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.
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.