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How to Foster Gratitude in Your Corporate Culture

Why should you thank someone for doing their job? Why should you thank anyone for simply doing what they’re paid to do? The answer is clear: We know that showing gratitude and acknowledging the work of our employees and coworkers helps motivate a team and to feel more fulfilled in their positions. It creates a better working environment.

Managers showing gratitude to their teams and employees expressing it to their coworkers will strengthen relationships, push them to meet goals, improve communication, and boost empowerment. It’s a key building block in creating a healthy corporate culture.

The research shows that gratitude makes people happier and even healthier. To bring that into your workplace, it starts with training and opening a dialogue with managers and their teams. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Start with team leaders.

One thing is clearest from the research into workplace gratitude. Employees need to hear acknowledgment from their managers first. Managers need to thank employees both privately and publicly when it’s appropriate. Gratitude can be built into a manager’s routine. For example, when a project is completed, thank teammates for doing their part. In performance reviews, focus on the good and the “improvement needed” areas of an employee’s work by acknowledging their accomplishments, letting them know they aren’t going unnoticed.

  1. Consider who is never thanked.

In every organization, big and small, there is an employee or entire team who goes unnoticed. In some cases, it’s the opposite: One team gets all the glory and the rest are never noticed. For example, in universities it’s faculty and in hospitals it’s doctors. However, it takes more than those who get the glory to carry out a company’s mission. Think about the teams who clean the office, process vacation time, and crunch the numbers. Thanking those who do this work and are rarely acknowledged is crucial and can set the tone for your workplace culture. This small act can increase morale and trust.

  1. Aim for authenticity.

Forcing gratefulness will backfire. If gratitude feels inauthentic, you can lose the trust of your employees and decrease morale. The key is to encourage spontaneous and voluntary expressions of gratitude. To convey authenticity, be detailed. When thanking coworkers, be detailed to show you are paying attention to their actions instead of thanking just to thank.

Corporate culture isn’t one-size-fits-all. Gratitude may need to be expressed in different ways at your company and those expressions may even differ between teams. To leverage the power of gratitude, introduce this idea over time and give these tips to managers.

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