Installing and cultivating a culture of workplace gratitude is a process that needs to start at the top and work its way through the ranks of your employees until they are all fully cognizant and appreciative of each other. How many times do your workers thank one another for a job well done? How often are they willing to go the extra mile to help their coworkers or you when adversity strikes? No one will continue to do that if they feel their efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated.
A recent Mildred Culp article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal cites an incident at NerdWallet Inc where a data overhaul needed to be done on short notice. The team, working from two separate continents, managed to complete the project and launch their product on time. How? “I really appreciate my coworkers,” senior analyst Susan Lyon is quoted as saying. NerdWallet’s investment in building an environment of appreciation really paid off in this case.
Recognition Makes Employees Feel More Valued
A study on gratitude expressions conducted by the American Psychological Association in June 2010 revealed that workers experience “stronger feelings of self-efficacy and social worth” when they are thanked for their efforts. The research, conducted by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino, is referenced in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article titled “How to Give a Meaningful Thank You”. It should be required reading in every company.
Some firms include instruction on workplace gratitude in their management training programs. According to Wendy Woods, MBA and principal at Athena Training and Consulting, “Empathy is one of the skills required for Emotional Intelligence, which accounts for 80% of success at work.” Supporting this emotional need, when coupled with social components such as public recognition and reward, results in a more productive workplace.
Involving Employees Fosters a Culture of Gratitude
Asking for employee feedback, involving them in the decision-making process, and setting up teams where workers can collaborate on projects are all opportunities to express workplace gratitude. A Christine M. Riordan recent article in the Harvard Business Review talks about these actions as steps in fostering a culture of gratitude. Allowing and encouraging employees to be more a part of shaping and running a company also raises their self-esteem, resulting in a more productive and healthy environment.
Implement peer-to-peer recognition programs. Invest in learning and development programs that will give your workers a better chance for advancement and pay raises. Write notes when you want to thank an employee for a job well done and encourage them to write notes to customers thanking them for their patronage. These actions all help to build a culture of gratitude. Over time, the process becomes a general philosophy of how you do business. To learn more, read Douglas R. Conant’s post titled “Secrets of Positive Feedback”.
Bring an Attitude of Gratitude into the Community
Management expresses gratitude to employees. Employees express their gratitude to customers. What’s next? How about bringing that “attitude of gratitude” into the community? Service projects with employee volunteers working side by side with management are events where company unity is solidified and a positive corporate image is enhanced. They are wonderful chances for employee engagement and getting to know each other on a more human level outside of the office. We’ll be talking more about this in future posts, so be sure to subscribe to our blog before you leave this page.
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