Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

When the first nationally recognized Labor Day was celebrated in 1894, the day consisted of a street parade sending up a message of “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” (in the words of the AFL).

We have come a long way since then. Today most employers focus on offering opportunities and benefits to attract and retain talent; as a result, the need for unions has diminished and few remain.

Yet we still celebrate the day as a national holiday. Perhaps it is simply tradition, or the acknowledgment of the end of summer. Or a reminder to celebrate how far we have come as a nation of leaders and followers, where two-way communication has become much more the norm than work place “negotiations”.

So, as you enjoy your family barbecues, or however you celebrate the day, I encourage you to pause and ask yourself:

  • As a leader, what can I do tomorrow to let each member of my team know they are valued and are essential to our success?
  • As a follower, what I can do tomorrow to let my boss know what else I can do to add value to the success of our company?

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain