Labor Day is a federal holiday that recognizes the social and economic accomplishments of American workers. It celebrates a proud history that deserves to be remembered and honored. It’s the perfect day for businesses to celebrate the civic engagement contributions of their employees. Here are three Labor Day employee engagement ideas to help you reach CSR goals, both big and small.
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day is officially celebrated on the first Monday of September. Labor activists began advocating for a holiday in the 1880’s. They used their collective voice to lobby for a day that would recognize their contributions to the success of the nation – specifically, the prosperity of the world’s largest economy. First recognized among individual states, it was eventually deemed a holiday when Congress passed an act to officially recognize it as such on June 28, 1894.
How COMPANIES Can Support Employees on Labor Day
1. Give Employees the Holiday Off, and Pay Them for It
Provide your employees with a paid holiday. This practice can include just Monday, the actual holiday, but may also include the Friday before the weekend. Not only is observing important historical holidays like this an important part of staying civically engaged and culturally relevant, but it allows your employees time to recharge and come back refreshed, which means better productivity. It’s a win-win proposition.
In some parts of the U.S., this holiday can coincide with the first week or two of school, so many parents will be thankful for the additional time off. Employers can largely prevent burnout by supporting employees with regularly scheduled holidays and time off… and a strict no-work policy on holidays whenever possible.
2. Provide Volunteer Opportunities and/or Volunteer Time Off
Offer a paid volunteer day in addition to the holiday. Many organizations opt to host a company-wide volunteer day on the Thursday or Friday preceding the Labor Day holiday. Work with your Corporate Social Responsibility team to decide on an inclusive, accessible volunteer activity (or multiple activities, if you have employees or different locations.)
Provide clear communication about the volunteer event to your employees in advance so they can plan accordingly. Be sure to share that the time spent volunteering will still be paid. Alternatively, you can provide “volunteer time off,” allowing employees to choose their own volunteer activities. And if you don’t yet have an employee engagement program in place, now is the time to start mobilizing towards creating one for your next fiscal year.
3. Review Your Internal Systems and Structures to Ensure Adequate Employee Support
It’s a great idea to do an annual audit of your internal processes and policies – and what better time than around the Labor Day holiday? You might choose to begin with an anonymous employee survey you can send out company-wide to gather current data and important feedback about improvements. In fact, we recommend keeping some channels for employee feedback and suggestions open year round. Often, employees are eager and willing to set up their own initiatives or suggest solutions, but only if they feel welcome to speak up.
Examine your current pay structures, benefits packages and recognition programs. How often are you saying “thank you” to your employees through competitive salaries, insurance plans and paid time off, annual bonuses, paid lunches or corporate retreats? This internal audit is also an excellent opportunity to review your diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Where do you stack up among other employers in your industry with training and resources on DEI, as well as providing a safe and inclusive environment for your workers?
Above all, remember that your organization simply wouldn’t exist without your employees. Take this opportunity to celebrate Labor Day in a way that will feel meaningful to your workers. Remembering to thank them not only creates a culture of gratitude, it’s the right thing to do.