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Gratitude in the workplace

The act of gratitude in itself has been noted to make people feel better about their life. Often in the workplace, the niceties of social interaction are dropped in the name of efficiencies and productivity. Studies however, show that gratitude in the workplace are actually a way to improve productivity, morale, employee buy-in, improving employee’s wellbeing both mental and physical, and increasing job satisfaction. To me the most important aspect is that it is contagious! It permeates from the top to the bottom, left to right, without any hardship changing the way employees feel about a workplace and changing the workplace culture. As a leader in my own company, I see that as important.

Gratitude is intangible – it is not something we see or touch. Yet, it is seen as a valuable as where the next sale is going to come from, and is the building blocks of motivation, self-worth, self-efficacy and trust within the workplace. See where I am going with this? It is a non-monetary form acknowledging how the positive things in our lives are frequently due to influences outside of us…which means it involves others.

There are many ways in which to cultivate gratitude at work so here are our top five!

  1. It starts at the top! Hate to say it but the way we as leaders show our gratitude will filter down to the person at the bottom who cleans the toilets. Gratitude starts with a thank you, both in public and private arenas. It is the goodbye party when someone leaves, to the thank you for helping me keeping our offices looking so nice as you go past someone working. 

  2. When expressed genuinely, gratitude will be authentic. Quality over quantity is important. Pay attention to details when showing appreciation, outline specifically how the person’s actions made you grateful.

  3. Gratitude should be given according to the person who is receiving the appreciation. This simply means that every person is different. What one person appreciates, for example being thanked in front of other team members may not mean as much to another person who appreciates being thanked with a card with a personalised note. Learn what works for each person by getting to know them, asking them or using personality assessments.

  4. Provide opportunities for people to be grateful. While having systems and procedures in place for cultural requirements of an organisation may be all well and good, it is also important that gratitude has an open door to occur even in times of conflict.

  5. When things go wrong…. Things at work don’t go according to plan, but bringing the team together to debrief, and asking what went right and what went wrong, reframing any loss into a potential gain will change the way failure is seen in the future. This gaining a new perspective on loss, will strengthen and prepare you team for future losses making them more resilient, and able to tackle any hurdles with positivity. In the end changing the culture within your organisation.

There are plenty of ways to show appreciation from a personalised note, and genuine thank you, a coffee shout, or a gift. Either way, the showing of gratitude is essential to the health and wellbeing of your organisation. Make time to impart your appreciation onto others and watch how it transforms your place of work.


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