Employee Appreciation Day is the first Friday in March. This day provides an opportunity for employers to recognize staff members and show appreciation for the hard work they do for their organizations, including local government staff who often perform work that is not publicly recognized. With this in mind, ICMA staff researched what communities are doing to recognize staff. Here are five communities with different approaches to employee appreciation:

Fayetteville, North Carolina, has taken a staff-led approach to its employee recognition program. Fayetteville presents what are called Core Values Awards, which are submitted to a staff-led committee to select the recipients. Then the awards are presented at a special awards ceremony. A recording of this ceremony is posted on Youtube and on the city’s website so that the public can see all the great work the city staff does.

Dover, New Hampshire, focuses on showing how the city is a leader in creating best practices in several areas like customer service, performance management, and stormwater management. This focus on best practices allows the city to show off its staff by demonstrating how the staff has been recognized by other organizations.  

Another way to approach employee appreciation is what Daly City, California, does. Its program is set up with requirements that apply to all city employees. Rather than giving awards for special actions or specific programs, this recognition program looks at an employee’s overall performance and even includes a second tier for especially outstanding performers.

Employee appreciation should not just be an annual event or simply rewarding individual performance. It can be an ongoing process that happens throughout the year. Allen, Texas, uses its P.R.I.D.E. program to reward and honor its employees all year round by giving out spot awards that employees can redeem on their own timeframe.

One of the ways local governments use their employee recognition programs is to reinforce the organization's values. Kent County, Michigan, uses its program to focus on providing quality services to the community by rewarding employees who demonstrate excellent customer service and service delivery.

These are just a few of the local governments across the country who are appreciating their staff in a variety of ways. If you want to develop or improve your own employee appreciation or recognition program, here are a few ICMA resources to help you:


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