• New Cards – Bundle Your Employee Gifts in Gratitude

    Photo by Aaron Burden

    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 bundle your 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 Enclosure 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:

    Want a PDF of our popular designs to share with colleagues?

    Download our updated Christmas and Winter Enclosure Card Design Catalog now.

    Download Your Free "Winter Holiday Enclosure Card Design Catalog" Now!

    As always, gThankYou Enclosure Cards come free with any purchase of our Certificates of Gratitude. Choose your favorite Enclosure Card 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 turkeypieice cream or groceries and let your holiday gratitude bring joy and appreciation to your workplace.

    Wishing you and your colleagues a wonderful holiday season.

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  • Focusing on Gratitude Adds Meaning to Holidays

    From “The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series”, author Melody Beattie.

    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.

    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.

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  • Generosity at Work: 8 Benefits

    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:

    1. Building team camaraderie and cohesion. You are reinforcing the idea that it takes a strong team to make a difference.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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. 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. 

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  • Secrets for Employee Gift-Giving Success

    Holiday gifts for employees

    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.

    Download your FREE copy of gThankYou's "Making Employee Gifts Count, Secrets to Gift-Giving Success"!

    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

    Put the thanks in Thanksgiving

    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.

    Download this FREE guide now!

    How to Write Thank You Notes Employees Will Treasure

    Writing ThankYou Notes

    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.

    Download your free guide to "Making Employee Gifts Count, the Secrets to Gift-Giving Success"!

    Should your holiday gift-giving plans involve the much loved gift of a Turkey Or Ham, we would be honored to serve you.

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  • Everyday Employee Thank You Ideas

    Thank you mugs

    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”:
    • 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

    (more…)

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  • Secrets to Being a Great Place to Work

    Happy Diverse Workers
    An 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!

    (more…)

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  • Every Day Can Be Employee Appreciation Day

    Employee Appreciation Day

    A sweet employee thank you! Via Flickr: CleverCupca

    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…)

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  • March: Time to Build Workplace Happiness!

    It's easy to build workplace happiness with gThankYou's Employee Celebration Calendar.

    Check out gThankYou’s free 2019 Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar! Every month is full of great ideas for sharing appreciation in the workplace.

    Get 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!

    (more…)

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  • Let’s Make February Workplace Kindness Month!

    Random Acts of Kindness Week

    Acts of kindness are one of the most powerful ways we have to connect with others.
    February is the perfect month to share workplace kindness  – with Random Acts of Kindness Day (17th) and Week (February 17th though the 22nd), and Valentine’s Day! Take advantage of these dates and inspire kindness in your workplace.

    Planting seeds of kindness yields improved moods and productivity. Better yet, it’s contagious. Share a little kindness and see how it ripples through your office.

    Easy Ways to Share Workplace Kindness

    Here are some fun and easy strategies you can try out in February (or anytime):

    Build workplace kindness with compliments! Download this free compliment poster for your workplace.

    Build workplace kindness with compliments! Download this free compliment poster by Kind Over Matter for your workplace.

    • Create a kindness wall
      Add some prompts and provide lots of colorful post-it notes. Encourage everyone to participate. Take pictures and share the workplace love socially – #RAKDay #MakeKindnessTheNorm #KindnessMatters
    • Spread messages of kindness
      Blanket the workplace with fun posters, notes, emails, etc. of appreciation and encouragement. Delight colleagues with little gifts of appreciation.
    • Help colleagues learn something new about each other
      Be creative! Have work groups select “get to know you questions” and answer out-loud. Send departments that don’t work together to a lunch together and provide thought provoking questions on the table.
    • Share a thoughtful Candy or Ice Cream Gift Certificate
      A homemade treat is heartwarming but impractical with a large organization. Keep it easy and affordable with a $5 gThankYou Gift Certificate for Candy or Ice Cream and a note of thanks!
    • Plan a week of workplace kindness activities
      Plan an entire week to celebrate and spread kindness in the workplace. Here’s your guide to keeping it easy, fun and focused on kindness:  7 Days of Workplace Kindness”

    Kindness is Contagious – Help Spread It Year-Round

    As Emilia Earhart once said, “No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another.”
    Make 2019 the year to build your kinder and happier workplace. Begin with these inspiring and helpful resources:

    Spread workplace kindness with Random Acts of Kindness free downloadable materials for the workplace.

