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Employees are the backbone of your company, and a little recognition goes a long way. According to a SHRM/Globoforce report, companies that utilize strategic recognition are 48 percent more likely to see high employee engagement. Even companies that spend as little as 1 percent of payroll on recognition are 79 percent more likely to experience better financial results.

Not making the investment in employee appreciation, however, can be costly—employees that don't feel valued are more likely to quit. But, according to a survey by Glassdoor, 53 percent of employees said they would stay at their jobs longer if their employers showed them more appreciation. Four out of five employees also said they work harder when their boss demonstrations appreciation for their work.

This year, Employee Appreciation Day is on Friday, March 2 in the United States. It's the perfect time to show your employees that you respect them, and care about their professional and personal success. Need some inspiration? Here are four companies who go above and beyond to make sure their employees know they are appreciated.

Black n Bianco Has a Beach Day

For Lisa Chu, owner of the California-based children's clothing store Black n Bianco, Employee Appreciation Day is her favorite day of the year. “It gives me an opportunity to show my employees that I am grateful for their contribution and dedication to my company. It's also an effective way to show my managers and supervisors the importance of appreciating our employees."

Last year, she took all of her employees on a trip to the beach in Santa Monica, where they relaxed in the sun and had lunch together. Her goal was to acknowledge how hard her team works and reward them with some much needed downtime. The effort, she says, paid off. “When my employees feel recognized for their contribution, they are more likely to be emotionally invested in their job," she says. “Performance increased and the energy in the office improved."

Social Sync Shows Appreciation Every Day

Over at internet marketing company Social Sync, they do more than just celebrate their employees on March 2. CEO and Founder Nick Morgan says they are constantly showering their staff with awards, certificates and department prizes like extra holiday hours, paid vacation, free wine, Amazon vouchers and team bonuses.

“I firmly believe that rewarding hard work is of greater importance in a work environment than punishing poor performance," he says. “It is easier to motivate people with rewards than bully them with consequences."

At iHeartRaves and INTO THE AM, Appreciation is Someone's Full-Time Job

Brian Lim, CEO of clothing companies iHeartRaves and INTO THE AM, has a full-time Director of Happiness on staff to make sure employees feel appreciated year-round. The companies throw personalized birthday celebrations, give out free music festival tickets as rewards and provide the top-performing team member with a $500 award each month.

The entire staff also gathers for a town hall meeting on a monthly basis to recognize major department wins, eat company-funded lunch and play games. “We are certain that these kinds of initiatives lead to decreased turnover and happier employees," Lim says.

Cornerstone OnDemand Adds a Personal Touch to Appreciation

Cornerstone, which calls its employees “Cornerstars," gave out appreciation cards to employees last year, and encouraged them to write notes to each other to express their gratitude. If a remote Cornerstar wanted to send a card, the company would assign someone to hand write it and deliver it to the recipient. This program was so well received that it went on for two months.

This year, the company is introducing an Employee Appreciation Badge, so that Cornerstars can use their employee management platform to let colleagues know they're appreciated.

So, how will you celebrate your employees this year? Make them feel valued on Employee Appreciation Day and every day, and they will return the favor in spades by working hard and staying loyal to your company.

Photo: Creative Commons