Growing Gratitude in the Workplace: 3 Simple Practices to Cultivate an Appreciation Culture

Posted November 16, 2023

Growing Gratitude in the Workplace: 3 Simple Practices to Cultivate an Appreciation Culture

In the fast-paced professional world, instilling a sense of gratitude in the workplace is a simple, effective and powerful way to foster a more positive and cohesive environmental and to increase employee retention.

A 2022 study by Flexjobs found that 62% of the over 2000 workers surveyed felt their company had a toxic culture. One third of the study participants said they planned to quit their jobs and the majority of these workers did not have another position lined up.

With the current challenges many businesses face in finding and keeping good talent, integrating simple and free practices into daily routines that help elevate feelings of appreciation and recognition can be a good place to start in improving culture.

As a business rooted in mindfulness, we’ve been working on weaving gratitude practices into our regular routines for some time. Taking this intentional approach and getting your leadership and key players on board with ingraining appreciation into the organizational culture can go a long way in reducing workplace stress and dissatisfaction. The long term effects for your company could mean higher retention rates, less sick days and greater customer satisfaction due to happier and healthier employees serving your customers.

Our top tips for weaving gratitude into your culture:

1.Build a gratitude section into every meeting agenda.

It’s not uncommon for there to be negative feelings about meetings. Building in 5 minutes at the beginning or end of a meeting to express gratitude serves a few purposes:

-Starts off or ends even the most difficult of meetings on a positive note (and people tend to most remember the beginning and end of things)

-Promotes team recognition and makes it even more meaningful to have it done in front of other people

-May make your team members look more forward to attending meetings because they have gratitude they want to share and/or they feel good about the possibility of receiving it

 2. Have your key people set daily appreciation alerts that prompt them to recognize at least 1 person every day.

Our built in negativity bias makes us lean more toward seeing what’s wrong or what’s not going the way we’d like for it to go. It’s important to counter this with ongoing acknowledgement of all the little (and big) right things that happen in your organization every day.

When you and your team make it a practice to regularly give positive feedback and recognition, the tougher coaching and development conversations tend to go smoother. Your team members overall feel good about their work, their boss and the organization and therefore are often more receptive to constructive feedback (research shows the optimal ratio is 5 pieces of positive feedback to every 1 piece of negative feedback).

3.Continue to share free resources with your employees to help them build the habit of gratitude not only in their work life but also their personal life.

Research is clear that grateful people are happier and healthier people. An interesting study done at the University of California separated participants into 3 groups. One group wrote a few sentences about things they were grateful for. The second group wrote daily about things that irritated them. The third group wrote about events that affected them with no emphasis on positive or negative. After 10 weeks, the group that wrote about gratitude reported feeling more optimistic and better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer doctor’s visits.

Two of our favorite ideas for sharing gratitude are:

-Gifting employees with a Five Minute Journal. It encourages them to write about 3 things each morning and each evening that they are grateful for (among a few other insightful prompts).

-Sharing gratitude meditations they can do for a few minutes in the morning, at lunch, in the evening or during a brief pause in the day to help them cultivate a more positive and pleasant mind state. Here’s one we recorded that you are welcome to pass along!

Sometimes it’s the simplest habits we engage in that end up having the most impact. As you look to end the year on a positive note and kick off the new year strong in your organization, consider what you can build into your own culture that’s free and relatively easy and quick that will go a long way in helping your team strengthen feelings of appreciation. A workplace infused with gratitude and mindfulness paves the way for increased productivity, innovation and employee well-being…making your company a happier, healthier and more appealing place to be!

If you are local to Columbus, our studios are a welcoming and judgment free place great for beginners. Gifting your employees with our New Client Offer – 3 weeks of unlimited classes for only $39 – or a GoYoga gift card is a wonderful way to encourage them to build healthier habits outside of work that will undoubtedly carryover into helping them in their professional lives as well!