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With stress and uncertainty at high levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing your sincere workplace gratitude is more important than ever.
Even if your employees seem to be keeping it together and are being productive, it could be that they are anxious, depressed and fearful as they face increased pressure at home while possibly dealing with unfamiliar ways of getting their work done.
Harvard Business Review in an article highlighting how a little thanks goes a long way in this time of crisis, writer Sabina Nawaz puts together several strategies that you can implement to underscore just how grateful you are for your team and their efforts.
HBR reminds us that:
“Research clearly indicates expressing gratitude is beneficial to our health and well-being. We’re happier when we’re grateful. During a crisis, taking the time to thank others is vital to dampen loneliness, amp up social connections, and generate generosity.”
In the article, a busy academic executive said “I’m so busy fighting fires from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. that I don’t have time to acknowledge the work my team is doing.” If you also feel too swamped to focus on gratitude, the suggestions provided are relatively easy to achieve, even during these tumultuous times.
Workplace Gratitude is More Important than Ever
How You Can Help: Share Gratitude!
Host a daily gratitude shower
Like the neighborhood gatherings to salute and applaud essential workers that are being held around the world, create a similar event for your organization – host a daily live chat for just a few minutes and have staff type compliments about their co-workers.
Customize the way you give thanks
Research indicates that gratitude is stronger when it is for what the person did instead of how it benefited you! Learn to understand how people like to be acknowledged. This is where the 5 Love Languages can be a useful tool. Even though it was designed for couples, it can apply to the workplace.
Put employees center stage
It’s likely that everyone is working at their full capacity during this pandemic even if sometimes it doesn’t look like it. Don’t lose sight of the “invisible work” – those every day, ordinary tasks that may get overlooked. And, don’t underestimate the effort behind work. Now’s the time to celebrate those who may not typically be the “stars” by featuring them in company-wide communications.
Positivity – play it up and pay it forward
Research indicates that recipients of thanks are more likely to be helpful and generous. To create this snowball effect encourage those you thank to show appreciation to someone else. Provide an easy means and the tools to do so such as an electronic gratitude board or a workplace ‘Thank You’ app like Just Thank You.
Build a thankful team
The message travels farther (and louder) when you work as a team to give credit and thanks. Packaging praise can be coordinated using online tools like Kudoboard – create a theme and build a special card together for a colleague. This also generates good vibes for the team, not just the recipient.
Still not sure that you can carve out the time to show gratitude when you are struggling to keep yourself afloat at work, here’s a good summary of why it makes sense:
“…being thankful to your team is the right thing to do.” People are battling fears about the pandemic and juggling home and work in close proximity. Almost every employee needs to hear that their dedication is noticed and it matters. What’s more, gratitude is proven to show improvements in self-esteem, achieving career goals, decision making, productivity, and resilience.
And don’t forget, when you show gratitude, you benefit as well:
“Gratitude is a dish best served to suit the recipient’s tastes, but it comes with benefits for both the chef and the consumer. When people around you feel seen and acknowledged, they return the favor, invest more in their efforts, and form stronger connections — all essential ingredients to offset the stress of a crises. Giving thanks can be infectious.”
You’ve probably seen examples of gratitude being shown for essential workers on the news, whether it is New Yorkers banging pots and pans, applauding and singing at 7:00 pm or restaurants delivering free meals and snacks to hospitals and clinics, heartfelt homemade yard signs and innovative fundraisers. When doing more reading about workplace gratitude during the pandemic, we came across several examples that might inspire you as much they inspired us.
Pandemic Workplace Gratitude in Action
Three stories of gratitude to inspire your day and your creativity for sharing deep appreciation for your colleagues during these challenging times.
1. Leader Showing Thanks (and Vulnerability)
Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Vicki Christiansen shared a moving message and video on the organization’s website that conveyed her sincere thanks for Forest Service employees during this stressful time. She began by using adjectives that employees may not often hear that were particularly apt given the circumstances:
“First, as I always do, but I really do mean it, I want to thank you for your endurance, your flexibilities, your innovation in working in this different posture as we all are across the nation in response to this pandemic.”
She also acknowledged the creativity required to keep delivering services while maintaining safety and showed genuine concern for employees who may be infected with the virus. And, addressed the stress that employees were under, and the uncertainty of the future and managed to strike the right tone of concern and comfort (and also stressed keeping communication lines open).
“We will stay connected, we will keep thinking together and we’ll re-imagine what working safely is as we get on the backside of the spread of this pandemic, but of course it’s not going to just disappear in the weeks and months ahead, as I think we all have come to realize. So more to come there. We really want to hear your questions and your feedback.”
But we were most struck by her openness about her own challenges that made us realize by revealing her vulnerability she is connecting with her team and showing they are not alone in their struggles.
“I wanted to touch on…resilience and coping; many of you in the calls that we have and in other notes you send, you know, are very nice—to ask me how I’m doing, how I’m holding up, how I’m maintaining my mental wellness, and I really appreciate that. It’s the care that we really demonstrate with each other in the Forest Service. So I’m human like everyone else, I’ll admit there are moments where I’ll say, “Aaahh!”
Additionally she shared a practical resource for approaching the pandemic 3 Zones: Fear, Learning and Growth that uses German pedagogue Tom Senniger’s learning zone model (which you may have also seen recently as many people have shared it as lens to view racism). After reading Chrstiansens’ post, we thought that this a leader who really understands the importance of gratitude in both work and personal lives.
