Effective Employee Appreciation: Insights for Thanksgiving and Beyond

Thanksgiving time is a great excuse to think about gratitude. At RGI, we love our work, and that’s something we can all jot down on our gratitude list. But we also know that work isn’t always fun, and that in some workplaces, people struggle to feel that sense of being appreciated. We encourage leaders to reflect upon their style of “employee appreciation” to see if they are really communicating appreciation effectively.

At many of our engagements, we ask participants to think about compliments that are meaningful to them, and their responses might not be what you’d expect! If your employees have taken our Helix assessment, we have some specific tips to be more effective in your praise, which can help strengthen relationships and improve workplace satisfaction. (You can read more about the Helix Assessment here.) If your team hasn’t taken the assessment, there are more general tips as well.

Effective compliments by Culture Types

Organizers – as the name suggests – tend to like to organize things. They enjoy processes and structure, so they appreciate compliments that relate to how well their organizational strategies work or help make things more efficient. Take the time to tell them how well their spreadsheet demonstrates key data or how well made a final report was. They will appreciate compliments that relate to work assignments that involve making order out of chaos.

Independents don’t always think they need compliments because they tend to be motivated by their own goals, rather than team goals. That being said, they don’t usually dislike praise. To acknowledge an Independent in a meaningful way, try to focus on something they did themselves. Did they take initiative on a project? Are they great at coming up with creative solutions? Independents tend to set their own goals and enjoy working on their own. Try to highlight some of their personal work that you appreciate.

Stabilizers prefer order and really embrace being part of a team, so meaningful compliments for them often relate to how their work helped the team or how their efforts made someone else’s experience better. Leaders that are Stabilizers often say that they don’t want praise themselves, but they prefer to have their team acknowledged for good work, so if you are supervising that type of leader, include the whole team in your compliments.

Fixers love to fix problems, but they are very likely to make sure that the solution works for everyone on their team before they execute it. They tolerate chaos, so creative problem solving is a great way to lean into their talents, but they are also motivated by the team. When complimenting a Fixer, it’s great to emphasize how their work helps other people. They also enjoy leading teams, so compliments relating to their leadership often resonate with them, too.


If you’re interested in having your team members take the assessment, you can fill out the online form at helixassessment.com or email Kathy Luze at kathy@rosegroupintl.com for groups. If you want to start building a culture of gratitude TODAY, consider these strategies:

  • Specific comments resonate more than general comments. Instead of saying “Great work, everybody!”, personalize your praise. A callout in a meeting, a quick email, or even a sticky note on someone’s door that specifically compliments a person’s work is a powerful thing. It demonstrates that you are paying attention and you noticed their hard work.
  • People are different. It’s a simple truth, but one we often forget. If YOU don’t need acknowledgement to feel satisfied at work, you might assume others don’t either. Don’t fall into that trap! Pop culture is full of references to people “being seen” and that applies at work, too. When you offer praise for specific work or the way a person contributes to the organization, they feel seen, and that goes a long way.
  • You have an Employee Appreciation event – is that good enough? The short answer is no. Those types of events are a general way for management or owners to reward employees for their dedication, but it is not effective on an individual level. In fact, an annual event like that, in the vacuum of a general lack of acknowledgement can have the opposite effect than intended. Combine Employee Appreciate events with regular positive interactions, and employees will genuinely feel more appreciated.


Fostering a culture of positivity in the workplace goes beyond simply saying “thank you.” Leaders should use a thoughtful, tailored approach that takes into account the diverse needs and preferences of your team members. With these strategies, you can create a more positive, motivating, and appreciative work environment where everyone feels seen and valued. That sounds pretty great to us.

For more insights from the RGI team, check out the content on our Digital Media page!

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