Looking for Employee Appreciation Ideas? Learn to Lead Like… Elmo

Last week, the beloved little red monster, Elmo, sparked a viral moment on social media with a simple question: “How is everybody doing?” The response was overwhelming, highlighting a deep need for connection and appreciation.

For those of us in leadership positions, there’s a powerful lesson in employee appreciation… and how simple gestures can make a significant impact.

Elmo’s question garnered over 200 million views on social media, revealing a longing for genuine connection in a digital age. Responses ranged from humorous to heartbreaking, emphasizing the power of opening the “release valve” of emotions.

In today’s workplaces, only 48 percent of workers in the US feel confident that their employers genuinely care about them. This decline in employee confidence, coupled with a rise in burnout rates (57 percent), underscores the urgency for authentic employee appreciation. (Source: 2023-2024 Aflac WorkForces Report)

As leaders, we have the opportunity to make a difference by showing our people that we care… and it starts in the simplest of ways.

While multi-million-dollar wellness initiatives have their place, simple acts of kindness can be equally impactful. Asking “How is everybody doing?”—or, “How are YOU doing?”—and genuinely listening can create a culture of empathy and support.

Bottom line:

Employee appreciation doesn’t have to be complicated. It starts with a sincere question and a willingness to listen.

Lead Like Elmo - The Better Life Better Business Podcast

By leading like Elmo—with empathy and compassion—we can foster a workplace where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. When we make employee appreciation a priority and uplift each other along the way, we create a culture that is truly Built to Thrive.

Join the conversation on the latest episode of The Better Life Better Business Podcast as we explore the power of whole-person leadership.

Together, we rise.

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