    Spread messages of kindness throughout the workplace. Take advantage of Random Acts of Kindness’s FREE posters, calendar, work-plans, etc. to promote kindness!

    • Download and share gThankYou’s “2019 Employee Celebration Calendar”
      This popular resource is full of ideas and the research behind building a kinder, happier and more loyal workplace all year-long.

    Simple Acts of Kindness to Start

    LiveLoveWork.com has provided a prompt to boost kindness at work for each week of the year!
    Most of these ideas are really easy to do but could really have an impact on a co-worker’s day (and your day too!).  Here are some of our favorites –we kept their original numbers from the list of 52:

    • Hold the door open for the person behind you. (#9)
    • Make a mental list of all the things you enjoy about your work. (#10)
    • Be a cheerleader for someone else’s idea or project. (#18)
    • Let go of a grudge. (#24)
    • Give someone the benefit of the doubt. (#31)
    • Share an uplifting blog post. (Like this one from gThankYou…) (#36)
    • Bring in books you loved and pass them on. (#38)
    • Start and end meetings on time. (#43)
    • Pass on coupons you don’t need. (#47)
    • Create a custom playlist for a co-worker. (#50)
    • Be responsible for the energy you bring to your workplace. (#52)

    Here’s another list we love for posting in the workplace. This acrostic contains 20 tips from O.C. Tanner about random acts of kindness in the workplace. It underscores how being kind can be simple, but isn’t always our default setting, especially in the workplace.
    Here’s just a teaser with the word “random”:

    R: Recognize when someone is having a bad day; find out what you can do to help.

    A: Ask a coworker a thoughtful question, then listen (really listen!) to the response.

    N: Nix gossip when you hear it.

    D: Drop off a delicious snack at someone’s desk.

    O: Offer to help with a task a coworker doesn’t enjoy.

    M: Make time to connect with a former colleague.

    Check out the rest of their acrostic (acts of kindness) for more great ideas.

    Mini-Case Study: “Send a Snuggle Day” for Acts of Kindness Week

    Best ever workplace kindness idea - send a snuggle for Random Acts of Kindness Day!
    Our favorite idea for sharing workplace kindness is from the Monroe County Humane Association in Indiana. We love this idea so much it’s in our 2019 Employee Celebration Calendar!
    Monroe County Humane Association in Indiana raises money through its “Send a Snuggle Day” for Random Acts of Kindness Week. For the annual event, which began in 2014, the public can donate money to send “animal ambassadors” to spread a little cheer and kindness to a person or team of their choosing.

    The snuggly emissaries have included dogs, kittens, rabbits, goats, a miniature horse, and an albino snake. (No one ever sends the snake, MCHA executive director Rebecca Warren notes.) Volunteers accompany the animals into banks, schools, and other workplaces.
    Warren told the Indiana Daily Student that when Send a Snuggle visits a workplace, it’s usually not just one person who reaps the benefits.

    “It becomes an entire facility response. Everyone is so excited when they see the animal. Everyone’s taking pictures and getting down on the floor. At least three people cry,” Warren said. “Send a Snuggle is the best day of the year to do my job. It’s wonderful to see people get so excited and emotional about it.”

    We’d love to hear your workplace kindness stories.  Share them with us and we will share them on social media and highlight them in our blog!
    We hope your new year is off to a great start and wish you and your colleagues a year that is full of hope, happiness and kindness.
    The gThankYou! Team

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  • A Yale Class Can Help Employees Be Happier

    Help employees be happier with these practical, science based recommendationsWith 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.

    These same principles can help employees be happier too!