2. Helping Hospice Workers Stay Positive
A Hospice News article by Holly Vossel highlighted several ideas of how hospice providers boosted staff morale during the pandemic. Retention and staffing issues were already a concern prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, so this industry has been under considerable stress. Some hospices around the nation tried innovative approaches to show gratitude:
- North Carolina-based Hospice of Davidson County implemented a Hospice Heroes campaign to show appreciation for workers putting themselves at consistent risk of COVID-19 infection while providing end-of-life care to patients. The campaign featured an online form to leave messages of gratitude as an encouragement for their staff members. Additionally a banner was hung at one of the organization’s hospices and luminaries were light for each hard-working staff member.
- Florida-headquartered Interim Healthcare launched a staff newsletter, ‘Inspirations,” featuring the ways each of their locations encouraged staff and patients facing COVID-19 challenges. One story was about a drive-thru breakfast at an Oklahoma City franchise location for staff to pickup of bagged meals before going to work in patient homes.
- Interim Healthcare also gave staff an 800 number to call and talk with a counselor or counseling group that is 100% confidential.
3. The Magical Gift of “Gratitude Bots”
Learn how to make your own “Gratitude Bot” with artist and inventor Gary Hirsh.
In an American Red Cross Cascades region blog post the creative and caring efforts of Portland Oregon based artist Gary Hirsch were profiled. Hirsh designs his “Bots” to provide energy, happiness and other positive emotions to those who receive them.
Hirsch has created over 57,000 of these “small (and sometimes, big) totemic, art objects programmed to help” which are painted small on the back of dominos. Hirsch painted and donated 130 Gratitude Bots for for Red Cross phlebotomists working in Oregon and SW Washington with the intent of reminding those who receive them that someone out there cares about them.
Hirsch explained how his Bots transitioned during the pandemic:
“I started making Bots about 10 years ago. The Gratitude Bots came when Covid-19 hit. I wanted to do something to thank the people on the frontlines who are sacrificing so much to help us out in the world as we stay at home.”
Hirsch hopes these small bots will make a big difference:
“I am interested in small shifts and reminders. If someone gives you a Gratitude Bot, my hope is that you will take a moment, a pause to take in that gratitude so it can be fuel for your amazing work when things get hard.”
Hirsch also hopes that others will mount a similar campaign and gives you the info to get started:
“My real hope is that people will start making their own Bots to thank those in their community that way as well. I have step-by-step instructions on my website for how to ‘Steal the idea” and make your own.” For more details, watch Hirsch’s video above and check out his website.
Even if you don’t start creating Gratitude Bots for your company, we have the perfect tool to walk you through writing meaningful and impactful thank you notes for your staff.
Or now might be an ideal time to share summer treat gift certificates for ice cream, or fruit with your staff to thank them for their hard work during these unprecedented times. We have lots of fun seasonal Thank You Cards for you to pick from for free!
Ready to spread a contagion of gratitude? We hope so and hope you share your creative ideas with us here at info@gThankYou.com.Read More
Let’s start this blog post with kudos for you for hanging in there during these uncertain and challenging times. That you’re taking the time to click on this post shows your commitment to staying engaging with and supporting your remote employees. So hat’s off to you for remaining curious and committed to bringing out the best in your staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a host of challenges to everyone and we are seeing that people are dealing with those challenges in different ways.
Maybe you already had remote employees at your company so your challenge was expanding that scenario to many more employees. Or perhaps you are like many companies who find themselves dealing with a remote workforce for the first time.
No matter where you are on that spectrum, there are ideas and strategies to help you support your remote workers and make sure they feel engaged and appreciated. We’ll address leadership during challenging times, new rules for remote work and finally, how to recognize remote workers.
Leading During Uncertain Times
In an article written for Forbes well before our current crisis, Glenn Llopis outlined some key concepts for effective leadership in uncertain times that still resonate today. In fact this quote seems particularly appropriate for these times:
“Most of the problems that leaders have with their employees have to do with knowing how to manage and communicate uncertainty to them.”Glenn Llopis for Forbes
Llopis advises that leaders:
1. Be Honest and Consistent — When asked a question, give an honest answer. Avoid dancing around the issue and show your employees that you have their back.
2. Meet Often and Evaluate Mindset — Try to minimize distractions and focus on sharing any insights you have. Consider staff meetings an opportunity to genuinely engage with your employees, not just a time for status updates and reports.
3. Listen and Pay Close Attention — There may be chatter and gossip about the current crisis and the future, take it all in through broadened observation — focus on listening and remain calm.
4. Create and Share Key Learning Moments — Employees seem to have a sense when leaders are mindful about their concerns. Look for the positive impact that might be gained from this trying time. Allow your employees to ask questions and extract learning. You might also be able to learn more about them and how they cope with uncertainty.
5. Reveal Your Executive Presence — Frame this as an opportunity to show your leadership style. How do you react to negativity and the effects of this challenge? By being present and compassionate and staying focused on engaging with employees you can shape the impression you make as a leader.
Empathy during this pandemic is vital. This quote from Llopis, written back in 2015, seems like sound advice for leaders grappling with the current Coronavirus crisis.
“Great leaders know that managing uncertainty is a matter of putting themselves in the shoes of their employees and delivering the compassionate leadership they expect. People don’t want good intentions from their leaders during times of uncertainty; they want their leaders to be not only strong, confident and decisive, but transparent and vulnerable enough in their leadership role to express a sense of genuine care and concern.”Glenn Llopis for Forbes
New Reality for Remote Workers
In an article for the Harvard Business School website, author Dina Gerdeman shared that prior to the coronavirus, 5.2 percent of employees in the United States telecommuted most of the time and 43 percent worked from home some of the time. These numbers are certainly increasing exponentially around the world with the closing of most workplaces.
Working remotely can come with its own challenges during more normal times, but currently employees are facing not just distractions, but increased responsibilities like child care, assisting school age children with virtual learning, assisting elderly or ill relatives, coping with technology like Zoom and Slack that they may not be familiar with, etc. be mindful that employees are also under the very real threat of a potentially deadly virus. The combination of these factors can cause unprecedented stress for employees.
