Celebrating Veterans Day in the Workplace
November 3, 2023
Any time your organization dedicates regular work time to honor a specific group of people or day, you’re having a company celebration. Our nation honors Veterans Day on November 11th because that is when the formal agreement was established to end World War I. When your organization takes the time to focus specifically on those who have fought for our country and the value they bring not only to your company but to our nation, that’s a Veterans Day celebration. You’re honoring those who have fought for the freedoms you experience every day.
Why Is Having a Company Veterans Day Celebration Important?
Let’s review a few reasons below focused on company veteran appreciation, and then on how it can help your company as a whole.
- Appreciation. What better way to show your appreciation for the tremendous sacrifice of a veteran than having a celebration for just them? You may have very few veterans in your office, or you may have none, but most people have a veteran family member or friend, and most employees appreciate the chance to show their appreciation to them in the workplace.
- Respect. A veteran deserves your utmost respect, and this includes the workplace. When you have a celebration in their honor, you are focusing the energy of your organization on how to show your continual thanks to all veterans.
- Value. Often, veterans may have experiences from service that are difficult to talk about or even remember. When you host a company Veterans Day celebration, it is important to be sensitive to this while showing these veterans that without their sacrifice, our lives would look vastly different.
- Building your brand. When your organization comes together for a common goal, in this case, to celebrate veterans, you’re building your reputation both internally and externally: showing your current employees that you care in very specific ways and showing prospective employees what sets your organization apart. These types of celebrations speak loudly when prospective candidates are choosing where to continue their careers.
- Diversify. A Veterans Day celebration can help your employees immerse themselves in the lives of the veterans and allow a different perspective for those that fought for our country. Your organization has the opportunity through this celebration to shed light on another side of freedom that most of your employees see every day.
- Cohesion. An added benefit is the cohesion, comradery, and team spirit you will build through this celebration. You’re enriching not only the lives of the veterans being celebrated but the employees who are able to take a break from the day-to-day and celebrate their fellow veterans.
How Can a Company Celebrate Veterans Day?
When celebrating Veterans Day, you want to focus on the sacrifices of the veterans without crossing any lines. Let’s look at a few safe ways to celebrate these brave individuals on or around November 11th.
Sensitivity to Participants
Not all veterans are comfortable being in the spotlight, and many have difficult memories of their time in service. One way to thoughtfully consider your veterans would be to check in with those employees to get a sense of what they would and would not appreciate.
Once you have the approval of your veteran employees, be sure to check in on the other side. Many non-veterans have strong feelings about specific military operations, and there should be sensitivity there as well. Take care that your celebration focuses on an appreciation for veterans and doesn’t veer into any current or past political territory. You want to focus on enjoying the celebration, celebrating our veterans, and tastefully encouraging your company to enjoy the day, not making anyone feel uncomfortable or excluded.
A great way to get all employees involved in a Veterans Day celebration is giving back. Find a way to send care packages to military members on deployment or give all your employees the opportunity to donate to a charity that honors and supports veterans. You could make a whole week out of the gathering and sending off care packages with stations set up in conference rooms, engaging your employees and even members of the local community. Monetary donations could also be gathered over a period of time with a prize for the group that raises the most money for the veteran charity.
If your organization has the structure to do so, offering veterans a discount is a good idea on Veterans Day. If you’re not in the food industry, food is still always a great idea when hosting a workplace celebration. Make your food fun by incorporating flags. If you have veterans in your office, be sure to let them get food first as another way to honor them and prioritize them for the celebration. If your organization is mostly remote or spread out and a workplace food situation is not in your wheelhouse, feel free to offer your veterans lunch on the company” as another way to show your appreciation.
Moment of Silence
World War I ended on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. Observing a moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. is a great way to show support and start your celebration off right. If your organization is open on Veterans Day, it’s great to show your support on an actual day at the actual time, but if you’re not, no problem at all, whenever your company has your Veterans Day celebration, 11:00 a.m. that day will work just as well.
You truly cannot go wrong with an office party to honor veterans. Whether you have a small or large office, incorporate the ideas above and celebrate Veterans Day with an official party. Use flags at any of your locations as decorations to show support and honor the veterans on their special day.
How Companies Can Celebrate Veterans Throughout the Year
While hosting an entire celebration in honor of Veterans Day is a great idea, you can also celebrate your veterans daily in the workplace. Let’s review a few simple ways to show appreciation for veterans throughout the year.
After all, veterans have done for our nation, a simple military discount may not seem like much, but it truly speaks volumes of the respect you have for those who fight for your freedom. Offering a discount from your organization in any way possible to all military members and their families is a great way to continually appreciate your veterans.
Fly the Flag
Many veterans take tremendous pride in the country they fight for. A great way to show appreciation for them and their sacrifice is to fly the US flag at your organization. You could do this with a flag pole out front of your location, or display one inside the building. You could enlist the help of your veterans to take the flag down daily and put it up in the morning, to set it at half-mast when appropriate, and teach other employees to do the same.
As simple as it sounds, a thank you goes a long way with a veteran. Take the time to thank a veteran whenever they refer to their service time in conversation or should a day spark a memory for them, say thank you. It does not have to be on Veterans Day or Memorial Day, or even on the 4th of July. Take the time to remember your veterans and their sacrifice throughout the year and you could truly make their day.