    Lucky for us all, Santos shared the main takeaways from her course in a Aspen Ideas Festival lecture last June and that lecture is available as a iTunes podcast from the Aspen Institute as well transcribed text as a pdf).
    We highly recommend setting aside time to take in her 60 minute lecture.  It is time well spent. In fact, you might want to listen (or watch) with colleagues, friends or family members.  Don’t be intimidated by Santos’ prestigious academic pedigree.  She presents the science in an accessible way, lays out her points in a manner that is easy to digest and offers practical strategies that you can then translate into your workplace efforts.  Santos suggests that we all combat stress, depression and anxiety and be more proactive in our pursuit of happiness:
     “…I think we need to think seriously the idea that something is something is wrong, and we need to something about it.  The cool thing is that we have a way out.  We have hope.  The science teaches us what we need to do.  We just have to do it.”

    A few of the happiness building basics

    • Getting enough sleep – most college and high school students report only getting 4 – 5 hours of sleep.  Regardless of  your age your brain and body need more sleep than that and sleep has a big impact on mood.
    • Your genes don’t predict your capacity for happiness – while it may be true that you inherit some of your “glass is half full or half empty” attitude from your family, you have a capacity of about 40% to take control of your own behavior.
    • Get 30 minutes of cardio a day – even just a half hour of mild cardio every day can have the impact of a Zoloft prescription if you’re depressed.
    • Savor the moment – really experience things and be present in the moment.
    • Connecting with others will make you happier – even if you think you prefer solitude.  A study showed that Chicago commuters felt happier after talking to strangers and finding common ground, even when they thought they would rather be alone and quiet.

    How the course syllabus can translate into the workplace

    • Give the gift of time off (even for just an hour) – granting her students the unexpected luxury of an hour of time with instructions to do something fun, creative, interesting that wasn’t work had a profound impact, some students said that hour of time will be one of their strongest memories of their Yale experience.
    • Distribute gift cards or small amounts of cash to employees with the instruction that they must give it to another person. A research study showed that the good feelings for the giver of this type of generosity were long lasting and that the dollar amount didn’t matter.
    • Find ways to encourage employees to learn how-to and to practice meditation – consider bringing in a teacher to educate staff on the basics of mindfulness and/or provide guided meditation classes as part of your fitness program.

    Writing can help

    Santos shares these things you can do at both home and work that can increase happiness:

    • Write a gratitude list
    • Keep a gratitude journal
    • Write thank you notes

    Do the work

    Santos likens the practices she outlines in the course to exercise.  Simply learning about the effects of squats on your muscles doesn’t mean you will see increased strength in your legs and core – you need to get into the gym and do some squats. She sums it up this way:
    “You can hear all these studies and you can get an A in this class, but unless you put this stuff into practice, it’s not gonna help.  You have to do the work.”

    Learn like a Yalie, for free

    If you want a more immersive experience than the podcast or video, you can also take a free online version of the class through Coursera.  The Science of Well Being from Dr. Santos is one of Coursera’s most popular courses with more than 135,000 students from 168 countries across the globe participating in this scaled-down version of her Yale course.
    Can’t commit to the class but could benefit from an overview?  A writer at The Cut took the course and shared this cheat sheet to happiness.

    Happiness…a growing field of academic study

    Yale isn’t the only academic institution that is taking a serious look at happiness.  UC Berkeley was the first to offer a massive open online course (MOOC) on positive psychology.  The Science of Happiness course teaches science-based principles and practices for a happy, meaningful life.  Stanford is home to The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE).  Their must-read list on compassion and happiness is a wonderful resource on this topic.

    We can help you put the science into tangible workplace initiatives

    gThankYou has incorporated positive psychology research into content like Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude, our guide to gratitude at work, and blog posts.  We’ve taken the time to translate the science into practical best practices that can directly help employees be happier.
    Don’t delay. Download your free copy and share with colleagues.
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  • 11 Quotes to Inspire Workplace Gratitude

    Giving Tuesday Official Logo

    It’s #GivingTuesday! How will you be spreading workplace gratitude today? (Logo via GivingTuesday.org)

    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…)

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  • 10 Employee Appreciation Ideas

    Celebrate this Friday with these last minute these easy employee appreciation ideas!

