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Ideas for delivering meaningful moments, welcoming new employees, celebrating work anniversaries, and building teamwork.


Ignite Team Spirit with Inspiring Labor Day Traditions

Aug 07, 2023

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September, and it is a U.S. federal holiday that celebrates the American worker. The history of Labor Day goes back to the late nineteenth century when labor activism was high, and activists pushed for better working conditions and better pay. President Grover Cleveland signed a law that made it an official holiday on June 28, 1894.

Labor Day traditions continue with parades, picnics, and parties celebrating the hard work of teams and coworkers. Hence, this is a perfect opportunity to bring employee appreciation to the forefront of any business or organization.  


Understand Labor Day and Its Meaning

So, why do we celebrate Labor Day and why is it held in September? September was chosen because it was roughly halfway between July 4 and Thanksgiving holiday and for organizers that seemed like a good time. Today it signals back-to-school shopping and cooler months are right around the corner. For many, it's a time to relax and enjoy the last days of summer. 

Although not completely clear, the founders of Labor Day are generally attributed to two union leaders, Peter J. McGuire and Matthew Maguire. In the 19th century, workers averaged 60 or more hours in a six-day workweek. Unions were advocating for shorter work periods with paid time off. The birth of Labor Day truly was an effort to celebrate workers, their dedication, and their achievements in the workplace. 

Inspire Labor Day Traditions for Employee Appreciation

Many see Labor Day as a way to mark the end of summer and a day to relax. In the past, celebrating Labor Day meant a parade with many union members, organizers, and leaders in attendance. In the early days of the holiday, some parades had 10,000 men and women as participants! Today employers and businesses are using Labor Day to show employee appreciation and honor their teams and all their hard work. Let's look at ideas to show appreciation for your employees on Labor Day. 

Organize an Appreciation Event

One way to celebrate your team is to plan a Labor Day event. A company picnic is a great way to do that. Any company activities should happen before Labor Day to avoid interrupting family plans. Use the company picnic idea to incorporate activities and games that promote teamwork and build camaraderie. A team picnic is also a fantastic time to recognize outstanding employees and their contributions.   


Share Gratitude with Personalized Notes

For a more personal event, ask employees to show appreciation for one another through heartfelt thank-you notes. Notes can be sent via text and email, of course. A memorable handwritten message can be sent to their company mailbox or atop their desk. If the team has remote members, ask HR if they can mail it to their home address. Saying thank you to those you work with daily is a powerful way of showing gratitude and creating a positive work environment. For any organization, creating a culture of gratitude and recognition is essential. 

Introduce Labor Day Awards

A fun and lighthearted way to celebrate Labor Day and employee appreciation is to have a Labor Day Awards ceremony. Your company could hold the awards at a catered lunch or employee potluck, with winners announced then. The awards can be serious (Highest Sales) or silly (Best Dressed, Least Likely to Answer the Phone, etc.). Real trophies or silly gifts could be awarded. Humor and a lively environment help foster a positive and fun workplace. Be sure to take photos and post them on your social sites. 


Reflect on Achievements and Milestones

For something a little more professional in tone, managers can use Labor Day to acknowledge team achievements and big wins that happen throughout the year. The entire team is more likely to feel appreciated when all their efforts are publicly recognized. Leaders and managers can demonstrate how employees' efforts contribute to the company's objectives.

Additional ideas to call out team members include announcing work anniversaries and any employee that provides high-quality work over the long term. For example, employees that generate new business over the year or show excellent customer service all year long. For awards with a more professional tone, a personalized and thoughtful gift is best. 

Embrace Labor Day Traditions in a Hybrid or Remote Workplace

Celebrating Labor Day can be a challenge in the diverse settings we now work in. If you have teams that are all remote or a hybrid mix, employers should go the extra step to foster a sense of belonging and appreciation. Most of the ideas mentioned above can be adjusted by using Teams or Zoom meetings to include remote workers in employee appreciation meetings. If you take teams offsite and remote workers cannot attend, sending a gift basket could be a good stand-in. Be sure to tell remote teams to clock off during in-office events! 


Show Employee Appreciation Labor Day & Every Day

Take advantage of the significance of Labor Day and make it time to celebrate your hard-working and dedicated employees. Managers and leaders of course, need to keep an eye on the company's bottom line, but showing employees that they are appreciated is crucial. They make your company great, and showing you care is essential for maintaining a positive and productive workforce. 

Explore Choose-Your-Gift's corporate gift service for ways to show employee appreciation. We have many gifts and services that your employees will love. With 40,000 brand-name gifts or through our e-Gift Certificates, we can help you find the perfect gift for your perfect employee or team.