Here are some things Gerdeman shared that you can do to support remote workers (she also recommends communicating clearly and decisively, leading by example and accepting that productivity will probably suffer):
Being More Flexible — If possible, ask employees which schedule works best for them and try to work around it. Communicate schedule changes to all team members and be clear that just because someone might be doing their majority of their work and emailing colleagues in the wee hours of the night, immediate replies aren’t expected.
Adjusting Expectations — Some employees may be feeling overwhelmed by their workloads, while others may be feeling that they need more work to show that they are integral to the team. Look at shifting projects and workloads and make sure those employee who seem to be busting out a ton of work aren’t doing it just because they feel pressured and certainly avoid throwing more work at them.
Rethinking Meetings — Since it can be harder to focus in virtual meetings, really evaluate the length and frequency of meetings and ask yourself if there need to be so many long meetings right now? Also ask yourself if a meeting is really necessary; could it be addressed in an email?
Moving to More Asynchronous Work — The world is starting to see that work in a company doesn’t need to be done at exactly the same time, with employees working in synchrony. It’s more important that the work is getting done than it is that everyone is working on a project at the same time.
Focusing on Outcome Rather Than Monitoring Activities — Speaking of work getting done…now’s probably not the time to spy on your employees by asking them to leave their webcam on during their entire shift, having them alert you when they take a short break, or making sure they are working until the clock strikes 5:00 pm. Trust that you have competent and honest employees who are doing their best.
Taking Time to Empathize — Give employees the time and space to talk to each other about their concerns, stress levels, fears, etc. and encourage a culture of support and active listening. Being vulnerable with one another during this time can actually bring people together.
Letting Workers Blow Off Steam — It’s been great to hear about how creative some companies have been about having some virtual fun to lighten the mood. Consider optional online social events like virtual happy hours, cooking and crafting projects and meet the pet sessions. Encourage employees to take breaks between meetings for a cat nap or quick walk and of course sharing the announcement that employees can call it a day a few hours early at the end of a hard week would be welcomed and appreciated.
Don’t Forget to Appreciate Remote Employees
While recognizing your employees’ hard work and effort is always a priority, now it is even more critical to show that you appreciate their flexibility and dedication during what is an extremely stressful time for so many.
In a blog post for Fond, writer Erin Nelson shared the following suggestions:
Reward Employees for Donating to Charities — Send recognition to those who have donated or volunteered. You can crowdsource a list of worthy organizations from your employees and encourage generosity.
Harness Technology to Share Good News and Kudos — just because you won’t be having a face-to-face meeting doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate wins via Zoom.
Provide Opportunities for Professional Development — You may not be sending employees to conferences and seminars but tap into online learning opportunities like webinars, courses and coaching for your staff to make them feel valued and keep them engaged by acquiring more skills and knowledge.
Buy Lunch from Afar — Support local restaurants offering take out and/or delivery services by ordering lunch for employees. If the logistics are tricky consider giving employees gift cards for third party delivery services like Grub Hub, Door Dash and Uber Eats.
Give Gift Cards to Local Businesses — Share your gratitude with your team with a gift card to a local business and make it a win-win for everyone!
Send the Gift of Food – Why not share a practical gift everyone needs? A gift card to a local food chain like Kroger, Publix, Safeway and more might be what employees would appreciate most. Major grocery stores now offer online ordering with pick-up and/or delivery. Instacart, an online shopping and delivery service that pulls from local grocery stores also sells gift cards.
gThankYou Gift Certificates are accepted in-store at major grocery chain stores nationally and are an easy and flexible way to provide the gift of food to a distributed workforce. Send Certificates for fun items like ice cream, pies and candy, wholesome options like fruits and veggies or simply the gift of groceries – good for any food items.)
Nelson closed with this apt quote: “…we must make an effort to cultivate inclusive, connected digital communities that thrive with recognition.”
Supporting remote employees during these challenging times will take creativity, patience and commitment. We hope these ideas help you in your efforts to have workers feel valued and supported.
The gThankYou! Team wishes you, your families and your work place families safety and good health.Read More
There isn’t just one recipe for success when it comes to employee recognition; there are many thoughtful ways to acknowledge employees’ dedication and hard work. Leaders who take the time and energy to show employee gratitude year-round end up with happier team members and a more enjoyable workplace.
We couldn’t agree more with this recent Forbes article that states,
“Never underestimate the power of ‘thank you.’ Everyone wants to feel recognized and appreciated, so encourage employees to thank the people around them, including their colleagues, senior leaders, and employers, on a regular basis, year-round.”
So what are you waiting for? It’s always the “time of year” for gratitude!
Celebrate Spring in the Workplace
Right now, many people are gearing up for Easter (Sunday, April 12). While not everyone celebrates this holiday, it can easily be regarded as a “Spring into Spring” workplace celebration with chocolate, bunnies, family meals and egg-hunting – which everyone would welcome and enjoy.
If you have concerns about tackling Easter at work, take a look at our blog post about Why You Should Celebrate Easter in the Workplace. It is chock full of ideas about how to make Easter-ish and spring workplace celebrations entertaining and appropriate for everyone!
Another resource is “4 Easter Employee Engagement Ideas For Your Office.” Dying eggs is easy and relaxing, allowing employees to chat while dipping. And a Peep diorama? How fun would that be? Check out these creative winners!
Share the Gift of an Easter Ham
If you are pondering how to shower employees with a “Happy Spring” thank you, consider the gift of a holiday ham. For many, the gift of a ham for Easter is a valued and welcome gift. It evokes family and underscores the joy and warmth that comes from sharing a special meal together. gThankYou makes it easy to share the gift of ham – during springtime or whenever you want to share your workplace appreciation.
