The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Dear HR Managers: Make Employee Appreciation Day a Career-Long Commitment, Not Just a One-Day Celebration

Whether you’re a CHRO or an HR manager, you most likely have staff who report to you. While the typical ways of celebrating Employee Appreciation Day (the first Friday in March), such as bringing in breakfast or throwing a surprise middle-of-the-day office party, aren’t bad, you can show your staff you care about them in other ways that might mean more to them than that free muffin.


Help New Employees Feel Part of the Team From Day 1
Think about your first day on the job. Did you receive a detailed schedule beforehand about what to expect on the first day? Did you get a warm, personal welcome from your supervisor and coworkers? Were you given clear instructions on tasks you were expected to complete by the end of the first week? If not, you may have felt frustrated or underwhelmed. No new employee wants to end the first day of their new job with more questions than answers, so make sure they feel like part of the team and are engaged from the very start. Read about ways hiring managers can help new employees hit the ground running and more onboarding wisdom from your higher ed HR peers.

Identify Potential Mentor/Mentee Relationships
As a leader in higher ed HR, you’re in the perfect position to identify employees and industry experts who could benefit from a mentor/mentee relationship. As an HR leader, make yourself aware of the unique talents and skills of your employees and begin thinking about from whom in the industry they might benefit from meeting with regularly for professional advice and insight. Mentor relationships benefit both the mentor and mentee; mentors gain insight into what less-experienced employees are facing and can use that information to become better supervisors or managers, and mentees will gain insights and knowledge from these leaders. Read more about the benefits and ways you can foster a mentorship program within your institution.

Consider How Work Flexibility Can Be a Work-Life Balance and Retention Booster
Improve employee satisfaction and retention by offering flexible work schedules. According to HuffPost, the flexibility of telecommuting helps employers retain key employees who may otherwise leave because of personal reasons, such as moving further from the office. In fact, employees who eliminate extensive work commutes often experience less stress and can better sustain a positive work-life balance, thus increasing the likelihood that they’ll be more engaged in and committed to their work. Learn more about the benefits of telecommuting that can attract prospective employees and help retain current employees.

Get creative with how you’re saying thanks to your staff for their hard work. As a higher ed HR leader, it’s part of your job to make sure your employees feel like a valuable part of the team, that they know you see their potential and are helping them reach the next stage of their career, and that their lives outside of work are important to you.

Related Resources:

Leading With Kindness: Characteristics of Caring Work Cultures (Higher Ed HR Magazine, CUPA-HR members-only)

Onboarding: A Strategic Partner Model for Bringing About Cultural Change (CUPA-HR webinar)

Five Ways to Enhance the Onboarding Experience for Student Affairs Professionals (The Higher Ed Workplace Blog)

Employee Engagement Toolkit (CUPA-HR members-only)

Stay Interviews Toolkit (CUPA-HR members-only)

Orientation/Onboarding Toolkit (CUPA-HR members-only)