How to foster workplace gratitude all year round
Every year around this time, we all hear about the many benefits of gratitude. From an increase in self-esteem to better sleep, gratitude is clearly no joke.
But how many of us take the time to create habits that help us feel and express gratitude? Probably not too many. And even fewer of us probably think about workplace gratitude.
Considering how much time we spend in our offices, gratitude should be a much bigger priority than it is. So here are 6 ways all of us can foster an environment of gratitude at work.
Help employees better understand the strengths and contributions of others
Plan activities and hold trainings that allow team members to understand what everyone does best. This could be as simple as cross-training team members or giving people the opportunity to present about their projects.
At Skipio, for example, we engage in monthly deep dive training sessions where we specifically talk about our strengths. One of the amazing benefits of being a strengths-based company where everyone takes the StrengthsFinder assessment is knowing exactly how people contribute.
Managers should also give credit when credit is due. When “higher up” people make it a goal to point out great work, everyone gets a better idea of how other people fit into the business.
It doesn’t need to be a big public display, but you shouldn’t be afraid to let others know when people do their jobs really well.
Give employees different ways to share kudos
Every business needs people ready and willing to set the example of appreciation. Consider implementing or revamping a recognition program with different ways to acknowledge each other’s contributions.
So a “shoutout program” where people submit each other’s names for recognition in a weekly company meeting could be an option. Those people could then be eligible to win an “employee of the month” award.
Not everyone will want a public shoutout in a company-wide meeting, though. So don’t only focus on public appreciation. Along with that, encourage people to individually reach out to express appreciation. This could be helped by providing notecards or paper specifically for writing notes of gratitude.
I’ve also heard of “shoutout channels” where companies create a specific chat channel in whatever messaging platform they use. Employees then fill it with messages of appreciation for their coworkers.
Share positive customer interactions and reviews
Every team should know about the good interactions between employees and customers or about the best reviews customers leave. Those experiences shouldn’t simply stay within your customer support team.
By regularly sharing what customers have to say, this also helps everyone to put names to clients and think of them as real people. It’s a special thing to know that what you do at work contributes in some way to a client’s happiness and success!
Involve every team in addressing negative feedback
Workplace gratitude isn’t just about the positive. Negative feedback and reviews play a large role in feeling grateful.
No, not everyone needs to know every time a negative review happens or the company receives negative feedback. And you certainly shouldn’t require people to take turns responding to negative public reviews. But every single team does need to be aware of the feedback that’s relevant to their work.
For one, it’s never a single person’s responsibility to fix the problems brought up in reviews. Teams and individuals will need to work together to improve the customer experience. This collaboration is yet another chance for people to see each other’s strengths and contributions in action.
Further, you want people to embrace the idea that negative feedback represents opportunities for growth. When everyone feels ownership and responsibility for improvements and views negative feedback as a key to innovation, they actually start to feel grateful for the chance to improve.
Prioritize customer appreciation
Your customers are what make your business possible at all. Don’t forget about them when focusing on workplace gratitude.
Make it a habit to show customers you care. This may include small gifts, special sales, customer-only events, or personalized notes.
Regardless of how you wish to show appreciation, build this into your calendar. Reach out to people at specific points and acknowledge milestones. For example, if someone has been a member or client for a year, make sure they know you value their business with a special “one year” gift.
Focusing on client appreciation also helps employees see who they’re doing the work for and presents yet another way to see how your products or services help clients succeed.
Celebrate the wins both big and small
If you never celebrate the small wins, people get demoralized pretty quickly. They don’t feel valued and like their work matters. And the same goes for the big wins. When you accomplish big stuff, make it a big deal!
“Work hard, play hard” may be a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason. All of us need opportunities to thank each other for reaching goals and accomplishing projects.
How you celebrate is of course up to the individuals you work with. Maybe it’s team lunches, monetary bonuses, or specific gifts. Even symbolic prizes, like a special trophy that gets passed around each quarter, can help teams feel appreciated.
Hopefully this short list gives you a new perspective on how to instill gratitude in your team or business. The best part? You don’t have to be a manager or boss to try these things. Every person, no matter their role, can help foster workplace gratitude and implement positive changes.