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10 Steps to Creating a Culture of Gratitude

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

An image of multiple Scrabble letter tiles on a board with the words, Thank You, spelled out in the middle of the tiles.

Everyone wants to feel that they are valued, appreciated, and respected for their contributions at work. Giving and receiving gratitude has been shown to have multiple benefits, everything from improved work performance, higher levels of employee engagement, and lower levels of work stress to greater job satisfaction and self-esteem, improved employee retention, and overall physical/mental health.

There are a multitude of ways to promote and invigorate a positive culture of gratitude in your workplace that will have a direct impact on business results and boost the benefits for employees. Do your part to stimulate a robust culture of gratitude in your workplace where the human resource is the highest priority. Showing gratitude is an easy, quick, and inexpensive way to affect organizational change.

Here are 10 simple strategies to help get you started:

1. Leadership:

A successful culture of gratitude is easiest to cultivate when management is on board. Play an active role in modeling gratitude from the top down. It doesn’t matter where you are in the chain of command; lead by example even if you don’t have anyone reporting to you.

2. Customize:

Generic compliments can only get you so far and get stale quickly. Tailor gratitude to each individual so that it carries more meaning. Taking the time to think about specific examples of things you’re grateful for will also make it easier to find gratitude wherever you are.

3. Light-hearted:

In a work environment, keeping things enjoyable can be a key success factor. Try to implement fun and impactful gratitude exercises with teams, and make sure to get everyone involved. This can also boost team closeness and camaraderie, a definite plus.

4. Quality:

As mentioned before, the contents of gratitude are vital to make it stick. Strive for quality of kudos with authenticity, not quantity. It’s certainly easier to thank people for every little thing but it can appear disingenuous. It means a lot more to have a single sincere thank-you than a hundred meaningless ones.

5. Shout-outs:

In the workplace, finding a platform for gratitude can help spread a grateful culture. Create digital thank you note or appreciation boards for use in the office or find another way to call out gratitude. Encourage those around you to show gratitude by making it easy!

6. Simple:

Getting back to basics and keeping things simple also makes it easier to consistently show gratitude. One simple but meaningful way to communicate appreciation is by sending handwritten thank you cards.

7. Tangible:

Thank-yous can take different forms. Provide avenues for monetary and non-monetary thank-yous based on what the situation calls for. Depending on the circumstances and the people involved, different approaches for tangibility may be required, so keep an open mind.

8. Empower:

In order to create a thankful culture, it isn’t enough to make a single thank-you and be done. Foster voluntary opportunities for expressions of gratitude in your life and empower those around you to do the same.

9. Teamwork:

As mentioned before, thankfulness as part of a team’s culture can improve the bonds between co-workers. Therefore, it is important to give and receive credit to build reciprocity and mutuality. This makes people feel appreciated and that their contributions matter!

10. Continuous:

A culture of thankfulness should be built to last. Make gratitude a policy and practice of everyday work life!


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