Want more choice? Consider our Ham or Turkey Gift Certificate. Recipients choose what’s best for the centerpiece of their family celebration.
Be sure to check out our Spring cards selection, they are guaranteed to brighten someone’s day and are always free with any purchase.
Thinking you’d rather go the sweet route? How about a Candy Gift Certificate? Since sugar makes the world go ‘round, this is always a fan favorite for employee appreciation gifts. There are so many seasonal candy classics like jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and of course Peeps in every color.
Our Holiday Ham Guide Gift for You!
At gThankYou, we love a delicious, juicy ham with all the fixings. That’s why we created our Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide – so everyone can cook a a crowd-pleasing ham! Our Guide is packed with pages of ham goodness, including an exploration and explanation of the different kinds of ham, cooking tips, menu planning ideas, food safety strategies, recipes and much more!
And even better, it’s FREE for you! Download it now and share with colleagues and friends. Give this guide/cookbook with your gift of a holiday ham and delight your recipients. They will appreciate getting not just the centerpiece of their meal, but all of the helpful hints contained in the guide.
Do you want to learn new ways to glaze a ham? Interested in how to properly cook and carve? Intrigued by new recipes that inspire novice and top chefs alike? Then look no further! Check out the Ultimate Holiday Ham Guide for inspiration and practical advice.
Happy spring and Easter from your friends at gThankYou! We appreciate YOU.Read More
Building and sustaining a workplace culture of appreciation requires vision, long-term commitment and strong execution.
Research proves appreciating employees day-in and day-out enhances engagement, fuels productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.
And at it’s heart, appreciating employees means finding and making opportunities to share your heartfelt and sincere thanks – now and throughout the year.
gThankYou’s “2020 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar“ – is your unique how-to guide for building that vibrant, lasting culture of appreciation that employees will love.
How-to Guide Provides Research & Tools for Celebrating Employees – FREE!
In this one-of-a-kind eBook, we give you the tools to educate and inspire you to build an everyday culture of appreciation.
This year’s fresh and fun engagement and appreciation Calendar contains:
- Recent trends in employee appreciation, engagement and gratitude in the workplace
- Creative ideas for employee appreciation
- New case studies of appreciation in action
- Exciting new resources for building a healthier, happier workplace.
It’s the perfect resource to inspire 2020 employee engagement and appreciation planning!
Every year at this time, we share our brand-new Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation and Celebration Calendar for the coming year. It’s free and our holiday gift to you and your colleagues!
Easy Month-by-Month Celebrations
Each month identifies “Don’t Miss Celebrations” and “Ready-to-Go Celebrations” to make your job engaging and appreciation colleagues easier and more fun! Use our ideas “as is” or modify them to better meet your needs.
This Calendar resource is intended to inspire your employee engagement and appreciation planning. Use our examples and ideas for a basis of brainstorming with your team for GREAT ideas that fit your workplace culture.
Let us know what works well for you and we might feature you in next year’s Calendar!!
Get a jump start on 2020 by downloading your free copy now and sharing with colleagues!
We wish you and your colleagues an inspired and joyful new year!Read More
One of our favorite moments is when we unveil the new Enclosure Cards for Christmas and the winter holidays. It’s our own little version of the traditional tree-lighting. 🎄
This season, we have some exciting new designs to help you offer a meaningful “thank you” to your hardworking team members.
Write a Note of Appreciation
What do employees want most for the holidays? Your appreciation and thanks for their efforts, loyalty and contributions.
When you share your holiday employee gifts, include a sincere and heartfelt note of gratitude. It will transform your gift-giving – lifting spirits, making your gift memorable and ensuring recipients feel valued and appreciated.
It’s why we offer attractive Enclosure Cards for the holidays and everyday occasions – free with every purchase so all gThankYou gifts are wrapped in gratitude.
New Holiday Card Designs
Whether you prefer elegant or playful, snowy scenes or strings of lights, “happy holidays” or “peace and joy,” there’s an appealing holiday-themed Enclosure Card to fit your company’s style. Create your own message of appreciation or use one of ours – Click to see all our Christmas and Winter Card Designs.
Here are our newest additions for your holiday note of cheer and gratitude:
Download a Catalog of Popular Designs
Want a PDF of our popular designs to share with colleagues?
As always, gThankYou Enclosure Cards come free with any purchase of our Certificates of Gratitude. Choose your favorite design, include a thoughtfully-crafted message of appreciation and sign it in text or with a logo. We’ll gladly send you a proof to approve, and we’ll make edits until you love it!
There’s still time to give the workplace holiday gift everyone loves. Order your gThankYou Certificates of Gratitude now – for ham or turkey, pie, ice cream or groceries and let your holiday gratitude bring joy and appreciation to your workplace.
Wishing you and your colleagues a wonderful holiday season.Read More
As we approach celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, this quote from Melody Beattie beautifully reminds us of the transformative power of gratitude at the holidays – and every day.
Beattie knows about the transformative power of gratitude having survived a traumatic childhood, addiction and the loss of a child but emerging from this to live a a full and rewarding life. After having an epiphany in rehab that got her to focus her energies on “the right things,” she became a renowned self-help author (she literally wrote the book on codependency, followed by many other bestsellers) and remains a celebrated writer and an inspiring beacon for many struggling with addiction and grief. The daily meditations on her website (or apps) are a good way to start or end your day!
Let’s break down what she said in this quote because while it’s the perfect quote as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it’s also a powerful reminder for us to look at every day through the lens of gratitude.
“Unlocks the fullness of life…”
Who doesn’t want to live their life fully, experiencing the maximum of satisfaction and joy at both home and at work. Gratitude opens our eyes to the beauty and goodness of the world around us. It energizes us and brings hope. Sharing gratitude brings out the best in those around us too.
