Employee Engagement and Gratitude:

9 Ways to Build a Meaningful Culture of Gratitude at the Workplace

It has been a tough year, and we’re heading into a cold winter, the holidays, the uncertainty of what to expect in terms of health (mental, physical, and economic), and stress levels off the charts. Managers have been stretched to their limits.

Many people are scraping the barrel of patience and energy. By giving your workforce and organization a shot of gratitude, you’re going to improve employee engagement and help collaborators feel happier, healthier, and stronger.

Gratitude isn’t simply a pat on the back and “back to business.” It’s a way of living and breathing an organization. It’s also better for your health as it supports a stronger immune system, lowers blood pressure, helps people sleep better, and builds compassion. All of these reduce absenteeism and create a more effective workplace.

Connecting with employees is more important now than ever, as is cultivating a culture of gratitude. It’s good for collaborators – improved wellbeing, productivity, performance, and relationships. It’s good for business – a boost in ROI, reduced absenteeism, reduced turnover, and productivity.

Why is something seemingly so simple so hard to achieve? Here are easy-to-follow tips to cultivate a meaningful culture of gratitude, not only during the holidays, but year ‘round. Gratitude is a mindset. Gratitude is a reflection of an organization’s core values. Gratitude leads to success.

1. Thank your employees. Be authentic. This is not the year to let this pass. Take the time to write out personal thank you notes to each employee or collaborator on your team, being explicit about how their contributions help keep the organization going.

2. Don’t overlook the silent heroes. Some people have a flare for drama. Others just get to work. These silent heroes oftentimes are overlooked. Take the time to consider each member of your team and recognize their work – publicly, loudly! Why not start each meeting with a shout out to somebody who has gone the extra mile? It can be for someone who helped with technology tools; someone who worked with an especially difficult customer; someone who is quick to make others laugh and boost morale.

3. Recognize the extraordinary circumstances, the obstacles your employees have had to overcome to get work done from home or to physically show up at work. Recognize the anxiety isolation has caused and might continue to cause. This recognition is something employees need to hear.

4. Senior leaders must model gratitude and hold mid-managers accountable for appreciating their teams. This might take training. Provide the resources needed to ensure all organization leaders understand the concepts of gratitude and how to show gratitude.

5. Don’t lose the forest for the trees. It’s lovely to hand out gift cards to a favorite coffee shop and other perks, but the best way to show gratitude all year is through consistency and fairness. This takes mindfulness on the part of organization leaders.

. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly. Uncertainty breeds gossip which sinks employee engagement. Good communication, sharing information about the health of the organization, and projections for 2021, can alleviate the unknown.

7. Provide opportunities for personal and professional development. Time to get creative. This year, budgets are tight. With the wealth of opportunities available online, senior leaders can get the ball rolling to provide personal and professional development and support a culture of continuous improvement. Create a lunchtime MOOC club – with everyone attending the same online seminars. Try the same with Yoga or meditation. These are free of cost and only take a little organization on the part of HR and leaders. Learn and improve together and hold each other accountable.

8. Try a weekly gratitude dose. Some organizations set up a time to connect during the week in which, for five minutes, collaborators shower their co-workers with gratitude. Messages, memes, and memos of positivity rain down on everyone. What a great place to connect, to escape from a world of gloom-and-doom, and to bring light. Use technology to your advantage, like a Kudo Board or CustomInsight’s Online Suggestion Box.

9. Don’t forget to give – as an organization, as teams, as individuals. Gratitude is tied closely to Corporate Social Responsibility Programs. As an organization, give collaborators the time and means to continue to give to their communities. Giving feels pretty great.

Cultivate a workplace of kindness and generosity. Make meaningful connections with collaborators in the most human way possible (these days, it’s hard, but it can be done). Reduce loneliness and isolation. And, in doing so, improve employee engagement.

CustomInsight wishes you a season (and lifetime) of gratitude and success.

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