Business Group Blog

Be a Champion for Gratitude and Kindness in the Workplace

Be a Champion for Gratitude and Kindness in the Workplace

Lately it’s hard not to feel bogged down by bad news. From the growing opioid epidemic, to the devastating impact of several hurricanes, to the current political climate, people in the U.S. are awash with uncertainty, anxiety and grief. Employers are doing their part to help employees cope with these difficult times, including offering aid to employees affected by the recent storms, providing employees with ready access to EAPs, encouraging employees to take part in resilience programs, and training managers how to recognize signs of employee distress. But there is still is yet another thing that employers can do to help employees cope with the stress of our modern world: create a safe haven for employees at work by encouraging kindness and gratitude.

The month of November is a prime opportunity to kick-off or elevate efforts to promote gratitude and kindness at work: November 13th is World Kindness Day and November 28th is World Compassion Day. While championing kindness and gratitude in the workplace may sound “soft” to some, both expressions are evidence-based ways to improve positive emotions, a vital component of our emotional health. Not only that, they are the hallmarks of a positive emotional workplace culture, which has been associated with lower levels of emotional exhaustion, absenteeism and involuntary turnover, along with higher engagement, teamwork and job satisfaction.

If you’re looking for ways to integrate kindness and gratitude into your office, here’s some inspiration from your peers:

  • During the holiday season, a company puts up a gratitude tree and encourages employees to share messages about what they’re grateful for in their department. Results from a survey of participants showed that the vast majority felt the tree had a positive impact on their morale.
  • With a focus on happiness in the workplace, one company seeks out activities that lead to laughter and light-hearted interaction among employees. A sample of these activities include “random” celebrations not associated with birthdays or retirements, gratitude boards, and Throwback Thursdays (associates can bring in old pictures to share and guess who is who).
  • One company gives employees one work day a month to completely focus on investing in themselves, their teammates, and their community. Each month has a theme, including “giving back”, “play” and “community” Employees have initiated their own activities under each theme like handing out bus fares to people waiting for the bus and asking them to pay it forward, or giving out gift cards to folks on the street who spread some sort of joy (like calling their mom!).

Business Group members: For more information on the benefits of positivity in the workplace see the resources below.