Expressing Gratitude In The Workplace

With Thanksgiving around the corner, gratitude is on everyone’s mind. But it doesn’t need to take a turkey dinner to show your appreciation. A little gratitude goes a long way year round—especially in the workplace!

The National Alliance Of Mental Health (NAMI) of California shared multiple studies showing how expressing and receiving gratitude can improve mood, reduce stress, and build morale. Employees want to feel valued at work, and expressing thanks is a great way to build a culture of value. Whether you’re a manager or simply a team member, expressing gratitude will always have a positive influence on your coworkers. Express your thanks by holding close to these thoughts.

Be specific

A simple “great job!” or “keep up the good work!” may provide a slight boost, but the more specific you can be, the more your expression of gratitude will be taken to heart.

Focusing on a tangible accomplishment will give your thanks more merit and really feel personal. This doesn’t have to be a massive, earth-shattering accomplishment necessarily. SnackNation’s Connor Garret writes to highlight the little things so people know that doing their job well is appreciated. You may even highlight something the person didn’t think was a big deal themselves and really give them a boost!

“Sometimes, the things worth celebrating aren’t even quantifiable. For instance, you could even celebrate a team member who spreads consistent positivity in the workplace.” -Connor Garret

Focus on those not in the spotlight

Not everyone likes to be in the spotlight or gets the chance to be in it. Not every accomplishment is flashy, but everyone keeps the foundation of the organization running. Everyone deserves to feel like a valued member of the team!

Forbes’ Kyle Bailey mentions an award his company created to highlight behind-the-scenes accomplishments. The “NuWarrior” award is given to those who “sustain the backbone of the company” that may not otherwise receive recognition. This assures that those not always in the spotlight have their accomplishments recognized and feel like valued members of the team.

Think of those in your organization that might not always receive the glory. Take time to go out of your way to at least thank them or recognize their efforts, and your appreciation will go a long way.

Express through actions

Awards like Bailey’s “NuWarrior” are an excellent way to show appreciation. Not only did you take time out of your day to thank someone, but you did so in a tangible manner.

Enertia Software CEO Vince Dawkins recommends verbally offering a “thank you” (especially publicly!) but also finding a way to express gratitude in a way beyond words. This could be direct financial compensation or a reward of some kind. But even if you aren’t in a leadership role, you can still offer a little extra by offering assistance, acts of service, or some way to make their job easier, says Herzing University.

“People remember kind words of gratitude, but they also feel respected and extremely appreciated when something more is given to them.” –Kimberly A. Whitler

Employers can offer things like care packages (great for remote team members), awards, gift cards, and shoutouts, but they can also encourage a culture of gratitude, writes Connor Garret. Encouraging your team to regularly express gratitude is an excellent way to show that appreciation starts from the top and that you have a culture of value.

Write handwritten notes

One of the most well-received tokens of appreciation is one of the most old-school and traditional. It’s hard to beat a handwritten letter when it comes to expressing gratitude.

Headsup Corporation cited Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who studied positive psychological therapies. He found that receiving a hand-written letter of appreciation had a bigger effect on happiness than any other method.

Not only does a written thank you note show appreciation, but the extra effort taken to write out the accomplishment shows, and it gives the recipient a tangible token to look to. And Forbes’ Kimberly A. Whitler suggests that a physical copy won’t get lost in the abyss the way an email might.

“It really shows you care enough to go the extra mile to ensure the recipient feels appreciated.” –Sheldon Yellen, BELFOR Property Restoration

Wrap up

No matter what the season is, there’s never a bad time to express gratitude at work. Expressing and receiving thanks is a great way to build morale and create a positive culture. You don’t have to be a manager to take charge—it’s always good to be recognized by your peers as well! Take time to express sincere thanks, and you’ll be building toward a wonderful work culture.

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