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10 Employee Appreciation Week Ideas

leadership recognition workplace culture Feb 04, 2024

"Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?"

That's the innocent question posted in Elmo's Twitter account a few days ago. Yes, our furry, red, Sesame Street friend has a very active social media presence.

The Tweet was all the buzz this weekend as thousands of comments poured in. Certainly some comments were fueled with gratitude, joy, and happiness. Sadly, many showcased sadness, frustration, and overwhelm:

  • "Not feeling tickled about life, Elmo."
  • "Elmo, I'm suffering from existential dread over here."
  • "Not gonne lie...I'm tired, Elmo. A lot's going on, little Red."

The simple question, "how are you doing?" yielded a profound understanding of the feelings Twitter users (aka, your employees) have about their jobs and their lives.

Elmo, being his typical emotionally intelligent self, responded with "Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned it is important to ask a friend how they are doing." Such an important lesson for all of us.  When was the last time you asked your team, "how is everybody doing?"

When people responded with the common reply "fine," did you actually take the time to probe a little go beyong the "fine" to discover how they were truly feeling? 

Here's a Quick Tip

Create a scale for your team members to share how they're really doing. Ask the more specific question, "on a scale of 1 to 10, how are you doing today?" That creates two opportunities:

  1. A specific number clarifies if "fine" really means "ecstatic," "mediocre," or "I'm in the dumps and barely holding it together!"
  2. When you hear a number less than 9, you can proactively ask, "what would it take to move your response to a 9 or 10 and how can we make that happen today?!?!"

The lesson learned from Elmo is ask your friends how they feel. Listen to their responses and probe for more information. Then, take action to celebrate, support, or inspire them based on what they need in order to feel more than just "fine."


Employee Appreciate Week is February 26 - March 1

Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 1st and the week before gives you an opportunity to do some extra special things for your crew. Here are some ideas to get you thinking...

  1. Amazon Wish List - Send an Amazon Gift Card and let them pick something that they truly want.
  2. Let's Do Lunch - Schedule a team lunch or breafast in-person or virtually (or course, sending Door Dash gift cards to everyone). Use the time to acknowledge how much you value each person with a DIY awards ceremony.
  3. Love Notes - Mail each team member a hand written note to express how much you truly appreciate them. Or, try Care Cards!
  4. Team Outing - Schedule an adventure, field trip, or online experience for your team, with no agenda or lessons to be learned. Simply have fun together.
  5. Care Packages - Send a mindset boost (candles, cookies, journals, flowers, snacks, lotions, potions, etc.) to each team member's home.
  6. Family Fun - Give each team member a Visa gift card to put toward a night out with their families. Then, have team members post photos to a team board to share their fun.
  7. Stanley Mugs - Okay, maybe everyone on your team already has one of these! How about a Lululemon Belt Bag, portable espresso machine, a cookbook based on their personal food interests, some company swag? Check out
  8. Superlatives - Remember the section of your yearbook recognizing students for being the best at something or the most likely to achieve something? Have your crew pick one superlative for each of their teammates: Best Team Player, Most Innovative Thinker, Most Dependable, Rising Star, Best Mentor, Most Customer-Focused, Most Positive Attitude, Most Adaptable, Most Outstanding Achievement, Most Likely to Become CEO, Best Problem Solver, Creative Genius Award, Best Tech Go-To Person, Excellence in Communication.
  9. Give your team the day off!
  10. Be like Elmo. Simply ask, "how are you doing?" Listen, probe, and respond.


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