    Need last-minute employee appreciation ideas? Try a build-your-own-sundae ice cream social. (Photo via poptech, Flickr)

    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 Fly

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  • Savvy HR: 2018 Employee Appreciation Calendar

    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!
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  • It’s Halloween! Don’t Forget Workplace Fun

    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.
    (more…)

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  • 8 Gratitude Activities for the Workplace

    Gratitude activities for the workplace build a kinder, happier and more purposeful culture.

    Gratitude activities for the workplace help build a kinder, happier and more purposeful culture. (Image via Yoel Ben-Avraham, Flickr)


    Gratitude activities for the workplace help build a kinder, happier and more purposeful culture — and more dedicated, productive, loyal employees.
    Culture is a main sticking point for companies struggling with disengagement, turnover and low morale.
    “People want to work for a company that has a culture of recognizing great work effort, great workers and actions that help grow the company,” Brian Sommer, a technology services analyst, writes for Diginomica.
    “This is the real recognition and reward challenge: getting a company to alter its culture and management practices to reward people who exhibit the behaviors that drive corporate success,” Sommer writes.
    Fixing bad workplace culture takes a renewed focus on rewards and recognition — but not as “an afterthought or bolt-on capability.”
    True cultural transformation happens when a) employee recognition is part of a greater shift toward a culture of gratitude, and b) company executives are 100 percent on-board.
    “Why executives? Because cultural change is not the responsibility of HR alone and it can’t be fixed by a mandate, technology or HR. It needs the support of all executives and management,” Sommer writes.
    One easy, practical way to help build a culture of gratitude is to involve employees and executives alike in a series of gratitude activities for the workplace.

    Everyday Gratitude Activities for the Workplace to Try Today

    Gratitude is not a one-and-done activity. It’s a practice.
    Think of it in terms of physical fitness.
    Recognition is like physical strength, and gratitude is the practice that makes it stronger.
    Just like weightlifters build their strength over time with a daily regimen of lifting, your company leaders strengthen their ability to show effective recognition through daily gratitude practice.
    And it’s a practice that keeps going. Think about it — weightlifters don’t just stop lifting once they’ve reached their goal; they have to maintain their strength.
    The workplace is the least likely place for Americans to express gratitude, according to a John Templeton Foundation study. Everywhere else — at school, in church, at the grocery store, in restaurants — we’re more willing to say “Thanks.”
    But, interestingly, the study showed everyone loves receiving gratitude at work. So what gives? Leadership is responsible. To bridge this gap, leaders in your company need to “break the ice” and demonstrate the value of expressing gratitude to help employees feel more comfortable expressing gratitude, too. And remember, ways to show gratitude don’t have to be costly either!
    Here are eight gratitude exercises for the workplace. Gratitude grows through practice, and everyday activities and exercises like these help nudge the process!
    1. Take a Gratitude Break
    During meetings, save a few minutes for team members to share a quick appreciation. Don’t overthink it. It can be as simple as, “I’m grateful to Sarah for making the coffee extra strong this morning,” or “Thanks to Tom for helping me organize my presentation files so I could be more efficient in front of the client.”
    Avoid gratitude for things — the freshly stocked supply closet is fantastic, but really our gratitude should go to our intern Rachel, who went out of her way to make sure we got everything we needed in time.
    2. Give Gifts to Share
    Receiving gifts is a treat, but sharing gifts feels good, too! The act of giving has intrinsic benefits for the giver. Share the joy of gift-giving (and receiving) by providing small gifts like gift certificates to employees to give to others — as customer Thank You’s or as peer-to-peer spot recognition for a coworker. Shift supervisors, regional managers and other team leaders will appreciate having quick and easy gifts to share on the spot with employees, too. Have a stash on hand!
    3. Put Up a Thankful Tree
    Here’s a gratitude activity to try at Thanksgiving and over the holiday season, as suggested by Daring to Live Fully. Set up a holiday tree in a common area of your workplace and provide colorful paper cut-out tree ornaments in a bowl next to it, along with writing utensils. Encourage your team to write their gratitude on a paper cut-out and hang it on the tree. Together, the ornaments will be a daily visual reminder of gratitude for the whole season.
    4. Play Appreciation “Hot Seat”
    This is a good activity for annual retreats, employee orientation and other events that provide time for games. Have members of the team sit one at a time in a “hot seat.” Everyone else tells the person in the hot seat why they appreciate them and expresses gratitude for their work and any help or kindnesses recently given, etc.
    5. Participate in a Gratitude Challenge
    Organize your own program, or participate in a community-wide effort. For example, the open innovation platform OpenIDEO is hosting a challenge starting soon around the question, “How might we inspire experiences and expressions of gratitude in the workplace?” Visit the OpenIDEO website to find out how your workplace can participate in the challenge by conducting various “research missions.” Have fun with it!
    6. Write Little Thank You Notes
    Sometimes the best gratitude comes in small doses: a little Thank You note of two or three sentences. Writing Thank You notes is a great team activity any time of year and a thoughtful way for managers to show appreciation.
    7. Volunteer in the Community
    Giving back as a team is a positive, bonding experience that naturally boosts our gratitude. Choose volunteer activities that are best done together and take teamwork. A park cleanup is a great option — it gets people outdoors, and the results of everyone’s hard work are immediately evident.
    8. Celebrate World Gratitude Day on Sept. 21
    World Gratitude Day is Sept. 21. Celebrate it with your team with a low-key party and treats. Put the focus on appreciating employees. Have the CEO or other executive write a “World Gratitude Day” Thank You message that the whole staff will see.

