Employee Appreciation Day, an annual celebration that occurs on the first Friday in March, is a moment for employers across all industries to take time to emphasize gratitude and recognition of their employees.
Ahead of Employee Appreciation Day this year, Snappy surveyed more than 1,500 working Americans to understand the current climate of the American workforce. Unwrapped: Snappy’s 2023 Workforce Study is an in-depth, data-driven survey exploring employee satisfaction, workplace motivation, the climate of the American workforce, and how moments of gratitude and tokens of appreciation, such as gifting, can improve employee engagement, and increase retention and overall job satisfaction.
Coming off a year seemingly filled with movements of workplace renaissance and revitalization, as American workers and employers alike both re-evaluated what the future of work will look like, data shows there are surprising generational and gender divides into preferred working locations, expectations among employment experience, and what employees want from their employers in as they seek validation, gratitude, and signs of appreciation.
The majority of Americans surveyed report they prefer the opportunity to have flexible schedules with 21.9% preferring to work fully remote, and 30.1% embracing a hybrid mix of working from home and the office. Just less than half of Americans (48.1%) reporting their preferred working location is to be always in-person. Among workers who report they have plans to leave their current job in 2023 (18.5%), 6.6% report the primary reason for their plans to depart is they are seeking work that is fully remote, with 5.9% of Americans report they are primarily seeking work that is hybrid. Workers aged 45-54 are most adamant about finding fully-remote work, with 14% reporting remote work as their top priority when looking for a new job this year, followed by workers aged 24-35 (9.9%).
While 81.4% of the total population of American workers report feeling appreciated at work, it varies greatly by generation: 85.1% of GenZ (18-24) report feeling appreciated at work, while only 78.4% of 45-54-year-olds and 78.2% of those age 55+ feel appreciated. Men (84.4%) and gender non-conforming employees (80%) report they feel appreciated at work, while only 78.7% of women feel the same.
When it comes to ongoing daily motivation for employees in America, 1 in 3 (30.4%) surveyed workers report money and compensation are their top motivating factors. GenZ (18-24; 33.2%), GenX (45-54; 35.6%), and Baby Boomers (55+; 33.3%) all over-indexed on money being their primary motivator, while millennials 25-34 years old (25%) and 35-44 years old (22.5%) under-indexed. The most important motivator for millennials aged 25-34? Work/life balance (27.5%).
Top trends in the American workforce
Americans are confident about their job security.
Despite ongoing news breaks on big tech and media industry layoffs, most Americans (86.2%) surveyed report feeling confident about their job security as of January 2023. The majority of Americans (81.5%) report they plan to stay with their current company in 2023, with no plans to seek other employment. The top reasons these Americans want to stay in their current positions include feeling valued and appreciated by their company and team (21.7%), loving “everything about my current role and company” (19.6%), and fears of moving to another company in the current economic climate (17.8%); With workers 55+ being the most concerned about the current economy (22.9%), followed by those workers who are between the ages of 45-54 (21.5%)).
Among the 18.5% of Americans surveyed who report planning to leave their current roles for a new job in 2023, the top reasons for doing so include: seeking more money in a new role (26.6%), seeking career growth (21.3%), concern about the future of their current company (10.1%), not feeling respected or valued in their current role (8.4%), seeking better company culture (8%), and reports of having a bad manager and seeking a better leader in their next position (7.3%).
GenZ workers are hungry for in-person collaboration.
America is largely split on their preferred working location, with 21.9% of Americans preferring work that is fully remote, 30.1% seeking work that is hybrid, and nearly half of Americans – 48.1% – reporting they’d prefer to be fully in-person for work. After nearly three years of remote work rollercoasters, companies continue to reconsider and reevaluate what is best for their organization.
The age groups most eager to return to working in an office are 18-24-year-olds (48.5%) and 25-34-year-olds (51.4%). Those who wish to continue fully remote work is the workforce made up of 55+ year-olds (25.1%).
Did “Quiet Quitting” and “The Great Resignation” really happen on such a grand scale? Workplace buzzwords don’t reflect reality for the masses.
2022’s “viral” HR moments such as “The Great Resignation,” “Quiet Quitting,” and “Act Your Wage” may have been largely blown out of proportion on social media based on the report, as 3 out of 4 Americans (74.4%) report they did not actually participate in or take much notice of any of these trends.
