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Notes of Gratitude

Creating a more social work environment to promote gratitude and quality relationships.

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Employees would be encouraged to write short, personal notes of gratitude if they feel a coworker is going above and beyond or helps them out in a meaningful way. The number of notes each person receives would be kept track of and every 3-4 months the company would host a staff event with food/drinks provided, fun games for everyone to take part in, and the day off in order for people to socialize and get to know each other better. The 3 people with the most notes would also be recognized here and receive a small gift card or trophy to thank them for their hard work and contributions to the organization.

Idea Title

Not(e)able Gratitude

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

People would receive hand-written notes from their coworkers regularly if they are willing to work as a team and help others, showing them proof of the appreciation others have for their hard work. It could build more connections between people who otherwise might not communicate often, or might not realize the extent to which their actions affected someone else. It also provides fun social events for people to get to know each other better which in my experience is potentially the most important factor in how much people look forward to coming to work.

Who are you innovating for?

All employees of an organization would benefit from this idea by being able to participate in fun social events, while those who go above and beyond would get the added benefit of regularly receiving the gratitude of their coworkers and being publicly recognized every few months.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

This idea applies particularly to organizations with a big enough group of people that would allow for team games/activities to be played and plenty of different people that you might not be able to socialize with regularly, such as a specific department of a large company. However, it could definitely be scaled down for smaller groups!

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

This could be implemented by bringing the idea to the leaders of an organization, who could then spread the idea along. Managers/administrators in charge of specific branches would be responsible for encouraging people to write meaningful notes of gratitude to coworkers and explaining the incentives.

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

I think handwritten notes are somewhat of a lost art, and it could be difficult to get regular employees to sign on to putting in the extra effort to express gratitude towards coworkers instead of just going about their business, so perhaps the social events would only happen if a certain quota of notes was met. By providing incentives and giving regular encouragement/reminders to employees to appreciate the things other people do for them it could become second-nature for an organization.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

By attempting to implement it in any specific department of a company or a smaller organization. Ideally it would be one that is overseen by someone who recognizes the value of expressing gratitude in the workplace, could explain the benefits of the system, and get their employees to willingly opt in. If successful it could then be spread to more areas of the organization.

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

I would examine the departments of the university around me or local companies and look for a good leader who is enthusiastic and wants to promote connections among their employees. We could then work together to decide the best way to implement it smoothly and encourage employee participation.

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.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Thinking about the things that I value in a workplace, namely socializing and connecting with the people around me to make it a more fun and friendly environment (and free food/some time off!).

Tell us about yourself

I am an undergraduate at the University of Michigan studying biopsychology and currently learning about creativity.

Where are you / your team located?

Ann Arbor, MI (USA)

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Hi there - love the idea and just piloted something similar in my company with a messy little prototype. I went around to our largest three offices and made a 'recognition mailbox', and supplied postcard templates (with thank you quotes or memes - and some blank ones for the more creative). Thought I'd get a few people interested in sending a postcard to have a colleague receive a physical nudge that their work is noticed and appreciated.
BUT then people went crazy! I now have hundreds of these cards to distribute across the company. People really appreciated the ability to take a minute and let their teammates know that they do great things. Working on my mailout today and it's going to be epic - but absolutely worthwhile as I get to see all of the lovely things people have sent to their fellow staff.
So I endorse your idea absolutely!

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