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  • Engaging Blue-Collar Workers: A How-To Guide

    Engaging blue-collar workers is one of HR's biggest challenges.

    Is your company engaging blue-collar workers with a focus on recognition and pride? (Photo via UC Rusal, Flickr)


    Engaging blue-collar workers may be one of the biggest engagement challenges facing HR today.
    Hourly workers are unhappier than salaried workers in many job aspects, according to recently released Gallup poll data.
    A Harvard Business Review analysis concluded, “People working blue-collar jobs report lower levels of overall happiness in every region around the world. This is the case across a variety of labor-intensive industries like construction, mining, manufacturing, transport, farming, fishing and forestry.”
    Retention is a big problem, too. The “new blue-collar” industries, such as foodservice and hospitality, grapple with it on even bigger scales.
    And there’s the skills gap.
    The historical loss of manufacturing jobs has hurt communities across the U.S., yet currently “a significant number of manufacturing jobs remain open with not enough people to fill them,” according to HR Dive. “The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) predicts that U.S. companies will be facing two million job vacancies by 2025. And the American Welding Society contends that manufacturing industries will need 300,000 welders and welding instructors by 2020.”
    One expert, Jobcase CEO Fred Goff, tells HR Dive he blames the skills gap on an “image problem.” Young people for decades have understood that the best way to a rewarding career is through a college degree and a job in finance, marketing, law, engineering or teaching.
    “The ‘image problem’ that these blue-collar fields face has finally come home to roost — and employers are struggling to make up the difference,” according to HR Dive.
    (more…)

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  • How to Nurture a Sense of Workplace Belonging

    How to build a sense of belonging in the workplace

    Nurturing a sense of belonging in the workplace is essential for productive workplace culture. (Photo via Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts, Flickr)

    What are we really talking about when we say “employee engagement”? A workforce that shares a sense of belonging in the workplace, for starters.
    This is the new evolution of engagement: really drilling down to core concepts to better understand business jargon.
    “Engagement is, as I like to joke, a six-dollar word that consultants say when people like what they do and want to come to work everyday,” executive coach and educator John Baldoni writes in a Forbes column on developing engagement.
    When an employee has a sense of belonging in the workplace, it “connotes ownership,” Baldoni writes.
    “You belong therefore you own. Not property but something more meaningful. You own responsibility. You have a sense of autonomy that enables you to act for the good of the organization. Not because you have to, but because you want to.”
    The IBM/Globoforce “Employee Engagement Index” measures belonging first among the “five key tenets” of a positive employee experience. It defines sense of belonging in the workplace as “feeling part of a team, group or organization.”
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  • 10 Summertime Workplace Celebration Ideas

    easy ways to thank employees gthankyou

    Be inspired by our summertime workplace celebration ideas to plan your own employee appreciation event! Pictured here: the City of North Charleston honoring its Public Works employees with a cookout. (Photo via NorthCharleston, Flickr)