Among Americans who did report taking part in these 2022 moments of workplace renaissance, 10.1% of Americans surveyed report they participated in “Quiet Quitting,” 10.4% share they partook in “The Great Resignation,” and 18.9% reveal they participated in “Act Your Wage”.
The most active participants of “The Great Resignation” included men (60%) ages 35 - 44 (34.4%). When it came to “Act Your Wage,” men (52.7%) ages 25 - 34 (31.2%) were the most engaged participants. And for those who took part in “Quiet Quitting,” the movement was primarily made up of men (56.8%) ages 35 - 44 (32.9%).
When it comes to viral trends that can impact the workforce, it’s important to check in with teams and individuals on a micro level. Leadership can offer anonymous pulse surveys to gather data on the current company atmosphere and morale, proactively uncovering opportunities to address any points of friction before they escalate. Managers and executives should proactively create opportunities and forums for employees to share feedback and give input on the business on a regular basis. Making gratitude and appreciation a cornerstone of company culture can go a long way in creating a work environment that offers stability, high morale, and reassurance for team members at every level.
Gratitude and recognition go a long way in employee engagement and retention
As humans, we have an innate need to achieve, and to have those efforts and accomplishments recognized. While the majority of American workers (80.5%) report they feel their contributions at work are recognized, 1 in 5 (19.5%) Americans feel they are not recognized for their contributions. When asked about their top motivators at work, 1 in 10 Americans (11%) report that recognition for their contributions is the most important motivator.
1 in 5 people (20.4%) in the American workforce shared that they very rarely or never feel appreciated at work. The people whom workers are most eager to seek appreciation and recognition from include their direct manager or supervisor (47.7%), their company CEO (17%), their peers (16.5%), and team members they directly manage (14%).
The majority of America (90.3%) can agree: they believe a company should recognize employee contributions with tokens of appreciation, such as gifts. Gifting can leave a big impact and lasting impression on employees, with nearly 9 in 10 (86.2%) reporting they “believe gifts and tokens of appreciation motivate my colleagues and team members.” And while 83.9% of employees share that receiving a gift on their work anniversary would make them feel appreciated and valued, only 47.6% of American workers report ever having received a work anniversary gift from an employer. According to Snappy’s 2022 Holiday Gift Report, 54.1% of employees reported they are more likely to stay at their current job longer if they received a meaningful holiday gift from their employer. But gifting and tokens of appreciation can go beyond the season of giving; 78.2% of Americans share that a birthday gift from their company would make them feel appreciated and valued.
Friendships in the workplace matter.
The professional and personal relationships cultivated in work environments make a big difference in performance and job satisfaction, as well as overall mental well-being. Gaining acceptance and having a sense of belonging among peers, managers, and leadership alike all help to create and foster a positive work culture.
According to Snappy’s report, 9 in 10 Americans (89.6%) report they have at least one good friend at their office, with nearly 7 in 10 (68.1%) reporting they have 3 or more friends in their workplace. It’s important to also consider that 10.4% of Americans active in today’s workforce report they do not have a single friend in their office. With fully-remote work still accounting for 17% of Americans’ working locations, and hybrid work accounting for 24.1%, it's critical for organizations to implement opportunities for socialization and cross-functional collaboration to drive conversations and help coworkers bond beyond their day-to-day functions.
Employees seek moments of joy and appreciation year-round
While the holiday season is always popular for gifting, acknowledgment of contributions and taking time to celebrate employees throughout the year are equally important. Employee Appreciation Day occurs annually on the first Friday in March. This holiday, though only celebrated by 37.1% of companies, is a moment for employers across all industries to take time to emphasize gratitude and recognition of their employees. The majority of employees across America (74.2%) wish their companies celebrated the holiday.
Acknowledging and celebrating employees can be done in a snap – the most desired way the American workforce wants their employers to share appreciation and recognize them is by sending them a gift (28.2%). Other tactics employers can implement for employee appreciation include treating them to lunch (26.5%), giving an award or shout-out in recognition of work they’ve recently completed (21.9%), sharing a thoughtful note (14.1%), or sending branded swag with a company logo on it (9.3%).
Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Don’t let an opportunity for recognition and honoring contributions pass by.
For more information, and to start sharing delightful gifting experiences that deliver gratitude and joy, visit Snappy.com now for your employee and client gifting solutions.