How to Introduce a ‘Gratefulness Culture’ in Your Company
Mentally healthy workplaces are quick to acknowledge meaningful contributions from people. Here are some tips to make gratitude a part of your workplace culture.
Author and motivational speaker William Arthur Ward once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
For some, gratitude may come across as a cheesy or ‘millennial’ concept. But, practicing gratitude every day can be beneficial for our physical and mental health by:
- decreasing our stress and anxiety,
- improving our sense of happiness and uplifting our mood,
- increasing energy,
- lowering blood pressure, and
- improving mindfulness.
Gratitude is not just important in our personal lives; it is crucial in the workplace as well. HR professionals are constantly coming up with engagement ideas like conducting team-building workshops, promoting healthier lifestyles, planning outings, and so on. But, inculcating gratitude in the workplace can improve relationships and increase positivity and productivity while also retaining key employees.
Practicing gratitude in the workplace can be a little tough, but it is worth it. Here are some ways to incorporate it into your organisation.
Steps to Introduce a Gratefulness Culture at Work
Start with the leaders
Leaders, don’t wait for the annual performance review exercise to start noting your employees’ achievements. You should ideally be acknowledging good work immediately. Douglas Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, mentions that he wrote up to 20 notes a day to acknowledge and thank the employees for their contributions and success. Over 10 years, this amounted to 30,000 notes, while there were only 20,000 employees. Fine leadership like this instantly boosts workplace gratitude.
Encourage peer-to-peer recognition
Sometimes, due to the drudgery of everyday routine, teams forget to acknowledge the impactful work done by their individual members. It is crucial to create an environment inside teams where people can give thank-you notes or shout out to their peers. This type of eager gratitude at work could be done via email, by buying the person a coffee, a note on a post-it wall, or even an announcement of sorts.
Start meetings with gratitude
Every organisation has daily huddles, weekly meetings, or even monthly meetings to catch up. Instead of starting those meetings directly with status updates, goals, or results, ask people to share something related to gratitude at the workplace. This approach instantly relaxes people and helps them become more present. It also creates a safe space and motivates people.
Make sure to thank everyone
Very often, it is a limited set of employees who always gets the limelight. But, gratitude at the workplace shouldn’t be confined only to those with ‘visible’ or high profile jobs, like university teachers or doctors in a hospital. What about the people who do data-mining jobs, handle your company’s accounts, or keep the premises sparkling clean? Thanking them from time to time will set the bar for your company and establish the standards. It also improves the morale of those who receive the appreciation.
Get involved in community projects
Volunteering is one of the most powerful ways to promote a workplace gratitude culture. It promotes the feeling of being a part of something larger. It helps the employees connect with their peers on a more personal level apart from work and get to know them as well. At the end of the service day, nothing beats the feeling of having something done right. This feeling lasts for a long time and sets the overall mood for the company.
Create a ‘digital gratitude folder’
When an employee gets an appreciation mail as a part of gratitude at work process, it just sinks to the bottom of the inbox and eventually gets forgotten. But, creating a digital folder with pictures of events, volunteering, participation in challenges, and screengrabs of emails in a single place, can help the employees look at them up when they are having a hard day. Sure, it takes a lot of coordination and hard work, but it is completely worth the effort.
Promote a Gratitude Challenge
Gratefulness is a fuzzy concept, and therefore many HR managers and leaders could be clueless about where to begin. Don’t worry; there are tons of resources on creating ‘gratitude challenges’ at the workplace. These challenges give you daily prompts that you can share with teams. Some of these prompts include:
- write down two things you are thankful for
- make an effort to smile more
- write about your favorite part of the workday, and so on.
Advertise the gratitude challenge company-wide, provide incentives for people who do these exercises regularly, and get the senior management involved as well.
Weaving gratitude into workplace culture
Gratitude at the workplace is not a one-time activity; it has to be a part of the company’s culture. A common mistake that happens in a lot of workplaces is trying to fit the idea of gratitude in a single box. But workplaces bring diverse people in one place with different styles, expertise, and backgrounds. And fitting the gratitude idea in a single box can quickly turn toxic. Everyone's idea of appreciation can be different. Not everyone would like to receive a gift card, public praise, or a coffee. Try different things like care packages, appreciation badges, or even a celebration calendar.
Are you ready to transform your company’s culture?
Check out our article on Why Being Polite in the Workplace is Underrated and Misunderstood