We need to make it easier for super-busy executives, HR/OD professionals to understand the business case for gratitude and create cultures of gratitude through a one-stop resource which is disseminated strategically. This could be a website which is marketed to our target audience in places/publications they frequent. This way we make the info centralised and accessible to a global audience.
I haven't found a resource on the internet that pulls together strategies, resources, stories and more to make things easy for busy culture architects to be enrolled into creating a culture of gratitude. The information is scattered, and not packaged into a powerful call for action which is easier.
For example, here's the kind of information that could be centralised online. This way, we also connect with other organisations doing complementary work and create an eco-system that supports workplace gratitude.
- Present Clear Business case -
Dr Paul White has lots of materials (videos, articles, tools at http://www.appreciationatwork.com/learn/) to help business-minded people understand the value of appreciation at work and also understand their employees' preferred language of appreciation. This is fantastic. It would be useful to include this material in our efforts.
There is also a need for a communications piece that gets across the business case for gratitude to executives, HR/OD professionals in a way that is fast, powerful, visually appealing and viral. It needs to link to what's important for organisations - they want performance, productivity, teamwork, better sales, innovation, better customer service, higher retention of their best staff, less health insurance claims and for some - being good corporate citizens.
- Energy network analysis (by Humax Corporation) helps organisations discover who in their organisation energise others positively. These positive energisers are, according to the website of Center for Positive Organizations, "positive influencers, effective leaders, and value creators. They inspire others to perform beyond the call of duty. Energizers make organizational change successful and sustainable." These energisers are not necessarily in positions of authority. But others trust them. These energisers could be enrolled to spread gratitude in workplaces.
- Strengths surveys like VIA Character Strengths survey and Strengths Profile allow people to discover where their gratitude strength lies (along with many others). An organisation which uses such tools could enlist the support of those who have gratitude as a top/energising strength to shine their gratitude strength more in the workplace and be gratitude ambassadors. These people are naturally grateful so tapping on them could be win-win for the person who gets to use their strength as well as the organisation. They could also be teamed up with people who have other strengths needed to spread a culture of gratitude.
- More connections could be made between gratitude as well as related ideas such as compassion at work (see Dr Jane Dutton and Monica Worline's book "Awakening Compassion at Work") and giving at work (Prof Adam Grant's book: Give and Take) because compassion and giving are the contexts in which gratitude can be expressed more. Experts from these different but related fields of study could join forces and speak of the interconnections between their work. Humax Corporation has a powerful tool which is great breeding ground for people to feel and express gratitude for what the receive. Knowing about such tools can help culture architects take practical action.
- Self-appreciation (which Dr Kristin Neff has articulated beautifully) could also be connected to the discussion on workplace gratitude. Self appreciation allows one to celebrate one's strengths and at the same time remember that everyone has strengths and is worthy of appreciation. This perhaps could help address some of the insecurity people may feel that blocks them from expressing gratitude to others.
- To be grateful, one needs to first be mindful and notice the good happening. One barrier to this is technological distraction and addiction which needs to be addressed at work. Mindful use of technology is also something that can create more fertile soil for gratitude and is worth mentioning.
- There is a greater need for more inspiration and not just information. What organisational success stories or case studies are there? What real stories show difficulties, failures and ideas to overcome these? What stories are there of people who have received gratitude or given it at work and therefore had been positively affected by it? If these could be compiled in one place it would help. For example, some of the stories from this challenge could be collated.
- Inspiring Videos such as these can be used by culture architects to spread the word in the workplace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao
- More guidance could be shared on interventions people could use/adapt. What specific gratitude interventions work well especially in the workplace according to research? How can change be measured? How can people understand their own needs in their workplaces and design interventions that suit their people best and not just copy and paste without sufficient reflection?
- How can gratitude and appreciation be integrated into organisational activities more easily? For example,
- project debriefs could include a question or two on gratitude and appreciation.
- if the organisation really wants to promote a grateful culture, recruitment, onboarding and performance reviews need to take this into account. (However as mentioned, I would include not just grateful behaviours but also caring, compassionate, giving behaviours).
- people could be encouraged to spend 5 minutes during a meeting, writing quick appreciation messages (cards/texts/emails) to people in the organisation. They do this together as a team.