continual basis.

What Influences Work Passion

When employees are passionate about their work, they are more engaged in the execution of the strategy of the business. According to Dr. Drea Zigarmi, CoAuthor of Achieve Leadership Genius, and the lead researcher on Employee Work Passion, these factors include:

  • Meaningful Work

  • Autonomy

  • Collaboration

  • Fairness

  • Recognition

  • Growth

  • Connectedness to Colleagues

  • Connectedness to Leader

Employee work passion describes a state where employees are engaged in their work through their ongoing intentions to perform at a high level, use discretionary energy at work, actively exercise corporate citizenship, promote the organization, and stay with the organization.

When employees are passionate about their work, the factors that influence work passion are met by their individual standards and they’re more willing to be engaged in their work than someone who lacks passion for their role. Reaching this state of mind for each employee is a highly personal process, and it can be difficult for leaders to ensure each employee’s standards are met in the categories listed above.

Leadership’s Role in Employee Work Passion

It’s important to first recognize there are several contexts of leadership when it comes to effectively cultivating employee passion. One of the most important contexts is through the one to one relationship between an employee and their manager. Regular one to one conversations have long been cited as one of the most powerful ways to help employees stay engaged and effectively pursue their goals.

These collaborative conversations not only help employees in their progress towards goals, but it also helps build trust and gives employees an opportunity to develop a meaningful professional relationship with their manager. From both the perspective of the employee and the manager, creating a growth-oriented culture for your company through effective one to one meetings is the best way to help employees stay passionate about their work.

One on One Conversations:

Taking a few minutes regularly to prepare for one on one conversations is an opportunity to work directly with employees and develop a growth mindset through conversation starters such as, “What can this organization do to support you?” “What type of direction do you need in pursuit of your objective at this time?” “How is your motivational outlook toward this goal or your role in general?”

By asking simple questions like these, you’re creating a connection with the employee, not only as a leader, but you’re also connecting the individual with the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategies. Giving employees the chance to answer these questions helps employees feel like they’re growing and the organization cares about what they do next. Instead of emphasizing only the bottom line, having discussions about how you get to the bottom line communicates to the employee that they are more than just a transaction or cog in the machine but they are an important part of achieving the company’s objectives and serving the client.

#EmployeeAppreciationDay isn’t just about fun; it’s about much more. Get inspiration from @InspireSoftware you need to make your #employees feel appreciated every day. Tweet this!

Understanding a common leadership language and the motivational needs of individuals is at the core of effective performance conversations. When leadership cares about the employee’s growth and development to become an independent achiever and contributor to the organizational goals, the employees feel appreciated and highly engaged on a regular basis.

What to do today: Do you have a performance conversation with an employee coming up? Will you be talking to any individuals about project progress and processes today? Make sure you intentionally approach your next conversation with a growth mindset and ask questions that align their individual passions with the needs of the team, the unit they serve in, and the organization’s values and strategy. Ask them what you and the organization can do for them to help them reach their goal. By doing so, you will be cultivating a growth mindset and demonstrating your appreciation for them.

By ensuring your company creates a culture of growth, you will be able to reinforce appreciation for employees all year long, rather than just one day out of the year. A few tokens of appreciation for your employees are nice from time to time, but make sure to keep the fire of employee passion an ongoing experience in your organization.

Looking for more employee engagement techniques? Download our full guide to Employee Engagement and learn how to increase positive emotional connection, build future leaders in your organization and more!