Giving thanks at Work. (You better not limit it to November)

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It’s turkey time people. Regardless of what this time of year means to you personally, it’s inevitable that you begin to think about what you’re most thankful for in life whether that’s people, situations, chocolate chip cookies, whatever. Now, why do we limit ourselves to focusing on these thoughts for a designated time of year? If studies have shown that focusing on the positive and being thankful make us happier and happier people achieve more, why would we choose to only think about gratitude in November? Seems a little silly. Focusing on gratitude can impact all areas of your life but I’d like to discuss gratitude in the workplace. And how we, as HR, can make it more prevalent.

Thanks Are Contagious

Step one. Thank someone. Step 2. Repeat. One little thank you makes you think. It makes you feel great and it makes you wonder when was the last time you did that for someone else. Hopefully it motivates you to pay that feeling forward. Thank yous can start a chain reaction that flow from person to person throughout your organization. Improving interactions, improving moods and improving performance. What’s not to love?

Give Them the Tools/Set the Stage

You don’t need to have a fancy system that handles all recognition for you (although those are pretty sweet!). If these instances are occurring naturally in your organization, find a way to enhance it. Make thank you notes available for employees to give one another. Give them a wall to put up shout outs to colleagues. Encourage them to give props on social media. Grass roots initiatives can be effective. Find a way to help support them and watch them flourish.

Money Isn’t Everything

At times, you may be able to give out rewards as a part of the thank you. Gift cards are nice, so are bottles of wine or fancy dinners. However, if the budget is lacking, it’s not ok to start slacking. The thank you itself and the reminder about what behavior or traits made it happen are what’s most important. Make that person feel appreciated in the way you thank them. Cash not required.

Remind Yourself On the Regular

I know you’re inundated with thanks all over the place. Because you’re awesome. Now, what do you do with that feedback once you’ve got it? Do you remember it? Post it somewhere? File them away for a rainy day? Reminding yourself of that feedback is a smart tactic to keep yourself happy and in touch with your inner optimist. Do it personally and kindly suggest that your employees do the same. It’s great to have a little stash of thank you notes to reflect on when you’re having a crappy day.

Saying thank you is pretty simple. It doesn’t have to be flashy or costly. It only has to be meaningful. And it will have a huge impact on your organization if you’re able to make it a part of the culture itself.


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