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Hacking Your Company Culture Using the Power of Gratitude

By using gratitude as a force to build the company culture, you can get buy-in from leaders to make gratitude a part of the workplace.

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Hacking Your Company Culture Using the Power of Gratitude

It is safe to assume that everyone knows the key benefits of embracing gratitude at your workplace.

Grateful employees -> Happy employees -> Productive employees -> Happy customers -> More profits -> Happy shareholders.

The virtuous cycle brings together an "everybody wins" scenario.

If this is so simple, why all the organizations in the world are not embracing gratitude strategically?

The key issues are as follows:

  • When something is too familiar, you tend to take it for granted. One can take an idealistic posture that gratitude "must be already in place." 
  • There is also the possibility that gratitude is considered as a "nice to have" soft skill rather than something strategic to the organization


So, unless the leadership is behind this in a big way, any attempt to implement a practice of gratitude within the workplace gets fizzled out by a minority of cynical people within the same workplace.

There is where we bring the connection of gratitude to hack the company culture to the forefront. Any good leader will care about the company culture, so if there is a program that will help build a solid company culture, they are sure to be open.

In the simplest form, the culture of a company is comprised of default behaviors and rituals of people who are part of it. Every good leader’s goal is to have these rituals and behaviors be in line with the company values to support the mission of the company ultimately to realize the company vision. If that happens, it will lay the foundation to build a great company culture. Of course, the basic assumption here is that the following are true:

  • The organization has an inspiring vision
  • The organization has a compelling mission
  • The organization’s stated values are meaningful
  • The organization’s hiring is focused on people that will be a fit for the culture that is being built.


The next step is to use educational materials (video, book, etc.) that highlight the practical reasons (not just the moral, ethical, social reasons) to practice gratitude.

So, we have got the buy-in from leadership because of the connection to the culture. We have got the buy-in from people as we raised their awareness  about the practical reasons to be grateful.

The final step is to bring a collection of thank you cards that are beautifully designed with messages that highlight the kind of behaviors and rituals that need to be rewarded to build a strong culture. 

We make these cards available at break rooms and any other place frequented by employees with a call to action such as “Someone made your day. It’s now your turn to make their day”. 

Out of curiosity, people start browsing through these cards and a subset of them will think and reflect on what they need to do to deserve one of those cards.

The leadership team can kick-start the engine by giving a few employees (role models) who demonstrated the behaviors personalized thank you cards. It will not only make the day of the recipients, but also strengthens the highlighted behavior some more.

When others see these cards in the recipients’ cubicles, more people will take the initiative to give the appropriate thank you cards to their deserving colleagues. 

The virtuous cycle begins taking shape.

Idea Title

Hacking Your Company Culture Using the Power of Gratitude

How the Idea will inspire the experience and expression of gratitude within an organization.

We first established how creating a practice of expressing gratitude in the workplace will help building a strong company culture. This will help us get the executive support and attention to roll out such a practice. Next, we have raised the awareness of the practical reasons to express gratitude. Lastly, we have designed thank you cards (thoughtful cards) that are in line with the values of the company and made the card collection available at places the employees frequently (break room, library etc.) visit. When the leaders kickstart the practice by giving a few thank you cards to deserving employees, others will see them in the recipient's cubicles. The virtuous cycle begins

Who are you innovating for?

The focus here is knowledge workers at companies that have 50 employees or more in any location. When any employee receives a thoughtful thank you card, it will first make their day and second, it will internally reinforce the behavior. Everybody wants to know that they mattered in the workplace and in the world. A thoughtful thank you card from a colleague achieves that purpose. When the practice spreads, happiness and productivity gets a boost in the workplace.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

The target market for this is workplaces where a single office has at least 50 or more people working together. Since all the Gratitude cards are currently in English, the geographically the solution is (currently) limited to English speaking countries.

How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?

The key decision makers are HR people and stewards of company culture. The attached document explains the connection of Gratitude is connected to Vision -> Mission -> Values -> Expected Behaviors to be encouraged. When the HR leaders see that the messages in the Gratitude cards will encourage the behaviors that are in line with their values and will support the mission to ultimately realize the vision, we have a good chance of getting their buy-in. Since these cards are physical cards, people can see them in their colleagues' cubicles, at break rooms, etc - this will in-turn increase the adoption. We are planning to incorporate the digital version of thank you cards at MentorCloud

What obstacles, if any, do you foresee in implementing this Idea, and how would they be overcome?

Obstacle #1: The card collection is not complete Ideas to overcome: We will expand the catalog continuously and catch up to the market needs. Obstacle #2: Implementation costs are high Ideas to overcome: For the first phase, we will use already existing materials to keep our costs low so that the pilots happen at a very reasonable cost

How will you test and prototype your solution?

We are thinking about several options, but here are two to start with: #1. Build the minimum viable product with slight modifications to the already existing thank you cards collection at www.thoughtful.cards. Then implement a pilot program with one or two friendly organizations in our network. #2. Implement the digital version of these cards within MentorCloud SPARK, a mentoring solution used by several large corporations in US and beyond.

What immediate next steps will you take if you receive an implementation grant.

Product completeness ( Updating the thank you card collection ) Partnership with the right organizations to help with the outreach ( eg: Consulting organizations that deal with culture) Pilot with a small number of friendly companies to refine the offering Update the website

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.
  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

First, my focus turned to researching on practical aspects of gratitude when I started sharing my thoughts on Practical Generosity Quotient (PGQ). Side conversations revealed that people were guarded when it came to generosity because they were taken for granted before. More research revealed that the problem is far and deep. Everyone I talked to knew the value of gratitude, but few practiced it. This resulted in a book and presentations. This idea is simply an extension of the earlier ideas.

Tell us about yourself

Rajesh Setty is a serial entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Silicon Valley. Raj co-founded multiple technology and publishing companies including, but not limited to Audvisor, MentorCloud, Jifflenow, WittyParrot, Compassites Technology Solutions Private Limited etc. Raj has published sixteen books so far with this first book published when he was thirteen. More at www.rajeshsetty.com

Where are you / your team located?

Bay Area, California

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

The company is an LLC.

Company / Organization Name

Foresight Plus, LLC

Website

Personal website: http://www.rajeshsetty.com Gratitude book website: http://www.gratitude.pub Gratitude Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYAzDrsypB4&t=17s Thank you cards: http://www.thoughtful.cards

Tell us about your experience

I am an entrepreneur, author and teacher based in Silicon Valley. I have had a keen interest on the topic of Gratitude and the practical aspects of it. I have written a book (http://www.gratitude.pub) on that topic, presented on that topic at conferences (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYAzDrsypB4&t=17s) and created a set of thoughtful thank you cards that go with the book and beyond (http://www.thoughtful.cards)

Attachments (1)

Hacking the Company Culture Using the Power of Gratitude.pdf

The detailed paper on the background and the idea

4 comments

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Photo of Sylvia
Team

I love the cards.

Photo of Rajesh
Team

Thanks a ton, Sylvia.

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