The first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day. Businesses and organizations plan celebrations across the country, recognizing the achievements and contributions of their employees. Bob Nelson, a founding Recognition Professional International board member, together with his publishing company–Workman Publishing–created National Employee Appreciation Day in 1995.
Next to products and services, employees are one of the company’s greatest assets. An employer may show their gratitude for an employee’s efforts and contributions to the goals of the company in a variety of ways, from rewards to verbal interactions. Expressing employee appreciation increases employee job satisfaction and overall company morale.
The efforts and contributions of employees with a vision impairment are equally important on this special day. Despite the fact that about 70 percent of people with disabilities are not working, many have rewarding careers. They perform meaningful work that is fully recognizable and should be rewarded like their sighted peers.
Many employees with a vision impairment use adaptive technology to perform their daily work duties such as a screen reader or refreshable braille display on their PC. Others might use low vision aids and devices like large print or hand-held magnifiers. These devices and many more help visually impaired employees complete their work tasks and contribute to the office environment.
Employees with visual impairments bring many soft skills to the office that come from living the life of a disabled person. Learning how to troubleshoot, problem-solve, negotiate and communicate effectively on a daily basis are skills that have been honed and developed over time that an employer can greatly appreciate. These transferable skills add value to any office, team or work setting.
If you are an employer looking for ways to show appreciation, here are some suggestions
1. The traditional “thank you” note is always a winner. When a job has been done well, a heartfelt “thank you” means much more than you might think! Copies of these notes can be kept as part of an employee’s personnel file and used as a supplement during a performance review.
2. If you are honoring a group, department or acknowledging a team effort, the famous office pizza party is a hit. If everyone pulled together and made the job happen, reward them with a party, casual dress day or even close the office early so they can spend some well-earned time with family.
3. Sound the alarm and let others know. Use the company newsletter, social media, email blast or announcement at a staff meeting to let others know how much you appreciate that specific employee.
4. Give tangible gifts. Employees love gift cards for things they need such as gas, groceries, coffee and food. An Uber or Lyft gift card would be ideal for your employees who don’t drive and/or take public transit to work.
5. Give time off from work. Hardworking employees would love some R&R, so reward them with some vacation or comp time. They will come back to work refreshed and ready to go.
By showing employees appreciation, companies will not only have more happy and satisfied workers but an overall boost in productivity and outcome as well. This will result in positive benefits for everyone.
Contact us to learn more about providing employment opportunities to people with a vision impairment.