Did you Honor Labor?

Another Labor Day has come and gone. Summer is over, pools are closing, and we have to put away the white bucks and linen pants until Memorial Day. Maybe it’s my age, but I find myself reflecting more and more on the (true) meaning of holidays lately. Over Independence Day, as an example, I found a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it for the first time since eighth grade. Sad, I know.

While its past is storied, the U.S. Labor Day was founded to celebrate “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations,” our workers who make this engine go round, and the overall economic, civil, educational, and spiritual components of our workforce.  When it comes down to it, HR is a major stakeholder in this holiday. Yet I wonder whether any of us put any more significance on it than the average Joe out there. Glassdoor.com recently conducted a survey that  makes me think we probably didn’t.

  • Less than half (41%) of people think of Labor Day as a celebration of U.S. workers
  • More adults associate the holiday with the end of summer (59%) and a long weekend (47%) – not to mention that 19% see this holiday as the start of football season
  • Majority of employees (52%) say their employer has done nothing to reward their achievements in the past year
  • One in five employees (18%) planned to work on Labor Day, and 53% of those unemployed but looking planned to do something related to their job search on Monday

We may hate planning company picnics and holiday parties – and I loathe the idea of that being our responsibility by default – but we still play a major role in rallying the troops (sometimes we’re sadly the only ones playing that role). This would have been a good time to do that. Did your CEO at least send out a message thanking your people for all that they’ve done? Was there any formal indication that Monday was a day off for a reason? Did you do anything special to recognize and acknowledge the meaning of this day? I hope so. And if not, mark your calendars for a week in advance of the 2011 holiday to spend a few moments planning for a bit more hoopla around this next year. Our workforce deserves it…and so do you.

Photo Credit: SusanPolgar

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