There’s no sugarcoating it: Work can be a grind. When you’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to slip into a mindset of focusing on all the things that are going wrong. When this happens, it’s important to not let negativity rule your workplace. Creating an environment that fosters gratitude at work allows employees to find value and take pride in all aspects of their work.
Gratitude is characterized by a general state of thankfulness or appreciation. It can mean appreciating what’s valuable and meaningful for an individual or even recognizing the positive and small things in life. Gratitude can be experienced in multiple ways — such as dispositional gratitude (the tendency to appreciate the positive in the world), collective gratitude (shared feelings of gratitude in a group) and relational gratitude (gratitude received from others) — and each one helps people feel motivated about their work.
Gratitude is uniquely powerful because people benefit from both giving and receiving gratitude.
Expressing gratitude helps people feel more satisfied with life and increases the overall quality of life.
People report feeling more engaged with their work after receiving expressions of gratitude for helping others.
Why gratitude at work is important
As one of the key experience activators for shaping a positive employee experience, gratitude is uniquely powerful because it provides benefits for both those who give and receive gratitude. On the surface, it may seem unusual to expect that diverting positivity-resources from the self — and giving them to others — would have a substantial impact on how an individual feels and functions. However, the expression of gratitude helps people feel more satisfied with life and increases the overall quality of their life. Additionally, a Limeade Institute study revealed that employees having high levels of gratitude and mindfulness strongly correlated to having high levels of well-being, engagement and productivity and low levels of stress at work.
Expressing and receiving gratitude at work is crucial to creating a positive employee experience because it provides an atmosphere of care, warmth and empathy. It also helps individuals exchange expressions of gratitude — and people feel more engaged with their work after receiving expressions of gratitude for helping others. We’ve put together a list of ways to show gratitude at work that are sure to help you create a positive employee experience.
How to show gratitude at work for your employees
1. Build a culture of trust
Trust plays a significant role in employees having gratitude at work. Employees need to know the organization has their best interests in mind. A supportive, honest and safe work environment is directly linked to the level of respect and loyalty employees have for their peers and the company.
2. Spark innovation
The best ideas are cultivated in an open, collaborative and meaningful exchange. Create a workplace environment that makes sharing new ideas not only accepted, but also encouraged and supported. Showing employees that their opinions and ideas are valued instills courage and confidence that opens doors to creative thinking, expressing new ideas and exploring curiosities.
3. Inspire and motivate
Creating support networks and connecting employees across business groups gives them a way to maintain motivation in the workplace. Employee Resource Groups help them find like-minded people they can turn to when they need a jolt of support or inspiration, and tools like the Limeade platform create a digital space for employees to cheer each other on and show gratitude for one another.
4. Help prevent burnout
Expressions of gratitude at work — such as implementing “no meeting” days, encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the day and helping them to better understand their purpose at work — improve employee engagement. It also helps them manage stress without succumbing to symptoms of workplace burnout. When employees have high well-being and feel supported by their organization, it’s a win for everyone.
Want to learn more about experience activators? Check out the other elements for a positive employee experience.
Despite the pandemic, Gallup reports a sharp drop in the percentage of employees who strongly agree that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing. Check out this guide on how to reduce employee attrition with a well-being program.