How to Foster a Workplace Culture of Gratitude

In these difficult times, when uncertainty in our personal lives is mirrored by uncertainty in the workplace, a sense of gratitude—among both leaders and employees—can make a huge difference. Senior leadership and business owners striving to improve workplace morale should take a look at how, or even if, they are expressing gratitude to team members who fulfill their job responsibilities even while worrying about the well-being of their family, friends, and others.

Here at Baillie Lumber, we strive to demonstrate appreciation for our team members, just as we do for our loyal, long-term customers. We understand on a fundamental level that, without the outstanding efforts of our hardworking employees, we wouldn’t be able to meet our customer demands and continue to prosper, even during these challenging times.gratitude

In the spirit of fostering a workplace culture of gratitude, these are a few tips we found worth keeping in mind:

Gratitude starts at the top. 

As with many other facets of corporate culture, the tone is set at the top. When leaders find the time “to recognize the modest acts that can so easily go unnoticed throughout the company, it encourages others to do the same,” notes Forbes. While employees may “feel uncomfortable calling out the sometimes seemingly insignificant things people do,” they gain inspiration when the business owner or senior leadership takes note and may feel encouraged to display their own forms of gratitude.

Make gratitude a daily activity. 

Despite everything, we all have a lot to be grateful for. This becomes more evident once the act of expressing gratitude becomes part of our daily lives.

As your day begins, consider making a brief call or sending a text or email to an employee who’s deserving of your appreciation. As leadership development consultant Rachel Druckenmiller observes, beginning your day “by intentionally focusing on what is right before you feel overwhelmed by what is wrong is a great way to reset your mindset.”

This could even be something as simple as keeping a gratitude journal (either handwritten or digital). Once a day, write down some positive experiences you have had. Sharing genuine appreciation for others often means “we experience a boost in mood, too.”

Support organization-wide expressions of gratitude. 

How can you encourage your managers and team members to take part in a culture of gratitude? Start by inviting people at all-staff meetings to participate. Although it may feel awkward at first, ask if anyone would like to offer a thank-you at the outset of the meeting (or get things rolling by doing so yourself). Gradually, employees will feel less self-conscious about taking part, and soon you may have more rewarding meetings where appreciation for others becomes a key element of the discussion.

Suggest a range of “gratitude delivery systems.” 

While stopping at an employee’s desk to say “Thanks” for a specific action is always welcome, there are many other ways to integrate gratitude into the workplace. Such options include:

  • Keep a supply of customized, branded thank-you cards at a central location.
  • Set up a “thankfulness box” where employees can jot down a positive note.
  • Send out emails thanking individuals by name.
  • Write personalized letters of appreciation to a deserving team member.

Encourage team members to find creative ways to express their gratitude. (This can be part of an overall team-building exercise where valuable new ideas might emerge.)

Don’t neglect those who might otherwise go unnoticed. 

Most companies have exceptional employees whose efforts are frequently recognized and rewarded. But what about others who rarely get acknowledged, such as custodial staff or IT support teams? Be as inclusive as possible in expressing gratitude, so no one feels their hard work goes unnoticed.

Keeping employee morale high right now is likely near the top of every business leader’s list of priorities. Developing a workplace culture of gratitude is a great strategy to help achieve this lofty and essential goal.

Has your business made strides towards building a company culture of gratitude? If so, let us know what has worked for you. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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