After 20 years of experience working with organizations of all sizes, employee engagement surveys consistently come back with a common grumble: lack of recognition.
Recognition and gratitude are intricately tied. Though few will argue that having people feel appreciated and valued is a nice thing, having recognition and gratitude as integral organization values and strategy are also great for business.
Gratitude is contagious. When teams are shown gratitude by leaders, this has a cool domino effect, making people feel more worthy, giving them a sense of trust with one another and boosting self-efficacy. Adam Grant writes, “The point of gratitude is not just to feel it; it’s to show it. Experiencing gratitude serves our happiness. Expressing it reminds others how they matter. As an emotion inside a journal, gratitude is fleeting. As an action in the outer world, it lasts.”
So, in the spirit of the season, we wanted to share some key strategies to make recognition and gratitude part of your organization’s culture.
1. Gratitude is a habit that you cultivate. Developing gratitude with your team and organization takes mindfulness. This starts with you. Begin each day quietly, thinking about what you’re grateful for. End each day similarly. This, then, can help you be a model for your team. CustomInsight has a suggestion box. Why not use it as a gratitude box? The point is, the more organization leaders flex their gratitude muscle, the more likely it is to become part of the organization’s language and culture.
2. Gratitude and recognition are not one-size-fits-all. Some collaborators bask in the limelight. Others prefer quieter moments. Ask!! How your collaborators like to be recognized, and understanding there are different needs for different people, matters.
3. Recognize your collaborators and colleagues’ work. This means recognizing behaviors that have had a positive impact on a process, a project, or the day-to-day life of clients and collaborators. This all must align with the organization’s goals, mission, and vision. Connecting the dots of behavior to the big goal of the organization is meaningful and powerful.
4. Listen. A huge piece of gratitude and recognition is listening to your collaborators’ needs. Use a pulse survey to check in with employees during the year. Respond, quickly, to survey results and have managers meet with teams to make sure action plans after the annual employee engagement survey are being executed and are making a difference. When organizations ask collaborators for input willy-nilly, without any real actionable plans and resources to back up what employees are saying they need, it causes more distress than had the organization not done anything at all.
5. Be a giving organization. Give your employees responsibility. Give your employees the opportunity to learn and grow. Respect your employees’ boundaries. By giving your employees the space to learn, grow, fail, try again, and succeed, you are showing them gratitude, trust, and recognizing their worth.
6. Say thank you. Say thank you, and mean it. Keep a pack of notecards in your drawer. When you appreciate the work of a colleague or collaborator, take the time to write a short, meaningful note, being specific, about what they did and how that made you feel, how that helped you at work. This specificity and the impact of the behavior on you is key.
Gratitude is the act of feeling thankful for someone or something. Being mindful about gratitude and expressing it sincerely can measurably improve the well-being of your organization.
CustomInsight and its team wish you and your organization a Happy Thanksgiving.