Gratitude is essential to the health of an organization and a topic being discussed more often in HR circles. A 2017 article out of UC Berkeley describes gratitude as a “cornerstone” of corporate culture – and I have to agree.
The benefits of gratitude are clear: employees that are more satisfied, have less stress, feel healthier, and ultimately are more closely connected to and invested in your company. Gratitude and appreciation play an essential role in retention, so if it hasn’t been a focus for your business – now is the time!
Here are a few top tips for building gratitude into your workplace:
Set a Good Example
Every individual in the organization is responsible for contributing to a culture of gratitude, but it has to start at the top. As an Executive or Manager, it is an integral part of your role to give praise and recognize success in your team. With that said, how you choose to deliver that recognition is just as important.
You should always look at a colleague as a valued member of your team, rather than focused on a specific task or achievement. The validation and connection that comes along with recognizing an individual’s true value to your organization are what makes gratitude so effective.
Start with implementing gratitude into your team meetings and build from there. There are so many opportunities to be really creative – but it can also just be as simple as providing handwritten thank you note for a job well done.
For example, at Prizm Media, we offer weekly lunch catering and have a Gratitude Round afterwards for everyone on the team to express their appreciation for other people’s contributions throughout the work week.
Finally – no matter how you choose to start building gratitude, there are two essential things to remember: it has to be authentic and consistent. Make sure your methods for recognition match the type of leader you are and make sure you mean what you say.
Pay it Forward
After you recognize members of your executive or management team, encourage them to carry that appreciation through their team. This is how gratitude begins to build organically within your organization.
From there, challenge your team to identify members of your company that would benefit from recognition but might not be employees. Consultants, suppliers, top customers – bring your staff together to show gratitude to the people who make your business successful.
Finally, when the time is right, consider forming a gratitude committee. This will be a group of leaders within your company tasked with continually developing creative opportunities for recognition, celebration, and sharing thanks.
Express Gratitude Through Action
Expressing gratitude is more than just saying thanks. Invest in team-building activities that take people out of the work environment where they can have fun or do something positive in the community. At Prizm Media, some activities that we do include sponsoring team lunch, fun outings from laser tag to go-karting, or volunteering at a charity organization that is making a difference in society.
Finally, I don’t believe that anything is more effective in showing your sincere appreciation than a small gesture. Be it a handwritten note, a coffee gift card, birthday cake or something catered more personally to your employee’s interests. Simply put, it shows your staff that you see them, know them, and are glad to have them as part of your team.
Getting started with gratitude can be a significant culture shift – and that’s tough for some companies. For those just getting started, remember to begin at the top, empower your employees to pay it forward, and take it seriously by investing in your commitment to gratitude. If you can do those things, you are well on your way to a team that truly understands how much you appreciate them.