3 Best Practices to Create and Sustain a Culture of Employee Appreciation

In case you weren’t aware, this Friday, March 6, 2020, is Employee Appreciation Day.  Perhaps you will scramble to get gifts, incentives, take your team out to lunch, or perhaps, you have a special day planned for the team.  Whatever your plans may be, (or that you are now contemplating), this day serves as an outstanding reminder, not for what leaders need to do on a single day yearly, but as part of the intentional design of organizational culture.

So we decided to dig into the 3 best habit-forming practices that help create and sustain cultures of employee appreciation: 

1. Celebrate Weekly Wins with Your Team

The more your celebrate life, the more there is in life to celebrate.  

Oprah Winfrey

The Super Connector Media team is a public relations firm that specializes in helping their expert clients land media features.   Their founders, power couple and media influencers Chris Winfield and Jen Gottlieb, focus on doing PR differently.  They also have taken that slogan to heart in how the culture has been built intentionally.  Every Friday, they get their whole team on a zoom call to celebrate the wins of the week. Each person gets to share one work win, and one personal win during the week.  They also get to give a shout out to other team members who contributed to the win. Joseph McClendon III, who co-facilitates with Tony Robbins, notably reminds us regularly: “We are what we focus on.”  Chris and Jen have really taken that to heart in their culture building.   

2. Make “Because of You” Statements Regularly

By the way, I’m wearing the smile…you gave me.


When there has been an accomplishment, progress for the team, a breakthrough, or even a lesson learned from a fail, making a “because of you” statement is a great way to fold appreciation into the culture. We can tangibly show each team member, or a whole team, how their work contributed to a specific outcome, that they may not have tangibly seen the result of from the work they do.  Oftentimes, team members don’t get to see the end result in the path of what their tasks contribute to. They don’t get to see the smiles on the your clients faces, or the impact their work had in creating a particular experience. Our 34 Strong Team has folded this practice into our culture by making the work done connected to a greater outcome, so each person can be valued for being valuable.  An example of this may be: 

Because of your work Theresa, on re-scheduling that call, Jimmy Manager had a breakthrough on how he needs to support his team members that have been the most challenging for him to manage.  Jimmy has a new approach, and realized how his own actions were contributing to his disconnect with these team members. Without your continued commitment to managing these scheduling shifts, this moment and breakthrough never would have happened.     

3. Appreciate Team Members The Way They Want to Receive Appreciation

A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.


Many have heard of the 5 Love Languages, and this has created significant shifts, understanding, and connection in between couples.  Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Gary White wrote the book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in The Workplace.  It takes what Chapman wrote about in the 5 Love Languages, and interprets them through the lens of appreciation for the workplace. The 5 Appreciation languages revolve around:

  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch (High Fives, Fist Bumps, Pats on the back)
  • Gifts
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service

How to Apply the 5 Languages of Appreciation?

The Obsidian Launch team manages the book launches and speaking engagements for Best-Selling Author, Mike Michalowicz.  He has written the books: Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan, Clockwork (which 34 Strong is featured in), and his upcoming book Fix This Next is due out in April of this year.  This team, led by Kelsey Ayres, is an incredibly well-oiled machine.  They know how to work hard, play hard, and do lots of amazing, dynamic, and impactful work throughout the journey.  They have each employee take the 5 Appreciation Language Test. Next to each person’s name card in their work area, has their name, childhood photo (more on the relevance of that in a later post) and their preferred Appreciation language(s).  This has massively helped each team member to best understand how to provide the most meaningful appreciation for other team members.  

So, which one of these nuggets can fold right into your culture immediately?  I hope that you do celebrate Employee Appreciation Day. But my bigger wish is for you to create the cultural habits that can make appreciation a part of your culture.  This is a significant part of having team members who are engaged at work, or who are disengaged. The choice is all yours!

If you are ready to develop the best managers in your organization, and equip them with exactly what is needed to focus on strengths, cultivate and sustain employee engagement, enroll your managers in a Best Manager Academy.  The real question is: how can you afford not to send invest in a culture of best managers? For more information, visit https://www.bestmanageracademy.com/

Darren Virassammy is the Co-Founder and COO/CFO of 34 Strong Inc. Darren’s top five strengths are: Achiever, Arranger, Relator, Learner and Responsibility.