Expressing gratitude is a proven positive force for both us as individuals and for our workplace cultures. Feeling appreciated leads to better health, lower stress, and fewer sick days. It can also lead to increased productivity. One study by Glassdoor found that 81% of employees surveyed felt motivated to work harder if their boss showed appreciation!
Recognizing others in meaningful ways also builds relationships that foster and strengthen team cohesion. Furthermore, gratitude counteracts negativity, gossip, and aggression in the workplace.
Establish a culture of gratitude.
Make space for gratitude in your workplace. Add time for appreciation in your regular team check-in, or put a whiteboard in the breakroom for staff to write appreciation notes. Take the lead in making gratitude a consistent part of your office interactions.
Treat everyone as an individual.
Each person likes to be recognized and acknowledged in a different way. One person might like to be recognized in front of the group at a department meeting while another would appreciate a personal, handwritten note. Get to know your team. If you’re not sure what someone would prefer—just ask! Remember the Platinum Rule: Treat others as they would like to be treated.
Appreciating others does not usually float to the top of our to-do list on its own. We have to be intentional and make a point to show how grateful we are on a regular basis. Make it part of your discussion at feedback sessions with your staff or set aside time each week to send a few emails to those who have made an impact.
People not only want to be recognized for their achievements but also valued for their inherent worth as a person and colleague. Pay attention to things that you appreciate about your colleagues and tell them! Is it their positive attitude? Their punctuality? Their attention to detail? Tell them what you appreciate about them as people.
Be authentic and specific.
No recognition at all is better than an insincere platitude. Giving everyone the same note or generally acknowledging a team’s hard work can come across as fake and could actually lower morale. Think about how each person contributed to a team’s effort or how a staff member really stood out this past month and include those specifics in your thank you.
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