Incorporating gratitude into your company culture is not something that has to be implemented by your boss, or by a specific department. Creating a culture of gratitude and appreciation for one another is something that any team member can initiate at any time. At Blue Beyond, we love the way that gratitude practices can stem from even the simplest moments.
At a recent team day, one of our team members, Karen, confessed that sometimes — to make days working remotely more enjoyable — she listens to a YouTube playlist of “cat music” and takes occasional dance breaks. Later that day, a couple of us came upon a bobble figurine of a dancing cat wearing a hula skirt at a nearby thrift shop. Since everyone got a kick out of our coworker’s story about the cat music, we decided to purchase it for Karen to show our appreciation for her lively and engaging presence on our team. “It made me feel really good when my colleagues honored my ‘daily habit’ with an actual dancing hula cat. It was so unexpected; it felt like a group hug. Now, listening to cat music is even more enjoyable,” says Karen.
The “Dancing Hula Cat” has now evolved into an office tradition. At each company meeting, the award is passed on, giving us more opportunities to appreciate individuals for their unique contributions to the team. Gratitude does not have to be a formal program — the inspiration to honor each other can present itself at any time — even in the quirkiest of forms.
Studies show expressing gratitude has a positive impact on workplaces. A 2017 report from Positive Psychology Program shows that gratitude has been found to help people find meaning in their jobs, and enhance their ability to apply their strengths to their work. Having gratitude and respect in the workplace makes employees feel more welcomed and integrated into their organization, leading to reduced turnover for the company. Making gratitude a part of your workplace can create a significant impact on mental health, reducing stress among employees.
We’re always searching for easy, fun activities that allow us to build a company culture of gratitude and appreciation. Here are two other ideas that may work for your team:
- In the spirit of giving thanks, our team wrote what they were grateful for on leaves and then attached them to a gratitude tree to display in the office as a reminder of what we appreciate in our lives.
- One of our coworkers created team word clouds — each team member was given a picture of a word cloud made up of positive words that their coworkers used to describe them. These have served as a great reminder of what others appreciate about us, and what we appreciate about them.
It’s up to every member of a team to create the culture they want to see in their workplace. Company culture doesn’t come from events or rules, it comes from the mindset and spirit of each employee. At Blue Beyond, we prioritize our culture by being open to any possible way we can to show gratitude for one another. As the hula cat keeps dancing, we’ll keep being thankful. 🙂