“Turns what we have into enough…”
Gratitude allows us to be thankful for the abundance of good things in life and not be driven by societal or selfish needs. Gratitude helps us realize we are, and we have, enough.
Research finds that “just acting grateful can make you feel grateful” says Arthur C. Brooks in “Choose to be Grateful. It will make you Happier.” He goes on to say:
“If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not.”
“…turns denial into acceptance…”
Gratitude let’s us enjoy relatives and friends for who they are – imperfections and all. And, most importantly accepting ourselves for doing the best we can. Gratitude heals.
In a recent Forbes article on gratitude, positive psychologist researcher and author Robert Emmons “cites research showing the effectiveness of gratitude in buffering stress and building resilience. He even recommends a strategy he calls “Remember the bad.” The point is not to dwell on the negative, but to look back and reflect on difficult experiences and how we got through them. In doing so, we learn not to take our current blessings for granted. We are also reminded of the resources that helped us weather past storms.”
“…chaos to to order, confusion to clarity…”
Stopping to take a breath and reframing stress that can come at the holidays (or any day) is an opportunity to clear your mind and re-prioritize what’s important. Being grateful helps put what’s really important in perspective.
“…turns a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger to a friend.”
No matter the scale of the meal, gratitude for the bounty and those we share it with turns any occasion into a “feast”.
Thanksgiving is a holiday uniquely steeped in a history of gratitude. It’s the one time of year we treat everyone as family. It’s gratitude that allows us to open our hearts and our homes.
This holiday season share your gratitude and share in the joy you spread.
Wherever and however you celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope the meal becomes a feast of gratitude for you and your loved ones.Read More
By Cheryl Baker, Co-Founder and Director of Social Capital, Give and Take, Inc.
When you hear the term “contagion,” what image comes to mind? Disease. Panic in mass crowds. Viral social media trends. Perhaps this time of year, you think of the flu.
Scientists have found that within groups, thoughts and moods can be just as contagious as physical diseases or behaviors. In a phenomenon called emotional contagion, researchers have observed that “individuals tend to express and feel emotions that are similar to those of others,” seeming to “catch” the feelings of those around them.
While the word “contagion” often carries a negative connotation, research on the benefits of emotional contagion has shown that this ripple effect may be a secret workplace weapon for productivity and engagement. If you have a culture of generosity and appreciation, you’ve likely seen this in action.
Not sure if you have a generous workplace?
This free quiz will give you some idea of where you stand today.
If you still have some work to do in terms of building a generous culture, it may help to educate employees on the benefits of generosity in the workplace. It’s more than just giving to United Way during the annual drive. It’s about making a commitment to share your time, talent, expertise, connections, advice, and help in ways that don’t overextend throughout the year.
Why should we give?
Here’s the good news for leaders: creating a culture of giving is great for your workers, but extensive research shows why building a sustainably collaborative culture is good for companies. It makes companies more efficient, innovative and productive. It increases profitability and revenue. It improves customer satisfaction and employee retention. It’s the classic win/win.
Sometimes, if we’re going to encourage employees to participate more fully and wholeheartedly in a culture of productive generosity, we need to show them what’s in it for them.
A willingness to ask for help and give help to others at work is not just a fluffy, feel-good concept. There are real, tangible, measurable benefits to being a giver at work:
1. Giving makes us happy
There have been countless studies that suggest helping others improves the helper’s own mood as much, if not more, than the recipient of the help. A study at University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that altruism in the workplace had relatively large effects on happiness.
Professor Donald Moynihan says, “Our findings make a simple but profound point about altruism: helping others makes us happier. Altruism is not a form of martyrdom, but operates for many as part of a healthy psychological reward system.”
2. Giving increases gratitude
Doing favors for others increases gratitude, which in itself is a positive emotion that can improve an individual’s health and well-being. In a study evaluating interventions for lasting happiness, founder of positive psychology Martin Seligman found that a daily gratitude practice was one of only two ways participants were able to increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms over the long-term.
3. Giving inspires more giving
Paying it forward pays off. Contagion researchers James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis found that one person’s initial generosity can spark a chain reaction of benevolence up to three times as large as the original contribution. The single act can begin what social scientists call a “virtuous circle,” where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s and so on. People are grateful for help received and are motivated to pay it forward according to research by Dr. Wayne Baker and Nathaniel Bulkley.
4. Giving makes us more well-liked
When you help others, you become someone that others can trust and rely on when they have a future knowledge, resource or connection need.
5. Giving grows and strengthens our networks
Offering help to others helps you make connections within your organization that you may not have otherwise made, which will increase your resources next time you need help. Moreover, these connections are more likely to be high-quality connections. So while we may not be givers for the express purpose of getting a reward, there are possible career and financial advantages to doing so.
6. Enjoy greater happiness and good health
Research shows that people who are givers are happier and healthier both mentally and physically. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post on the health benefits of being a giver at work.
7. Be the change you wish to see in the world
Giving back to others by offering your knowledge, connections and resources makes your world and your work environment a little better. Work environments with givers breed more generous behavior in others. The whole culture of a company can start to change.
8. Boost your career
According to Wharton professor and Give and Take co-founder Adam Grant, corporate “givers” are ultimately the highest performers and the most successful. Givers are able to tap into a network of knowledge and resources that provides them with greater resources and knowledge than those who try to succeed in isolation. If you’re interested in this aspect of generosity, Grant wrote a whole book on it, called Give and Take: How Helping Others Drives Our Success.
Pay it forward
The positive emotions generated through giving and receiving spreads through groups by way of emotional contagion and ripples through the entire organization. Research on groups experiencing positive emotional contagion found that more than good feelings spread. These groups experienced less interpersonal conflict, more successful cooperation, and felt they had performed better on their task than the control group.