    The 4th of July is behind us. Up ahead: two months of summer — sunny, lazy, distracting summer, with vacation days and “summer Fridays” tempting employees at every turn.
    In other words? A recipe for disengagement. And your task is keeping employees engaged.
    It’s not as tough as you may think! Keeping up engagement levels through the summer months depends on a good balance that integrates fun, freedom, fitness and focus.
    If employees have opportunities for regular, low-key summertime celebrations that center on accomplishments, family and wellness, they’ll be more likely to be productive the rest of the time.
    This is the thinking behind the HR shift from “work-life balance” to “work-life integration,” according to the Limeade blog post “How to Keep Your Work-Life Integration On Track This Summer.”
    “We believe you need to focus on the whole employee, rather than separating who they are in the office and who they are at home,” the Limeade marketing team writes.
    “And it’s your job to find ways to connect and integrate the two. … Work-life balance implies a zero-sum game that says we can’t have it all. Work-life integration lets us coordinate, blend and bring elements of work and life into a unified whole.”
    Employees in organizations that focus on work-life integration initiatives like social support and wellbeing are more likely to be engaged, more likely to recommend their employer to others and more likely to “go the extra mile” for the company.
    Now’s not the time to pull out draconian rules or punish employees for wanting to enjoy their summer — that’s the old way of doing things and it didn’t work.
    Instead, be inspired by the following summertime workplace celebration ideas to plan your own engagement calendar for the season.
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  • 7 Employee Engagement Books to Read

    New employee engagement books for your summer reading list

    Put a few employee engagement books on your reading list this summer for fresh ideas and perspectives. (Photo via byrawpixel, Flickr)

    Make it a goal this summer to check out employee engagement books that will inspire and challenge you, whether you’re planning a major “think week” or just have 15 minutes a day to read over lunch.
    Get a head start on engagement planning for this year by exposing yourself to fresh ideas and perspectives. Spark your creativity!
    According to Kevin Kruse, consultant and NYT bestselling author of “Employee Engagement 2.0,” employee engagement is often misunderstood.
    That lack of understanding is holding back American companies.
    In an interview with Business Management Daily, he calls engagement “one of the secrets behind so many of my companies.”
    Yet it’s surprisingly rare.
    “Only about one-third of the workforce is truly engaged at work, and we’ve been stuck at this number for about two decades. This is really a shame as life is too short to be unhappy at work,” Kruse says.
    In short, effective engagement leads to a workforce that cares.
    “A sales person who truly cares about organizational results will sell just as hard on a Friday afternoon as she would on a Monday,” Kruse explains. “An engaged service rep will be just as patient and helpful at 4:59 p.m. as he would be at 9:00 a.m. An engaged factory worker will yank the cord to stop the line every single time a defect is noticed.”
    Want to see this level of passion and caring at your company? Make it a goal to read one or more of these employee engagement books, based on decades of experience and research into building vibrant, engaged workplace culture.
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  • 10 Affordable Receptionist Appreciation Ideas

    How will you share your receptionist appreciation this week?

    Your receptionists are the face of your company! Do you have a receptionist appreciation plan for National Receptionists Day? (Photo via Michael Coghlan, Flickr)

    You don’t have to break the budget to show heartfelt receptionist appreciation!
    National Receptionists Day is always the second Wednesday in May.

    First launched in 1991, National Receptionists Day celebrates the role of professional receptionists. It’s a day set aside to recognize and appreciate all the work that receptionists do to help organizations run smoothly.

    Why receptionists? They’re the face of your company. Receptionists are usually the first (and sometimes only) company representative your customers or clients interact with. Often, they’re the first to explain your company’s products or services, or hear feedback.

    And they’re doing all that while fielding phone calls, coordinating schedules and handling deliveries!

    Great receptionists are knowledgeable, friendly and fast.

    Making sure your receptionists feel appreciated and included in your company culture is key to promoting a positive company image. Your gratitude makes the difference. Read on for 10 receptionist appreciation ideas that won’t break your budget!

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.