2022 Employee Engagement and Recognition Key Dates

03 Mar 2022

Workplace holidays, events, and monthly recognition advice

As a people leader, we’re likely preaching to the choir when we say it’s been a year. Though we can’t predict how 2022 will turn out, we can take the time to celebrate our most important asset: our employees. Recognition isn’t just a passing trend. In fact, 69% of employees reported they would stay at their company if there was better rewards and recognition.1

To support your rewards and recognition strategy, we created this calendar to highlight important dates you should know, from DEI holidays to feel-good days like Employee Appreciation Day. We also included quick and simple monthly recognition advice for companies of all sizes, budgets and interests so you can keep recognition top of mind all year-long.

Have a happy, productive, and rewarding year!


Tip: Focus on holistic health.

Though step challenges and biometric screenings are great, more and more employees want—and even expect—companies to go beyond physical health programs. Get your year started right with these 9 unique and holistic wellness challenges!

Key Dates:

  • January 17
    Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • January 20
    Get to Know Your Customer Day
    Recognize employees who demonstrate stellar customer service!
  • January 24
    National Compliment Day
    Remember those health goals? Reward employees who’ve stepped up their fitness game
  • January 28
    National Have Fun at Work Day
    Play virtual trivia or a classic—two truths and a lie


Black History Month

Tip: Speak your employees’ love (recognition) language

Everyone loves being recognized, but it’s not a size-fits all approach. Show your employees some love by asking them how they prefer to be recognized, then act on it! Need inspiration? Read our blog to learn about the different love languages in the workplace.

Key Dates:

  • February 1
    Chinese New Year
  • February 2
    Groundhog Day
  • February 13
    Super Bowl Sunday
  • February 14
    Valentine’s Day
    Send an e-valentine about why you appreciate your team
  • February 17
    Random Act of Kindness Day
    Random acts of kindness don’t always work at work. Read here to find out why.
  • February 21
    Presidents Day


Women’s History Month

Tip: Encourage peer-to-peer recognition

Did you know that peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive influence than manager-only recognition?2 This Employee Appreciation Day—encourage everyone in your company to recognize each other—not just managers or executives.

Key Dates:

  • March 1
    Mardi Gras
  • March 4
    Groundhog Day
  • March 8
    International Women’s Day
    Start a contest to celebrate inspirational women. Give a reward for employees who share their favorite female authors or movie producers—then share the results internally so your whole company has new recommendations!
  • March 17
    St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 20
    International Day of Happiness & Start of Spring
    Start the new season with recognition. Who’s already hit their Q1 goals? Recognize them!


Financial Literacy Month

Tip: Integrate financial health into your wellness program

Financial stress can wreak havoc on engagement. In fact, 78% of employees who deal with financial stress are distracted at work.3 To prepare your employees for the future, consider offering financial seminars and ask your employees want topics are most relevant for them. Give incentives for class participation and for employees who meet their goals, like starting a savings account!

Key Dates:

  • April 1
    April Fool’s Day
  • April 2
    Ramadan starts
  • April 11
    National Pet Day
    Send photos of your pets (or babies!) to your team
  • April 15
    Passover Starts
  • April 17
  • April 21
    World Creativity and Innovation Day
    Start a suggestion box—then recognize employees for their creativity
  • April 27
    Administrative Professionals Day
    Reward the ones who organize your company: admins


Mental Health Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish Heritage Month

Tip: Cultivate a culture of belonging

Recognition isn’t just about treats or gifts—it’s also about making sure your company fosters a culture of belonging for all employees. With critical dates like mental health month, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage month, and Jewish heritage month, now is the perfect time to evaluate whether your recognition strategy is inclusive. Consider highlighting Asian and Jewish employees on your internal blog, starting employee resource groups (ERGs), or simply having authentic conversations around AAPI, Jewish and mental health issues.

Key Dates:

  • May 5
    Cinco De Mayo
    Host a Cinco de Mayo happy hour with a twist. Instead of just margaritas and tacos, add in some trivia questions to learn about the meaning behind this day
  • May 6
    National Nurses Day
  • May 8
    Mother’s Day
  • May 11
    Eat What you Want Day
  • May 20
    Bike to Work Day
    Encourage employees to get active—then post a bike selfie
  • May 21
    National Burger Day
    Almost every city has a famed burger. Send your co-workers the best burger of their city via a food delivery card or app
  • May 30
    Memorial Day


LGBTQ Pride Month

Tip: Warm up to summer fun

Let’s face it—when summer rolls around, many of us would rather be outdoors than sitting in Zoom meetings. If you haven’t already, consider embracing flexible scheduling, host a virtual picnic, or give your employees an extra day-off to enjoy summer fun.

Key Dates:

  • June 1
    Global Running Day
  • June 3
    National Donut Day
    We love any excuse for sweets. Send surprise treats to the team!
  • June 18
    International Picnic Day
    Host a potluck (virtual or otherwise) at a local park
  • June 19
    Father’s Day & Juneteenth
    Have teams watch a short video or podcast on the significance of Juneteenth—then discuss in your next team meeting
  • June 21
    Start of Summer
  • June 24
    Take your Dog to Work Day


Tip: Embrace summer hobbies

You are a human first and an employee second, and your employees are no different. With many people reporting burnout during work-from-home, show you value your employees’ human side by giving them time to do a hobby each week. Then, give rewards to those who post pictures of activity on your company’s internal communication channel!

