Episode 128 | The 12 Dos and Don’ts of Employee Appreciation

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AWE Episode 128 EAD

Today is Employee Appreciation Day, but this week’s Awesome Office episode is not about that. (Well, not really….)

Our focus this week isn’t how to appreciate your employees once a year – or even once in a while. It’s about creating a year-round culture of appreciation that permeates your organization – one that not only drives results, but that improves everyone’s quality of life in the office.  

You see, while we think Employee Appreciation Day is a great thing, it’s also sort of like Valentine’s Day. If you only show your significant other that you care that one day of the year, you probably don’t have the strongest relationship.

And while Employee Appreciation is simple, it’s not easy. There are definitely some best practices and a few pitfalls to avoid. AO host (and SnackNation CEO) Sean Kelly has made appreciation a priority for a while, and shares his top dos and don’ts.

Here’s a recap of Sean’s tips:


  • Understand how those you lead want to be recognized – not everyone is the same.
  • Force moments of recognition (both personally and as an organization)
  • Always specifically call out why you’re recognizing someone AND be very careful about what you’re recognizing people for (I think you should always recognize people around company core values)
  • Write thank you cards – perhaps more powerful than any other form of recognition
  • Ensure you’re recognizing people at all levels of the organization (especially if you’re a leader)
  • And of course show people you care by giving them the most phenomenal snacks that’ll actually improve their lives and make them happier and healthier


  • Equate recognition to coddling
  • Only recognize people for results
  • Don’t recognize people inauthentically because you think you should – it’ll always backfire whether it’s your boss or anyone else
  • Push away recognition when it comes your way – accept it gracefully (at the same time understand you may not receive it when you deserve it)
  • Don’t recognize people only when they agree with you (in fact you should recognize people for dissension and going against you if you truly want to build a strong culture of innovation)
  • Don’t forget to recognize that you are good enough – without self love you simply won’t be a good appreciator or other people


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