For many families sitting down at the Thanksgiving table includes the ritual of each sharing what they are thankful for. Not surprisingly, comments regarding health, family, friends, and overcoming a challenge are typical.  This practice allows each person to express their gratitude, and it just “feels good.” 

Research by the John Templeton Foundation found that people are less likely to express gratitude at work than anywhere else. Although it may seem awkward to conduct an “organized round” for employees to express gratitude, there are other, less formal practices worth adopting. Using the term “GRATITUDE” to create an acrostic, here are some simple actions you can take to build a culture of gratitude where people feel acknowledged, appreciated, and accepted.

What practices will you put in place to create a culture of Gratitude?

Give timely, meaningful praise by being thoughtful about when you express gratitude; use shoutouts to praise or acknowledge others’ successes

Reinforce and acknowledge random acts of kindness

Appreciate others’ wins publicly – acknowledge a job well done!

Take the time to say “Thank You” – both verbally and in writing!

Invite others to regularly share positive news and feedback

Think about and keep a journal on what makes you grateful at work (people, projects, results); research suggests that those who regularly chronicle gratitude report greater self-control and engage in less rudeness, gossip, and ostracism.

Undertake community projects where the entire team has an opportunity to contribute

Denounce negativity and complaining.  It’s human to complain occasionally, but check each other to avoid a climate of constant complaining and negativity

Encourage peer-to-peer recognition.  Consider setting up an appreciation wall or starting a chat on a work platform (e.g., SLACK, TEAMs, etc.)

We all have many things for which to be grateful, yet sometimes it’s easy to forget to acknowledge others’ contributions, efforts, and successes. Enjoy the holiday season and look to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and grateful culture at work this year and next.

1 – Your guide to cultivating Gratitude in the Workplace

Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Heckelman, president and founder of WLH Consulting, Inc. has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 100 industry clients. These include pharmaceutical, biotech, health care, animal health medicines, and consumer products, as well as international non-profit organizations and growing entrepreneurial companies.