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5 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude at Work

By Barbara Beauregard   |    November 8, 2017   |    9:06 AM

How to Practice Gratitude on the Job

When a workplace has a culture of gratitude, it tends to function at a higher level. Here are some ways you can cultivate gratitude for a happier, more productive workplace.

Building Goodwill

A culture of gratitude can create a more positive working environment, characterized by greater teamwork, reduced turnover and fewer instances of burnout. Gratitude can also reduce stress, while increasing empathy, so workers will be more understanding of one another and open to new ideas.

Many business owners mistakenly believe they will have to invest in bonuses, vacations and benefits to build gratitude among their employees. In reality, however, you can create a happier, more resilient workplace by using the following simple strategies.

  1. Shed positive light on your employees. You can thank employees on a more formal level by developing an employee-of-the-month program, a blog spotlight or a newsletter feature. Just be careful not to build resentment by always focusing on your higher level staffers. Make sure to recognize chronically under-thanked employees who perform behind-the-scenes functions that contribute to the success of the entire organization.

  2. Don't wait for special occasions. Many business owners wait until the holidays or the end of the year to express gratitude for a job well done. While this can be effective, it's also a good idea to show your appreciation at random times throughout the year. When you single out an employee at unexpected times, the goodwill can resonate more deeply. Take a moment to call staffers into your office and let them know you appreciate their contributions to the company. Try doing this on a typical Monday morning and see how the worker's attitude shifts for the rest of the day and the remainder of the week.

  3. Leverage small gestures. You don't have to offer awards or bonuses to cultivate gratitude in your workplace. Many times, simple gestures can go a long way toward improving the way employees feel about their jobs and their bosses. Be sure to thank and compliment your team every chance you get. When employers take a moment to say "good job" or "well done," it can have a powerful effect on a worker by instilling a sense of pride and enhancing motivation.

  4. Be humble. As the leader of a team, you should set a good example. Remember that while your expertise may be the foundation for your business, your staff contributes greatly to its overall success. While it's important to project strong leadership, you also want your staff to feel comfortable coming to you when they have an issue. Successful business owners are able to deftly walk the line between boss and friend. You want your staff to view you as a considerate person, while also respecting your role as a superior. Try to maintain a humble attitude, or you could alienate your staff and create resentment in your workplace.

  5. Get to know your team. Employees work for a paycheck. That said, no one wants to feel like an inhuman cog in a money-making machine. Take the time to get to know your employees. Create an open-door policy and schedule team-building exercises or staff outings. This is a great way for you to become more familiar with your employees, while also allowing them to build relationships with one another.

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