When we give, the benefits are amplified and multiplied, as the positive emotions created by giving and expressing gratitude spread from one person to another. Even if we don’t give, we reap the benefits by being around people who are givers themselves. Barbara Fredrickson reports that people who merely witness or hear about a helpful interchange may experience positive emotions as well.
Benefits of asking for help
If Adam Grant wrote the book on giving, Wayne Baker wrote the book on asking for help (All You Have to Do is Ask, coming out January 2020). In his forthcoming book, he argues that asking for help at work is the most important skill for success.
It can be hard to ask for help at work. But it’s really important that we encourage our teams to do so (and help them learn how to do it) because the benefits are legion.
Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs. It helps us find new opportunities and new talent. It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance. And it helps us get the things we need outside the workplace as well.
And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask. Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we tend to think.
When you ask for what you need, you are:
- Building team camaraderie and cohesion. You are reinforcing the idea that it takes a strong team to make a difference.
- Making other people feel better.. Don’t think you are burdening someone else by asking for help, people enjoy helping each other! It is really a win-win: you get help and you make someone else feel good.
- More likeable. We like people who dare to show their vulnerability and ask for help on things that are challenging for them. You’re also setting a great example for your teammates.
- Getting smarter: A willingness to ask for help makes it easier to do your job, providing you with an answer, advice, or a different perspective or a connection to someone outside your network who has the knowledge or resources you need.
- More successful. No great achievement can be done alone, and asking for help makes us more productive. No one has all of the resources, connections and knowledge to be totally self-sufficient and maximally effective.
Besides, we’ve already established that being a giver is good for so many things. The best offers of help occur when someone has asked for it.
All of this starts with leaders setting a good example. Leaders should be generous with their own teams, sharing both time and talent as well as recognition and appreciation for a job well done.
About the Author
Cheryl Baker is an innovator in the field of social capital and an expert in the translation of social science principles. She’s also the co-founder of Give and Take Inc., along with Wayne Baker and Adam Grant and the creator of the Reciprocity Ring. Give and Take makes Givitas, software that connects any group of people to exchange help, including employees, customers, members, donors, students, alumni, and more. By fostering a giving culture, organizations of all sizes drive positive business outcomes like increased efficiency, productivity, loyalty, and engagement.Read More
Delight Employees This Holiday Season
Research backs up what successful organizations have known all along – that appreciating employees day-in and day-out feeds productivity, retains employees and transforms workplace culture.
In other words, as Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely says, “recognition drives engagement and engagement drives productivity.”
Gifts are a tangible way to express your appreciation for each employee’s contribution to your organization. It may seem like a simple gesture, but expressing genuine appreciation matters more to recipients than you may think.
Consider this: among workers who feel valued, 88% feel engaged and 93% say their motivated to do their best. (American Psychological Association).
And, when gratitude is regularly expressed, employee engagement, productivity and customer service ratings are 14% higher (Bersin by Deloitte).
Gifts Send a Powerful Message
What makes an employee gift successful? Hint: It’s not about the money.
The average employer spends $79 per employee on gifts, but most workers say they would be just as happy with lower-cost (or even no-cost) alternatives. What matters most is the spirit in which the gift is given.
The essence of workplace holiday gift-giving is gratitude: your gratitude for employees’ contributions over the past year and employees’ gratitude toward you for showing your appreciation.
Gift-Giving is an Opportunity to Show You Care
Workplace leaders understand gift-giving is an important opportunity – to show you care and make employees feel valued.
So how does one choose a successful employee gift?
Find out in our new eBook, “Making Employee Gifts Count, Secrets for Gift-Giving Success”!
In this free eBook, you learn from workplace experts not only why gift-giving is so important, but also how to do it well and effectively.
Inside this eBook you’ll learn:
- Why workplace gifts matter
- Understanding what workers value
- The best workplace gifts
- How much is enough
- Gift-giving do’s and don’ts
- How to make your gift memorable
Why wait? Download your FREE COPY Now!
Make Your Workplace Gifts Memorable
Sharing your sincere gratitude is what will make your gift truly memorable.
Just ask Sheldon Yellen who as CEO of BELFOR Holdings Inc. writes over 9,000 employee thank you and birthday notes a year. “Yellen has found taking the time to write out a card for each and every person has created a culture of compassion through the whole company.”
Whenever possible, put your appreciation in writing. It will not only be memorable but will likely become a keepsake. Think about those times someone took the time to pen a note of thanks to you. Chances are you kept that note.
Whether you intend to write a holiday letter to your entire workplace or have plans to hand-write a thank you note to your team, we applaud you and encourage you to take advantage of our resources for inspiration and real-world examples.
How to Write a Thanksgiving Letter to Employees
Your FREE guide to putting the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving for your workplace.
gThankYou’s popular resource for writing a thoughtful Thanksgiving or holiday employee letter. Full of examples of real employee letters and how-to insight for crafting a meaningful letter employees will treasure.
How to Write Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure
Our go-to resource for writing meaningful employee and customer thank you notes – anytime!
Understand the basic pillars of praise and the anatomy of an effective Thank You note. A great resource for anyone new to workplace thank you notes or who wants to learn how to make them more impactful.
Download this FREE guide now!
The holidays can be the most rewarding time of year for gift-givers and receivers alike. We hope you find our gift-giving guide useful now and throughout the year, and we wish you and your entire team all the best this season.
Should your holiday gift-giving plans involve the much loved gift of a Turkey Or Ham, we would be honored to serve you.Read More
Any time is a good time to say thank you to employees! Workers who feel valued and appreciated will be happier, more productive and more loyal.
