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A Guide to Creating a Culture of Gratitude at Workplace

Jan 11, 2024


Amidst the whirring gears of ambition and the rhythmic strokes of deadlines, a day arrives that whispers the sweet refrain of appreciation – International Thank You Day, celebrated every January 11. The day calls for a harmonious celebration of gratitude through heartwarming gestures, to express appreciation towards those who matter.

But why dedicate an entire day to a seemingly simple gesture? Because "thank you" is more than polite courtesy; it's a potent panacea that fuels motivation, fosters loyalty, and strengthens the very foundation of any organisation – its people. It's the recognition of the unseen gears turning within each employee, the countless contributions – big and small, that weave the fabric of success.

For us, at BI WORLDWIDE India, “Thank You” is not just a day; it's a mindset. We believe that expressing appreciation lies at the core of our culture of employee engagement, resonating across every level of professional hierarchy.

One for All, All for One: Appreciating Diverse Contributions

Acknowledging Women's Achievements: Let's acknowledge the unique challenges faced by women in the workplace. A "thank you" for breaking glass ceilings, balancing work-life demands and bringing diverse perspectives to the table. A flexible schedule, child-care assistance, or a mentorship program tailored for women employees can demonstrate your commitment to their success.

Recognising Unsung Heroes: Not every contribution takes centre stage. The silent hero who stays late to resolve a crisis, the meticulous colleague who ensures every detail is perfect, the team player who lifts spirits – their efforts deserve recognition too. A handwritten note expressing appreciation, a surprise team lunch to acknowledge their collective efforts, or a public shout-out on intranet can make their invaluable work feel valued.

Supporting Newcomers: Newbies and interns often feel invisible in the grand scheme of things. But their fresh ideas and enthusiasm are invaluable. A "thank you" for their innovative suggestions, a dedicated mentor assigned to guide their growth, or even acknowledging their presence in meetings can make them feel included, igniting their passion for the company's future.

How Leaders and Managers Can Show Gratitude

Lead by Example: Be the first to express appreciation to team members. Your genuine "thank you" sets the tone for a culture of gratitude.

Active Listening: Pay attention to team members' concerns, celebrate achievements, and offer timely feedback. This shows you value their voice and contributions.

Empower your Team: Delegate responsibilities, trusting your team to deliver. This fosters ownership and a sense of accomplishment, making them feel capable.

Personalised Appreciation: Show that you care about individual interests. A bookworm might appreciate a gift card to a bookstore,while a foodie might enjoy a gourmet coffee subscription.

Beyond the Stage Lights

International Thank You Day is just the opening act. Gratitude is no one-day performance; but should nurture inspiration every single day. Here are some ways to keep the applause going:

Recognition Programs: Implement formal recognition programs that reward outstanding contributions throughout the year.

  • Peer-to-Peer Recognition Platform: Create a digital platform where employees can praise each other for a job well done - exceeding targets or demonstrating exceptional teamwork. Points earned could be redeemed against exciting rewards like gift cards or time off.
  • Quarterly "Bravo Awards": Host quarterly award ceremonies where employees are nominated for outstanding contributions. Categories could range from "Innovation Maverick" to "Change Champion". Winners receive customised trophies, public recognition, and special perks like a leadership development course or a weekend getaway.
  • Shout-Out Wall: Dedicate a physical/digital space where managers and colleagues can publicly showcase exceptional team achievements. This could be a whiteboard filled with handwritten notes or a rotating slideshow of success stories.

Employee Appreciation Events: Organise regular events that celebrate your team in informal settings, fostering connection and camaraderie.

  • Monthly "Coffee & Kudos": Organise informal coffee mornings where employees can mingle, share successes, and offer each other kudos. Encourage light-hearted storytelling, team-building games, and casual brainstorming to foster belonging.
  • Quarterly "Team Adventure": Plan quarterly outings that cater to diverse interests. For thrill-seekers, go on a whitewater rafting trip. For foodies, embark on a culinary tour. These shared experiences build lasting memories and strengthen bonds outside office environment.
  • Annual "Company Games": Organise an annual Olympics-style event where teams compete in fun challenges – trivia quizzes, scavenger hunts, sports competitions, etc. The laughter, teamwork, and friendly rivalry promote camaraderie and belonging.

Feedback Culture: Encourage open communication and feedback. This allows employees to feel heard, and managers to tailor their approach to individual needs.

  • Open-Door Policy: Encourage employees to approach managers at any level with questions, concerns, or suggestions. Regular 1:1 meetings provide further opportunities for candid feedback and personalised growth plans.
  • Pulse Surveys: Conduct quick, anonymous surveys regularly to gauge employee sentiment on various aspects of work life  - company culture, workload, communication, and overall satisfaction. Addressing issues raised in these surveys reflects that management values employee inputs.
  • 360-Degree Feedback: Implement a program where employees receive feedback from colleagues, managers, and clients. This provides a well-rounded perspective on strengths, weaknesses, and improvement areas. Coupled with coaching and mentorship, this feedback can empower employees to reach their full potential.

Spearheading a Culture of Appreciation – All Year-Round

A well-timed "thank you" is more than just words; it's a sentiment that resonates within employees, inspiring them to put their best foot forward. By acknowledging their contributions, you create a thriving workplace where every individual feels valued, motivated, and propelled to go the extra mile for organisational success. So, let's raise a chorus of "thank you", not just on International Thank You Day, but every single day, and raise employee engagement to new heights of excellence.

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