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Leadership
4 Min Read

How to Make Gratitude in the Workplace an Everyday Practice

Baili Bigham
Baili Bigham

When times get tough (e.g. 2020), dwelling on challenges can often exacerbate those struggles–especially at work. Negativity doesn’t just impact company morale, it directly affects engagement and productivity levels. However, when leaders intentionally spread gratitude in the workplace, they can help their teams, both in-person and remote, bounce back from hard times, keep relationships intact, and maintain motivation.

According to one study, employees are 50% more successful when shown gratitude by their superiors. So, how can leaders institutionalize gratitude in the workplace? Here are four actionable tips you can start practicing today. 

1. Lead by example

Gratitude isn’t a grand gesture that’s shared once or twice a year. It should be treated as a mindset. And to lead with this type of mindset is to make it an integral part of your everyday conversation. 

Give employees the validation that they’re doing a great job. Acknowledge the contributions of their hard work, time, and energy. Share how your people’s unique strengths are helping drive the company’s mission forward. Each of these compliments make for meaningful gratitude that can lead to sustained engagement and performance. 

2. Be compassionate

Between working remotely, health scares, and uncertainty for what’s to come, employees have more on their plates than ever before. And when people choose to remain dedicated to their company despite the added stressors from work and personal life, it’s important to recognize that sacrifice.

For example, if you have an employee who has managed to stay on top of their work and take on the additional role of homeschooling their kids, let them know that you appreciate how gracefully they’re handling both jobs. Showing empathy and appreciation for your people, not just the work they produce, can go a long way.

3. Spread positivity

The unique thing about gratitude is that it’s contagious. The more gratitude you share, the broader it spreads to others. This is how leaders can begin fostering a greater culture of gratitude.

Bring positivity and gratitude to your workplace by kicking off your next meeting with a question: what are you feeling grateful for today? Dedicate five minutes so that each person has an opportunity to share.

You can also turn to technology to make it easier for peers and colleagues to send appreciation. For example, with our High Fives feature, you can give employees a way to show recognition in a meaningful and public way so that everyone can see where the gratitude is shared.

4. Practice gratitude with mindfulness

It’s no surprise that more than 80% of workers report feeling stressed on the job. And while gratitude can help employees remain appreciative and positive, practicing mindfulness can help them react to challenges with more grace and acceptance. Together, these practices can create a more positive and stable work environment. 

You can encourage mindfulness in your organization by offering personal development opportunities in and outside of work, or by dedicating certain times throughout the workday for meditation and realignment. When mindfulness and gratitude are practiced together, their benefits are magnified. 

Start putting these tips into practice today to help increase the amount of gratitude in your workplace and keep your employees motivated and engaged wherever they’re located. And if you’d like to learn more about how 15Five can help you engage and motivate your teams, click here to try our solution for free!

Baili Bigham is the Content Manager at 15Five, continuous performance management software that includes weekly check-ins, OKR tracking, peer recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. When Baili isn’t writing, you can find her binge-reading a new book or strategizing ways to pet every dog in San Francisco. 

Image credit: Shutterstock