The transition from spring to summer presents a wide variety of established opportunities to show appreciation that naturally fit into this season, but don’t lose sight of the impact of saying thank you and showing gratitude any day of the year.As American philosopher and psychologist Williams James astutely observed:“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”Saying thanks in the workplace matters really does matter to the success of your business! Check out these numbers from O.C. Tanner’s “The Business Case for Recognition”:
Read MoreAn insightful Forbes article described culture as the backbone of a happy workforce. That’s a great metaphor because a positive company culture favorably impacts recruitment, increases job satisfaction, inspires collaboration, boosts morale and reduces stress. It’s the secret to being a great place to work. A referenced Deloitte study examining core beliefs and culture revealed there’s a link between employees who say they are “happy at work” and feel “valued by their company” and those who say their organization has a clearly articulated and lived culture.Speaking of culture, cultureIQ gathered their “favorite culture and employee engagement statistics” into one handy spot. Their statement about the impact of culture is a strong reminder that:Culture impacts every corner of your business. Leadership stays on the same page. Employees are happier and, therefore, more engaged and productive. Prospective employees are more interested in joining and staying with your company. Perhaps most importantly, all these components work together to give your company its competitive advantage.In today’s extremely tight labor market, you need every competitive advantage that you can get!Beyond the data they share, the team at cultureIQ has a free downloadable guide of 60+ culture tips – don’t miss it!Read More
- O.C. Tanner revealed that 94% of regularly recognized employees said it motivates them to do great work
- WorkHuman shared that 89% of regularly recognized employees are highly engaged
- The Wall Street Journal reported that 81% of employees say they work harder for a grateful manager
- Glassdoor disclosed that 53% would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss
While some may pick the official Employee Appreciation Day to celebrate their employees’ contributions, really any day is the perfect day to thank employees for their hard work and dedication to your business! (more…)Read MoreGet your calendar out and start scheduling some fun – happiness will follow! March is the ideal month to build workplace happiness – winter is dragging on and for most of us, spring seems a long way off. Luckily this month is FULL of opportunities to share workplace appreciation and inspire some easy fun.Hopefully you have already downloaded our free Day-to-Day Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2019 so these celebrations may already be on your radar. If not, click the link above and let’s get started!Read MoreWith an acceptance rate under 7% and ACT scores of admitted students hovering around 32-35, the likelihood of most people having access to an Ivy League education in Yale’s hallowed halls are slim. But we can all benefit from the fascinating and completely practical information that is shared in one of that revered educational institution’s most popular courses, “Psychology and the Good Life.”Psychology Professor Laurie Santos specializes in evolution and animal cognition, but after living among undergrads when she became head of Yale’s Silliman College (think the Houses of Hogwarts), she realized just how stressed out and depressed they were. Reviewing mental health surveys from the National College Health Assessment she learned that the issues Yale students were having were similar to those of college students across the country. Students report already high and increasing rates of anxiety, depression and hopelessness.Santos set out to design a course to convey not just the science behind positive psychology research but how putting those concepts into practice could have a profound impact on students’ happiness and quality of life. Santos did not anticipate the the overwhelming interest in her course from students (1 in 4 students at Yale have taken her class), nor did she predict that it would become a sensation with articles in the New York Times, O Magazine, national television appearances and international media coverage.Read More
Today is #GivingTuesday. On this day of giving back, consider how sharing in the joys of charity and volunteerism at work engages employees. Gratitude-focused celebrations like #GivingTuesday help build a year-round spirit of workplace gratitude.
The gratitude we share over the holiday season isn’t a once-a-year diversion. Let it inspire an everyday culture of workplace gratitude in your company!
Gratitude “the high-octane fuel” of relationships, says psychology professor and eminent gratitude researcher Robert Emmons in a Fast Company article this week.
It’s vital to working relationships in particular.
Studies show that gratitude acts as a disinfectant against the “exploitation, complaint, entitlement, gossip and negativity” that plague companies with toxic workplace culture, according to Emmons. Gratitude sweeps away the toxicity and replaces it with positivity — it motivates employees, encourages loyalty, relieves stress and makes us all healthier and kinder.
“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” Emmons tells Fast Company. “Gratitude heals, energizes and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards.”
Want a great workplace culture? The secret is gratitude.
Be inspired by the following quotes for your workplace celebration of #GivingTuesday and download your free eBook below on how to build a lasting workplace culture of gratitude.
(more…)Read MoreGratitude in our personal and professional lives is a trending topic these days, but when we first introduced our popular ebook, Transforming Your Workplace With Gratitude, in 2013 we were in the vanguard of the workplace gratitude movement as it relates to company culture and employee engagement.
Sharing new information related to this fascinating topic through our publications and blog has long been a priority and we’re proud to release this newly updated 2018 edition.
Since its introduction, our eBook on workplace gratitude has been a helpful guide for companies, large and small, as they learned to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Over the last five years, research has underscored the power of gratitude in our lives.
This growing body of research demonstrates that companies that make an effort to appreciate employees are among the most successful, most innovative companies in the world and have the highest rates of employee satisfaction and retention.
Our original 2013 version has been completely rewritten with a focus on how to build authentic appreciation in the workplace today. While the key element in achieving that remains gratitude, the book is an exciting resource for businesses who are either curious to learn more as they embark on this journey or remain committed to sustaining a culture of appreciation.
Why We Love Workplace Gratitude
In his book “The Little Book of Gratitude,” the world’s foremost gratitude expert, Professor Robert A. Emmons, calls gratitude “the ultimate performance-enhancing substance.” Who wouldn’t want that in the workplace?
Imagine what your work team could accomplish with a 50 percent jump in productivity. What if you could slash voluntary turnover by 31 percent?
Part of the answer lies in just two words: “Thank you.” Experts agree that authentic gratitude makes all the difference.
