Build a Culture of Gratitude at Work

Few things will demoralize employees more easily than feeling like they’re not being appreciated for their efforts. Making sure that employees who are delivering effort and results hear you express something along the lines of “thanks for your hard work” is vital. Even this basic action gives them recognition for their efforts, which becomes feedback to inspire even better team performance.

Thanking your employees when you think they’ve genuinely performed may boost their commitment to delivering more. When your team knows that you won’t be stingy with your praise when they’ve made extra efforts, they will trust you enough to go the extra mile without having to be pushed.

Why don’t we say “thank you” at work? Perhaps it’s because we don’t like to thank people for something we feel is just an ordinary part of each day—a part of what’s expected? Or we don’t want to cross that line of kissing up or showing favoritism? And everyone knows thank-you emails are taboo.

But, building a culture of gratitude at work has benefits to both the person receiving and the person expressing the thanks:

1. Saying “thank you” shows people you value them. It doesn’t just acknowledge someone’s effort, thoughtfulness, intent or action … it acknowledges the person themselves. When we receive thanks, it gives us a heightened sense of self-worth. But, it doesn’t stop there. It also triggers more helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and toward other people.

2. Gratitude also has benefits for the person expressing gratitude. Research demonstrates that taking time to consider and express the things we’re grateful for has a powerful, positive effect. If practiced regularly, it can keep you healthier and happier. Higher levels of gratitude shown in people’s daily lives results in better sleep and lower anxiety and depression. Feeling and expressing gratitude activated brain regions that make us feel good.

Offering gratitude and expressing messages of thanks to your team can truly motivate your team members and improve the workplace. Pay attention to good work, and offer thanks whenever you identify a job well done. Continue to apply team appreciation and establish it firmly in your workplace culture.

This helps to create a more satisfactory work environment where your employees are more inclined to feel appreciated and happy. Doing so increases engagement, participation, self-esteem and can even positively impact your bottom line. You may also feel more effective as a leader and likely more connected to your team and what they’re doing.

Gratitude is powerful. It’s up to the people with power to clearly, consistently, and authentically say thank you in both public and private settings. And the benefits go far beyond just letting someone know you appreciate their efforts. A simple “thank you” can trigger more good work and positive feelings for everyone involved.


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