Here’s a practical way to foster gratitude in the workplace: keep track of it and draw attention to it.
I work an inside sales position, processing quotes and orders, and managing projects, so I spend a large part of my days communicating through email, opening & closing files, programs and reports, researching products online, and organizing and presenting information. The industry I am in is very competitive, time-sensitive, and demanding. There is not a lot of collaboration or tolerance for human error. This environment leaves people stressed and defensive, sometimes feeling unappreciated and powerless.
A couple of years ago I created a “Thank you” spreadsheet and a simple set of parameters. Every time I see an email from someone, to me or to someone else, that was sent for the sole purpose of thanking that person, I add one to his or her tally. The spreadsheet keeps track of each person and has a count for each month of the year. It calculates monthly totals, yearly totals and has a shading function that makes it easy to pick out the most thankful individuals.
Around Thanksgiving, I send an email to everyone thanking them for their model behavior throughout the year, and giving them a list of the Top Five Thankers.
Yes, I am a dweeb. But a creative one!
So, what do I count as a thank you? Here are some examples of what I have seen:
You’re the Best!
I appreciate your help.
Really, any email sent for the sole purpose of expressing genuine gratitude. Not everyone takes the time to type out the words and click send – I want to reward those who do.
So, one might legitimately ask, how much time out of your day does this take? Shouldn’t you be working? I have two answers. Firstly, each instance of recording takes literally a few seconds – open the file, find or add the name, and put a number in the box. Done. The average number of Thank-yous that I record per month is 32.3, less than 2 per work day. This is hardly hindering productivity.
Secondly, I believe there is immeasurable value in finding ways to compliment (reward) the virtues you see in the people around you. It is a great morale boost, it helps create an environment where people feel appreciated and valuable, making them happier, more patient, more team-oriented, more productive, and hopefully closer to Christ.
How do you foster virtues in the workplace?