Gratitude is the idea that our success is the result of how others have helped us and not just a solitary effort. In the workplace, giving thanks and showing appreciation for your coworkers is not just humbling, but a smart way to build a more positive work culture. In fact, leaders who make it a regular part of their organization’s culture will experience healthier and less stressed employees.
Benefits of expressing gratitude at work
While giving thanks in our personal lives may seem normal, it is often overlooked in the professional world. Sometimes showing gratitude is associated with vulnerability or weakness. Employees, however, often wish they were thanked or recognized for their efforts at work; feeling undervalued is one of the most common reasons an employee leaves a job. Therefore, individuals who feel valued at work are much more likely to be engaged and productive. Studies even show that regularly expressing gratitude can positively impact a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing, not just their job performance. This is because expressing gratitude releases dopamine in the brain—a chemical that boosts mood, optimism and memory. Further, gratitude at work builds stronger relationships between coworkers and we know that teamwork is often critical to an organization’s success.
How to encourage gratitude in the workplace
Although encouraging gratitude in the workplace might seem a bit daunting, the benefits are worth the effort. Here are a few ways to try incorporating gratitude into your organization’s culture:
- Celebrate success.
Recognize employee accomplishments, even the small ones.
- Encourage thank you notes.
Create a template that employees can fill out and ask them to thank someone in the organization with a hand-written note, at least once a week.
- Get involved in community service.
Giving back is one of the most humbling ways to remind you of what you are thankful for.
- Do something kind and expect nothing in return.
Random acts of kindness can go a long way in boosting someone else’s day.
- Practice mindfulness.
Bring education and opportunities to the worksite to learn and practice mindfulness, which is the art of being present. Being present can help you connect with what is currently going on and not get overwhelmed by the stress of the workday.
Engaged, productive employees
In a time when many companies are looking for ways to retain and engage employees, gratitude can be a tool to create a more positive and healthy work culture. When individuals feel they are valued within their company, it is evident they are happier, healthier and more productive—a win-win for employers and employees alike.