5 TedTalks About Employee Appreciation Every Leader Needs to Hear

Company Culture, Leadership, Workplace

By Stevie Howard

If you’re an employer, it goes without saying that employee appreciation is important. In fact, it can make or break your retention reputation with employees leaving when they don’t feel valued. On the other hand, implementing a recognition program of some sort can make a big difference as 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. You don’t need a super-robust program in order to get the ball rolling – a simple thank you can go a long way!

Here are 5 @TedTalks every leader needs to watch about #EmployeeAppreciation: Click To Tweet

Take a look at the TedTalks below and discover interesting ways to show your employees they are valued:

Laura Trice

Laura Trice gets the ball rolling by showcasing how far a simple thank you can go, especially in the workplace. By showing this small sense of gratitude you are letting your employees know that you appreciate their hardwork and determination to get the task done. So, next time you ask your peers or employees to update a spreadsheet or reach out to a potential prospect, make sure to say thank you and mean it.

“And why should we care about this? We talk about world peace. How can we have world peace with different cultures, different languages? I think it starts household by household, under the same roof. So, let’s make it right in our own backyard.”

Mike Robbins (@mikedrobbins)

In this video Mike Robbins talks about what it takes to lead a team. When you lead a team, you need to both recognize and appreciate what they are doing. However, they are not one in the same. You can very easily know and understand the work that goes into the tasks that your employees complete, but showing and expressing appreciation is much different.

Acknowledge that you understand the work they just put in for you and the company and tell them that you are grateful for their dedication. This can either be with a simple thank you as stated in the last section, or some other form of reward.

“…there is an important distinction between “recognition” and “appreciation.”  Leaders, teams, organizations, and individuals who understand this distinction can have much more impact, meaning, and productivity in their lives and with the people around them.”

Kate MacAleavey (@katemac24)


In our next video showcase, Kate MacAlvey discusses how everyone (even you, as a leader) wants to be appreciated. And, by understanding this basic human need we can dive into making a true connection with others on our team. When you put yourself in their shoes thinking, “I also like to feel appreciated.” you can better grasp the idea that your employees might be missing this. If they are, work with them to generate ideas on how they can feel better acknowledged.

“ [Appreciation]… one of the most desired psychology variable in work and in everyday life…When I say appreciation, I’m not merely referring to just saying thank you (all though thank you is a great place to start), but I’m talking about when you take the time and effort to make a genuine and specific connection with somebody to let them know that what they have done has made an important impact in your life.”

See what needs to be done to help your #employees feel valued: Click To Tweet

David Steindl-Rast (@GratefulnessOrg)

Sometimes a word from the old and wise is just what you need to get going in the right direction. Renowned monk David Steindl-Rast sets the stage as he explains the connect between happiness and being grateful. Why? Because being grateful towards others is a key to being happy. Leading a department or small team, you understand that mistakes happen, but still being grateful that you have an amazing group of people who will help correct the situation while working hard to pull together is key to helping you appreciate their presence.

“What is the connection between happiness and gratefulness? Many people would say, well, that’s very easy. When you are happy, you are grateful. But think again. Is it really the happy people that are grateful? We all know quite a number of people who have everything that it would take to be happy, and they are not happy, because they want something else or they want more of the same. And we all know people who have lots of misfortune, misfortune that we ourselves would not want to have, and they are deeply happy. They radiate happiness. You are surprised. Why? Because they are grateful. So it is not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy. If you think it’s happiness that makes you grateful, think again.”

Dan Ariely (@danariely)

Lastly, Dan Ariely helps us evaluate the relationship between performance and appreciation. Long story short – those who feel appreciated will perform better and be more productive. And, the good news is that you don’t need to go out of your way to make this happen. That wonderful “thank you” or even showing that you are actually looking over their work and acknowledging what your employees have done is enough to make them feel better about their work and themselves.

“…ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort in front of their eyes. Ignoring gets you a whole way out there. The good news is that by simply looking at something that somebody has done, scanning it and saying “Uh huh,” that seems to be quite sufficient to dramatically improve people’s motivations. So the good news is that adding motivation doesn’t seem to be so difficult.”

As you can see, employee appreciation isn’t quite as black and white as it may seem. Ensure that your employees feel valued, that their work and presence has created a positive impact within the work environment.

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