With Thanksgiving around the corner, this is an ideal season to reflect on the role gratitude plays in our lives, both personally and professionally.
Expressing appreciation and gratitude to your team all year round contributes to a healthy workplace culture — and can have a positive impact on employees and patients alike. Research on emotions at work, conducted by Dr. Sigal Barsade at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, revealed that both positive and negative emotions are contagious and can spread from person to person. Results found that teams performed better when they exhibited companionate love, a blend of affection, compassion, caring, and tenderness.
Gratitude has numerous physical, psychological, and social benefits, according to research from Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of California, Davis.
Physical Health Benefits
- Strengthened immune systems
- Tendency to exercise more and take better care of health
- Better and longer sleep
- Increased levels of positive emotions
- Feeling more alert and awake
- Experiencing more joy, optimism, and happiness
- Being more helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving
- Feeling less lonely and isolated and more outgoing
Find small ways every day to show your team you appreciate them and develop a culture of gratitude in your organization. Here are three simple ideas to get you started:
Build a gratitude practice
Set aside a few minutes each day to write down three good things that happened. Briefly explain what took place, who was involved, why things went well, and how they made you feel. This practice helps you look for and focus on positive events and foster a mindset of gratitude. Take it a step further and share your list of good things with your colleagues.
Express your appreciation
Build the habit of giving authentic praise and appreciation to your team. Notice when someone does something well, and acknowledge their efforts. Consider including a short segment in each team meeting where people can publicly compliment and recognize others for their positive contributions.
Celebrate big and small wins
Pay attention to your team’s small accomplishments and major milestones, and celebrate them together. Catch people being helpful, hardworking, or caring, and thank them in the moment. Send regular emails shouting out team members’ achievements. Put up a whiteboard or corkboard in the staff lounge where people can add their wins or those of their colleagues.
We believe happier and healthier people are the biggest driver behind a thriving business. This blog post is part of our Heart of the Business initiative and our ongoing commitment to delivering health and wellness content to support healthy employees, and in turn, healthy businesses.