Key Dates:

  • July 4
    Independence Day
  • July 7
    Haj starts
  • July 9
    Eid al Adha starts
  • July 11
    All American Pet Photo Day
  • July 18
    Nelson Mandela International Day
  • July 24
    International Self-Care Day
    Sponsor a massage, meditation session, or other wellness treat for your employees
  • July 26
    National Disability Independence Day
    Employing people with disabilities fosters inclusivity and supports the bottom-line. Encourage teams to discuss famous people with disabilities and how disabilities can be an asset to the workplace
  • July 28
    National Intern Day
  • July 28
    National Cheesecake Day & International Day of Friendship


Tip: Celebrate the Small Wins

Though it’s easy to recognize team members when they’ve hit a major project milestone or during the holidays, there’s also little moments in-between that often get forgotten. Did one of your employees go the extra mile for a customer or take a training course? Increase your employees’ engagement by rewarding the small wins!

Key Dates:

  • August 2
    Ice Cream Sandwich Day
  • August 3
    Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
  • August 9
    World Indigenous People
  • August 16
    Tell a Joke Day
    Send a dad joke or meme to your team
  • August 17
    National non-profit day
    Do you have volunteers or non-profit vendors, clients, or customers? Feature them in an employee newsletter about how they contribute to the mission of your company
  • August 26
    Women’s Equality Day


Hispanic Heritage Month

Tip: Schedule a hackathon

As we come back from summer vacations and ramp up for Q4, consider hosting a hackathon for employees to brainstorm new products or services. This gives people a break from their daily routines and boosts their skills, which are all critical for engagement. Give rewards for participation and to employees for ideas that your company uses!

Key Dates:

  • September 5
    Labor Day
  • September 10
    Suicide Prevention Day
    Brainstorm with your employees on how to improve mental health at work—then act on it
  • September 22
    Start of Fall
  • September 25
    Rosh Hashana begins
  • September 27
    National Coffee Day
    Break silos by encouraging employees to have coffee with someone new


Tip: Keep recognition inclusive

Celebrating your people also means embracing inclusivity. Are there any employees that feel left out of your recognition initiatives? For example, if you have an online recognition platform, how are you supplementing your efforts for front-line workers? Ask your employees how they feel through an employee committee or anonymous survey, then reward them for participation!

National Disability Awareness Month
Global Diversity Awareness Month

Key Dates:

  • October 4
    Yom Kippur begins
  • October 7
    World Smile Day
  • October 10
    Indigenous Peoples Day 2022 & World Mental Health Day
  • October 16
    Boss Appreciation Day
    Recognition isn’t just for employees. Ask teams to send their boss a quirky award, like “Best Dressed” or “Funniest Boss” award
  • October 24
    Diwali begins
  • October 31
    Have your employees send photos of themselves and their families in costume


Native American Heritage Month

Tip: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

Thanksgiving and gratitude go hand in hand, but did you also now that cultivating gratitude among your employees is a sure-fire way to boost engagement? Aside from recognizing your employees—which is always appreciated—you can cultivate an attitude of gratitude by encouraging employees to donate to minority-owned businesses or having conversations on Native American history. Three-quarters of employees who work for a company with similar values report higher satisfaction with their jobs. Besides that, giving or paying respect to various cultures can boost happiness and joy!4

Key Dates:

  • November 11
    Veteran’s Day
  • November 13
    World Kindness Day
  • November 24
    Thanksgiving Day
    Chances are your employees’ Thanksgiving celebrations are as unique as they are. Take 5-10 minutes in a team meeting to discuss your employees’ traditions
  • November 26
    Small Business Saturday
    Recognition isn’t just for employees. Ask teams to send their boss a quirky award, like “Best Dressed” or “Funniest Boss” award
  • November 29
    Giving Tuesday
    Encourage employees to give back to a meaningful cause—or reward your employees while giving back to non-profits


Happy Holidays!

Tip: Focus on holiday self-care

With the holidays comes an influx of events and responsibilities. Encourage employees to make time for themselves through mindfulness, exercise, or doing a morning or evening routine. Remember to take time out for yourself too—planning a year of recognition and rewards isn’t easy. Celebrate that you got through another year.

Key Dates:

  • December 5
    International Volunteer Day
    Teams that volunteer together stay together. Whether your teams are in the office or dispersed, encourage employees to volunteer with a local charity or donate to a social cause
  • December 18
    Hanukkah begins
  • December 21
    Winter begins
  • December 25
    Christmas Day
  • December 26
    Kwanzaa begins
  • December 31
    New Year’s Eve

Recognition Any Day

With so many holidays and recognition ideas, it can be challenging to decide which days and causes to promote in your company. Ultimately, the best recognition strategy involves your employees’ feedback, so ask them what matters to them—then, rinse and repeat!

We hope this calendar inspires you to make recognition and rewards an integral part of your employee engagement strategy. Whether it’s a holiday or not, your people are worth celebrating any day of the year!

Blackhawk Network

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Start a conversation with a rewards and recognition expert or call us at 866.829.0707.

Click here to view full calendar

1 6 Statistics that Confirm Employee Recognition and Retention are Related, https://www.toolbox.com/hr/employee-recognition/articles/employee-recognition-and-retention-statistics/, 2021

2 The 2018 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Report, http://go.globoforce.com/rs/862-JIQ-698/images/SHRM2017_GloboforceEmployeeRecognitionReportFinal.pdf?_ga=2.181556775.1655145278.1641946474-1785039714.1641946474, 2018

3 Morgan Stanley Study Finds that Financial Wellness Is an Opportunity to Reduce Employee Stress, Improve Retention and Engagement, and Differentiate Companies, https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-business-stress-job-stress-management-mental-health-1165d1e23e934b4a8d828844b97fb0ac, 2019

4 Money is no longer the biggest incentive in selecting a job, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/11/29/money-no-longer-biggest-incentive-selecting-job/901899001/, 2017

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