“Thank you” is more than good manners. it’s a powerful force that elevates employee wellbeing, loyalty, productivity and business performance. Not convinced? Download our free eBook and learn why leading business executives take workplace appreciation very seriously.
We feel strongly about the transformative power of gratitude and think you will too!
(more…)Read MoreMaybe your New Year’s resolution for the year was to get organized and plan ahead for employee engagement activities at your job. The year is winding down but that doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of the helpful tools and creative ideas to energize the holiday season in your workplace with gThankYou’s Day-to- Day Employee Celebration Calendar.
A lot of great things can happen in the next three months and this how-to guide will aid you in building an everyday culture of appreciation. Each month includes dates to celebrate and a mini-case study.
October’s focus is on fun, November includes tips on writing a meaningful Thanksgiving Letter for employees and December delves into what our employees really want for the holidays.
Fourth quarter is also a great time to plan for next year!
We’ll be launching our updated Employee Celebration Calendar soon – newly updated and full of fun ideas and inspiration for your planning. It’s the perfect supplement to building out your employee engagement plans for the new year.
Create Your Own Employee Engagement Calendar
Need inspiration to start on your new year planning?
Christina Thompson, writing for Quantum Workplace, has outlined some excellent strategies for creating a custom calendar. It’s a great way to start working through your plan thinking. She advises asking yourself questions about the following topics and consider the communication needs and timelines that come with each:Read More
Didn’t plan ahead for Employee Appreciation Day which occurs the first Friday in March? Or are you just looking for anytime employee appreciation ideas to help you and your team brainstorm for the coming months?
We’ve got you covered!
First, don’t worry that you haven’t planned ahead. A big appreciation dinner that takes months of planning — with catered food, entertainment and party games — can be a treat for employees, but it’s far from the only way to thank employees for their hard work.
In fact, spontaneous “Thanks!” are just as important. Everyday expressions of gratitude show employees that their efforts are noticed day in and day out, not just once or twice a year.
It gets to the heart of why employee appreciation is so meaningful: it communicates to staff that leadership is paying attention to them and cares about their performance. A few words of recognition from leadership mean a lot to rank-and-file employees, particularly in a distributed workforce, where face time with the C-suite is infrequent or nonexistent.
Bottom line: people love to be noticed for what they do. Everyday appreciation is a reminder that their work matters.
“Saying ‘Thank You’ encourages a gracious, polite and civilized workplace,” writes ChicagoNow’s Scott Huntington.
Over time, thanking employees fosters a culture in which gratitude is shared frequently and effortlessly. And that has a real business impact: 78 percent of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated, according to Limeade.
Employee Appreciation Ideas: 10 Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ on the FlyRead More
gThankYou’s popular Employee Appreciation Calendar for 2018 is here!
We’ve updated our annual day-to-day appreciation calendar with lots of new topics, new case studies and even more holidays and reasons to celebrate! Download your free copy of our “2018 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar” and jump-start your employee engagement and appreciation planning for the New Year.
Appreciation is a major factor in workplace happiness and functionality. And employees are more likely than ever to leave their company if they don’t receive it.
According to the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley, 66 percent of employees would leave their companies if they did not feel appreciation — up from 51 percent in 2012.
Everyone wins when company leaders prioritize employee appreciation.
“Recognizing the benefits we receive from others makes us happier and healthier, enhances trust and loyalty, and encourages people to connect and invest in the workplace,” writes Greater Good’s Amie M. Gordon.
Sounds great, right?
The challenge is finding ways to consistently and authentically show appreciation, day in and day out. Vowing to thank employees more often is a good start, for example, but it isn’t specific enough to be an actionable goal.
gThankYou’s 2018 Employee Appreciation Calendar helps you identify your company’s specific needs and develop a plan to share gratitude throughout the year (not just at the holidays or annual appreciation dinner). Ultimately, the goal is a happier workforce, higher retention and bigger profits.
Read on for a sneak peek at what our 2018 Calendar has in store for you!
Happy Halloween! It’s the perfect holiday for dressing up, eating candy, carving pumpkins and having some workplace fun.
But in all the fun, don’t forget a key element: recognizing and thanking employees. It really is the secret to planning effective and worthwhile fun activities in the workplace.
A report released this week shows many companies have their priorities mixed up when it comes to engaging employees with workplace fun. What employees actually want doesn’t always match what employers think they want.
The report is based on a survey by HR systems firm Sage People. It asked workers for opinions on various workplace benefits and conditions.
Quirky perks like a job-site ping pong table got a resounding “meh” from employees. Meanwhile, 72 percent of those surveyed said that feeling valued and recognized is what they value most when it comes to their day-to-day work experience.
“The research reveals that while many companies invest in quirky benefits to keep staff happy, employees aren’t impressed,” the report concluded.
Does this mean ping pong tables, games and fun activities don’t belong in the workplace? Not at all! Having fun at work builds creativity, engagement and teamwork.
But it isn’t reasonable to install a pool table in the break room and expect employee engagement to automatically go up.
Perspective, and a culture of appreciation, must come first. That means a) listening to employees, and b) incorporating appreciation into day-to-day work as well as special celebrations and activities.
Of the employees surveyed by Sage People, a whopping 42 percent said they have never been asked by their employer what they believe would improve their work experience.
“The findings show a disconnect between the benefits employers provide and what employees want. This failure to listen is costing businesses in the form of reduced productivity levels and a disengaged workforce,” the report says.
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- North Carolina-based Hospice of Davidson County implemented a Hospice Heroes campaign to show appreciation for workers putting themselves at consistent risk of COVID-19 infection while providing end-of-life care to patients. The campaign featured an online form to leave messages of gratitude as an encouragement for their staff members. Additionally a banner was hung at one of the organization’s hospices and luminaries were light for each hard-working staff member.