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Encouraging a Culture of Gratitude in the Workplace

5 min read

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Aside from being a great excuse for ulfeasting on roast turkey and pumpkin pie, it is also a good reminder of the importance of showing gratitude. But appreciation shouldn’t just be reserved for the festive season – we should adopt a year-round culture of gratitude. And this includes showing gratitude in the workplace.

In fact, many companies these days are doing just that. Famous examples range from the former CEO of Campbell’s soup sending out 30,000 handwritten thank you notes, to tech company Motley Fool announcing on their blog that every day is Employee Recognition Day. The aim of both companies was to create a company-wide culture of gratitude.

Why might you ask?

Because employees who feel valued are more motivated, engaged and productive. 

In today’s post, we will take a look at the benefits of promoting gratitude in the workplace. We will also share a few tips to help you create and nurture a culture where your employees can thrive for the good of their wellbeing, as well as the bottom line of your business.


What is Gratitude in the Workplace?

Gratitude in the workplace is all about making employees feel appreciated and valued. It’s about creating and nurturing an environment built on organizational support where each and every member of the company feels that their contributions matter and that their health, happiness, and wellbeing are genuinely important.  

Gratitude in the workplace is becoming increasingly important for small and large companies around the world. This is because many organizations are realizing the benefits that it can bring at an individual, team, and company level.

For one thing, a culture of gratitude leads to lower levels of stress and drives higher levels of individual employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. It also empowers employees and helps them feel ready and able to achieve their goals. Plus, it helps to build better connections between staff, improving communication and helping everyone feel they are more than just another cog in the machine. 

All this boosts performance levels and helps companies work more effectively and efficiently, resulting in improved productivity and increased profits. It also reduces turnover and increases retention levels. Plus, companies with an established reputation for taking care of their employees are far more likely to attract top talent.

How to Encourage Gratitude in the Workplace

The best way to develop an environment of gratitude in the workplace is by nurturing the concepts of employee recognition and employee satisfaction.

Here are a few strategies that can help you with this:

  • As with any cultural shift, you need to start with management. When managers take an active role in shaping company culture and take the initiative to show gratitude in the workplace, employees become more engaged and embrace the initiative.
  • Get to know your employees and find out what makes them happy. Hold regular development meetings to find out what forms of recognition motivate them the most.
  • Use tools to encourage recognition and appreciation such as performance dashboards and mobile platforms.
  • Encourage your employees to recognize each other. Peer recognition can be powerful and engaging. 
  • Create a #celebrations channel in your company chat or Slack workspace to celebrate achievements, congratulate employees on a job well done, send birthday wishes and welcome new employees. 
  • Send handwritten cards to employees for birthdays, work anniversaries and important milestones. 
  • Consider holding monthly or annual recognition ceremonies and let employees nominate peers for awards. 
  • Post messages about employee achievements on your social media pages and give shout-outs on your company blog. This is also a great way to boost your public reputation.
  • Conduct regular surveys to track employee satisfaction levels and address any issues that come up. You could also begin a suggestion box to gather valuable feedback on employee happiness levels.
  • Promote an environment of coaching, training and development. Find out the goals and aspirations of your employees and help them achieve them. 
  • Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day!
  • Recognize effort, not just results.
  • Involve employees in the future goals of the company and promote a culture of continuous performance management.
  • Finally, as simple as it sounds, say thank you!

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The Benefits of Gratitude Team Building Exercise 

Gratitude team building activities can be a great way to build a culture founded on appreciation and respect. Holding a regular gratitude activity for coworkers can encourage open dialogue and communication and help employees feel supported and part of a collective. This is especially important for avoiding employee burnout in remote workers who can often feel isolated and struggle to find the right work-life balance.

The “thank you team building activity” you choose will depend on both the interests of the company and your individual employees. It can be a formal activity or a series of regular informal activities throughout the year. Activities should be based around the concepts of inclusivity and motivation and take into account group dynamics. The ultimate aim is to build trust, connection, gratitude, and generosity.

Here are a few examples of activities you could try:

  • Ask employees to write a gratitude list at the end of each week, highlighting three things they are grateful for. You could also get employees to make lists of why they are grateful for each other and pin them up on a noticeboard. 
  • Encourage management to give periodic employee awards for employee performance. Distribute awards publicly so employees can feel gratitude from their peers as well.
  • Encourage gratitude in the workplace with a game known as the Reciprocity Ring. This technique is used by a number of renowned companies including Google, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, and Facebook. Everyone in the group asks for something, and everyone in the group offers help to someone else. The aim is to exchange advice, knowledge, and resources.

What is an Employee Recognition Board?

Another great strategy for encouraging gratitude in the workplace is using an employee recognition board: a wall plaque placed in a communal area that rewards exemplary employees. This can be a great way to promote recognition and employee empowerment.

You can use an employee recognition board to publicly congratulate exemplary work, announce your “employee of the week”, and recognize big and small achievements in your company. It doesn’t have to be formal achievements – even something simple like congratulating Mary on her delicious oatmeal raisin cookies can go a long way in making Mary feel valued.

Gratitude boards at work can help employees feel their work is being noticed and their efforts are valued and appreciated. Why not get everyone involved and encourage all employees to post gratitude post-it notes on the board? This will also help foster a sense of peer-to-peer appreciation, further developing your culture of gratitude. 

Keep Track of Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

Finally, the best way to nurture the employee experience and create a culture of gratitude in the workplace is by keeping track of employee satisfaction and productivity levels. The first step is to identify employee goals and monitor progress. The second step is to hold performance appraisals and conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys. The third step is to promote a culture of communication and continuous performance management so that each employee feels that their development is important.

It’s all about providing employees with the right tools for success, creating opportunities and channels for employees to give and receive feedback, and offering support and guidance at every step of the employee journey.

Finally, make sure you have the right tools and technology. For example, performance management software can help you track employee performance and appraisals. It can also help you schedule meetings, collect surveys, and gather 360° feedback so that you always have access to real-time data.

With Factorial’s performance management software solution, you can:

  • Gain insight into your workforce with 360-degree reviews
  • Use schedule regular performance review cycles in order to make strategic decisions based on qualitative and quantitative data
  • Tailor each employee evaluation to the performance needs of your company
  • Choose from multiple-choice, short-answer, or rating questions, and select whether or not answer will be anonymous
  • Track the progress of each employee performance review as it gets filled out
  • Automate your performance reviews processes
  • Access feedback directly on Factorial’s platform
  • Centralize all your HR processes

Sign up for your free trial now and start improving your HR management with Factorial.

Cat Symonds is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Originally from Wales, she studied Spanish and French at the University of Swansea before moving to Barcelona where she lived and worked for 12 years. She has since relocated back to Wales where she continues to build her business, working with clients in Spain and the UK.  Cat is the founder of The Content CAT: Content And Translation, providing content development and translation services to her clients. She specializes in corporate blogs, articles of interest, ghostwriting, and translation (SP/FR/CA into EN), collaborating with a range of companies from a variety of business sectors. She also offers services to a number of NGOs including Oxfam Intermón, UNICEF, and Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership.  For more information or to contact Cat visit her website ( or send her a message through LinkedIn.

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