What are you grateful for? Perhaps you immediately thought of being grateful for your family, health, home, or friends. Rarely do we put work in that list. While we might be glad we have a job, are we stopping to acknowledge the blessings we have because of our employment? Now this doesn’t mean we have to love every aspect of our job, but we can take the time to reflect on what we are grateful for. And there is evidence that creating time to express our gratitude can make a huge impact in our lives and in workplace.

Gratitude allows us to stop dwelling on the challenges or hassles of our day and focus on the positives. When we are grateful, we stop focusing internally and show an outward appreciation toward others and their efforts. This can seem countercultural when we assume all offices have a dog-eat-dog culture where everyone is looking out for number 1.

Gratitude allows us to see how we fit together in the workplace. How interconnected and reliant we are on each other to reach success.

Ryan Fehr, assistant professor of management at the University of Washington, Seattle, summarized the landscape of gratitude in business. “We may think that it’s unprofessional to bring things like forgiveness or gratitude or compassion into the workplace.”

Yet evidence suggests that gratitude and appreciation contribute to the kind of workplace environments where employees actually want to come to work and don’t feel like cogs in a machine.

Leadership has the influence and responsibility to demonstrate gratitude in the workplace. The culture starts from the top and flows down. Gratitude focuses on the whole person. When we’re grateful to someone, we’re acknowledging their talents and skills, while being mindful of the potential sacrifices or time they had to take out of their day to help us. For culture to be truly impacted, gratitude requires consistency. At the most basic level, people need meaningful interpersonal connection, community, and validation. A culture of gratitude and appreciation helps to check all of those boxes.

When gratitude is implemented in the workplace employees will experience:

  • Reduced stress – focusing on the positives and able to manage expectations.
  • Higher motivation – feeling more connected to the work they’re doing giving them purpose and momentum.
  • Increased productivity — they’ll know that their effort and contribution is valued.
  • Improved customer service – the cross over effect of gratitude will extend to others. Appreciated employees often have high customer satisfaction scores.
  • Better retention – a positive recognition strategy boosts morale and breeds loyalty.

If we’re truly concerned with our employees’ health and wellbeing, we have to incorporate a culture of gratitude. Gratitude builds trust and loyalty. In so doing, managers can shape more engaged, connected, and positive teams. These relationships then lead to higher productivity and efficiency, which lead to increased success and growth for the company.