Does Gratitude Belong in the Workplace?
As I review the Thanksgiving dinner menu for my family this year, I canâ€™t help but picture people going home to their families for a day to pause and be grateful. Sure, we may be driving or cooking or even (gasp) shopping, and we forget the simple fact that we are gathered together for a day that is literally built on the idea of gratitude. I wonâ€™t delve into the old â€śshould every day be thanksgivingâ€ť adage, but Iâ€™ll ask thisâ€¦why do we have to leave the workplace to express gratitude? Iâ€™m certainly not arguing that Thanksgiving is no longer a work holiday, but I am arguing that gratitude becomes a better, more regular practice in the world of business than on a once-a-year holiday.
Does gratitude belong in the workplace? Iâ€™m surprised at how controversial that question can beâ€¦
Surely, people belong in the workplaceâ€¦or who would get the work done?
When it comes to what â€śbelongsâ€ť in the workplace, letâ€™s zoom out. Why should gratitude be a business practice just as much as performance reviews, journal entries and strategy discussions? Because gratitude is a people practice. It inspires connection, builds trust, strengthens relationships and boosts engagement. Connection, strong leadership, efficient processes and highly engaged employees drive business.
81% percent of millennials expect that their employer communicates completely and honestly.* Where should their employer start? With gratitude.
We know culture matters when millennials and centennials are choosing a job, and we know culture is driven by relationships with co-workers.* How can relationships bloom and grow? With gratitude.
Receiving feedback and encouragement are factors that can boost employee engagement.* How do you deliver those messages? With gratitude.
What is gratitude in the workplace and how do I express it?
If youâ€™re picturing your team around a table, each sharing what youâ€™re grateful forâ€¦like the typical Norman Rockwell thanksgiving imageâ€¦youâ€™re not crazy. At a previous employer, each quarter our teams gathered together for a planning meeting. How did we start? With gratitude. We started each of these meetings by sharing a business gratitude and a personal gratitude, and we went through each person, with no time limits. I learned so much about my co-workers in that hour (or however long it took). It created a bond and helped us see each other as more than just their last e-mail sent or deadline missed. Iâ€™m not exaggerating when I say that we laughed and we cried. These moments brought us closer together, shed a layer of the business-y things that allow us to put up walls and allowed us to see people as people. Someone was grateful for her team backing her up while a parent passed away. Someone was grateful for the co-workers that stood beside her on her wedding day. Someone was grateful for the wellness resources we had access to. Are you sensing a theme? Those were personal gratitude statementsâ€¦and they all involved work.
Work is so engrained in our lives. Work and life are not competitors, so how can we truly bring life to work? (All together now:) With gratitude.
There are many ways to showcase meaningful gratitude in the workplace:
- Find ambassadors of gratitude.
- Launch a gratitude sharing initiative â€“ on a bulletin board, on the intranet, in your newsletter.
- Have a gratitude theme at your next engagement effort.
- Tie gratitude to your give back program.
- Tie gratitude to your wellness program.
- Start your e-mails with gratitude.
- Start your meetings with gratitude.
- Show gratitude to your clients, vendors, suppliers, customers.
True gratitude goes beyond thank you e-mails and drive-by words of praise. It requires vulnerability. It must be a way of life, not a checkbox on your to-do list.
Spreading gratitude throughout your organization can start with one person (yes, you!), relentlessly expressing gratitude.
People will talk about it.
People will test it out for themselves.
People willâ€¦be human.
Soâ€¦does gratitude belong in your workplace?
*Source: Kantar US Monitor