Taking the “Labor” out of Labor Day

CorneliusIn the United States, Labor Day is a holiday celebrated the first Monday in September. It’s a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes an annual (national) tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of this country.

The equivalent holiday in Canada, Labour Day, is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. In many other countries (more than 80 worldwide), Labor Day is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, which is observed on May 1.

Many people look forward to Labor Day. Being off work and spending time with friends and family is how many spend their time. We dust off the BBQ grills and enjoy the fruits of our “LABOR.”

We celebrate this day to honor the American worker. Employers can also do other things, other than giving employees time off, to honor their workers and show appreciation for the hard work staff put into daily work activities. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way.

As evaluated by Quantum Workplace, recognition by/from superiors is one of the driving factors contributing to employee engagement. In fact, studies find that feeling valued is one of the top three critical areas contributing to overall employee engagement. Employees feel valued when they’re recognized.

So, let’s take the “Labor” out of Labor Day and do what’s intended by celebrating the laborers that work to make our companies what they are today.

I assure you that Workforce Solutions wouldn’t be as respected in the community if it weren’t for the collective efforts of the workers who ensure that quality customer service is what each customer gets when they arrive at one of our locations. And we, as employees, are recognized and appreciated by our managers for delivering that quality service.

Let’s talk about ways that employers can express appreciation for their staff without having to break the bank to do so…

1) Encourage fun activities and boost morale. Morale is often improved when people enjoy the “small” things about their day. Example: Weekly meeting with fun activities (games) before starting the work day. This costs nothing and goes a long way with staff.

2) Simply saying “Thank You” with a hand written letter. Example: AdvancedMD CEO, Jim Pack, handwrites thank-you notes to employees on $2 bills. “In three years of doing this, only one employee has asked if he could spend it.” – Jim Pack. Now that’s a great gesture, but buying inexpensive thank you cards and having upper management write letters would show genuine appreciation for staff.

3) Reward effort as well as success. “Even if ideas sometimes fail, you want employees to keep producing them,” said Alan Weiss, President of the Summit Consulting Group Inc, and further adds

“When I consulted with the CEO of Calgon, we created an annual award for ‘the best idea that didn’t work’ and presented a loving cup at the annual awards dinner. This stimulated innovation and positive behavior, not ‘winning.’”

These are a few suggestions that might work to show how important staff effort is to the organization. These gestures take the “Labor” out of Labor Day and ultimately increase productivity and morale.

For more information, and to find out more ways that you can reward your staff for what they do, visit

Happy “Labor” Day!

Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutionsorganization.

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