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How to Show Worker Appreciation on Labor Day and Beyond

By Deborah Blumberg | Sep 3, 2018

According to a survey by BambooHR, 94 percent of satisfied employees share one thing: They're recognized at work. But it's not just supervisors who are in a position to offer worker appreciation. Union boards have an important role to play, too.

This Labor Day, September 3, is a great time to recognize your members for the hard work they do every day. Organizations that make an effort to support their people and boost morale see results, as happy employees are better problem-solvers and are 12 percent more productive overall.

To keep your members truly happy and engaged, though, recognition can't come just once a year. So consider using this Labor Day as an opportunity to plan and schedule ways to shine the spotlight on your union's members on a regular basis. Doing so will go a long way toward building trust and respect with your members, increasing the satisfaction and sense of empowerment they get from their membership.

Here are three ways to show your appreciation this Labor Day and throughout the year.

Host Union Member Appreciation Lunches

Everyone loves a free lunch, especially when it's in their honor. Organize a casual meal catered by a popular local restaurant to show union members that the board acknowledges their work and membership.

Coming together in a relaxed setting gives the board the chance to chat with members one on one and get to know them better. Consider inviting a key member of the community who benefits from their work, perhaps a local politician or business owner. Receiving an in-person thank you from a key stakeholder shows union members just how much the work they do matters.

Plan Special Learning Sessions

Another way to show union members they're appreciated is to invest in their careers. Plan a free continuing education session for members where they can learn a new skill or refine one they already have.

If the learning session will take place on a weekend, organize child care as a bonus so your members don't have to worry about paying a babysitter to take care of their kids. And providing drinks and snacks lets members know that they don't need to worry about bringing food or anything else — you've got their backs.

Highlight Employee Achievements

Try recognizing individuals for specific accomplishments rather than congratulating a group of workers altogether. Bringing separate attention to a standout member has been shown to improve performance — for them, the workers around them and the team as a whole.

Consider regularly naming a few members who have done an exceptional job. Call out members in an email or newsletter, on the union's website or during an in-person meeting. You could also take time during your member appreciation lunch to recognize individual contributions.

However you decide to celebrate your members for the holiday, be sure to keep the momentum around worker appreciation going through the end of the year and into the next.

With 15 years' experience writing for publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsday—Deborah Blumberg specializes in business and finance and health and wellness. She writes about topics including corporate communications, financial markets, real estate, renewable energy, cancer, health education, nutrition, supplements, the microbiome and functional medicine. She was a Knight Center fellow and a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow. Her time working in marketing and communications at JPMorgan Chase taught her how to best tell a company's story. She's adept at turning complex ideas into compelling copy. She's also an officer of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and a Women in the Visual and Literary Arts board member, and she is fluent in Spanish.