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Competition Inspires Gratitude

A personal story about how an employee cook off competition increased my motivation to perform well at my internship.

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My definition of gratitude is when someone appreciates another person that has accomplished or contributed to a job or task. To express gratitude means to acknowledge someone else’s work and let that person know how you feel toward them. I personally express gratitude toward others by directly communication my appreciation to those people because it makes it that more important. It’s great to surprise someone by letting them know that their actions are appreciated because it may bring joy and a sense of purpose to that person. I express my gratitude towards others because I know how much I enjoy hearing that someone is thankful for my help or contribution. It makes me feel great about what I’m doing and it reminds me to demonstrate my gratitude to others so that they can feel happy too.

This past summer I was a Contract Data Entry Intern at midsize company with 300 employees. This job was my first experience working full-time in a professional setting and I was exposed to the different ways that employee appreciation is demonstrated. My job was a temporary entry level position which I thought meant that I wouldn’t be too involved in the social aspects of the company. However, that was not the case at all. Management encouraged everyone to participate in social events such as the queso Cook-off competition.

The company used Slack as a means of instant communication across all levels of the company. On Slack employees use a specific channel to give others shout outs for performing any of the company’s four core values and other channels are used for company wide announcements. There is a score board that keeps track of all the points employees receive from getting shout outs from other employees. At different milestones, there are prizes given to employees which encourages constant participation. The coordinators of the competition needed more participants so they started inviting more people to join through Slack which lead me to volunteer for the competition. To encourage more people to join the coordinators were engaging others in some friendly competition and I jokingly said my queso would win the competition. It turned out that my queso was the most popular among employees and won first place.

That same day I was given a shout out on the appreciation slack channel for being “Passionate for Results” which is one of the four company values. Although the context of the results was winning the queso competition, I was still shown appreciation because I committed to a task and performed well. This made me glad that I participated and motivated me to become involved in more aspects of the company culture. I became more involved at expressing my gratitude of others after I was shown gratitude. This experience motivated me to perform well in my job and made me enjoy what I was doing because I felt as an active participant of the company.

Throughout the internship I was involved in multiple intern projects and I made it a point to demonstrate my appreciation toward others’ contribution. I believe that this improved the group dynamics because it made others felt that their work was meaningful to the group which compelled them to show their gratitude for others as well. Now reflecting on my internship experience I realize that the company did a great job at validating employees and making them feel appreciated. For example, the company will also send more formal appreciation emails to celebrate the sales team’s won deals. These emails would specifically name the individuals directly and indirectly involved which allowed other employees to demonstrate their appreciation for those specific individuals.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

To understand why gratitude is important in the workplace you need to understand why it's important to someone on a personal level. It's important to understand the way different people react to being shown gratitude and understand the reasons people demonstrate it toward others.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a fourth year college student and I am studying Management Information Systems. My education and internship experience has influenced my personal story because I haven't completed college and haven't had a full-time job for a long period of time.

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HI Tannia Rodriguez ,

Great to see you sharing your provocations around this topic and bringing your voice to the Gratitude Challenge Community!

From the insights shared in your post, we think it may be particularly interesting to for you to attend our Gratitude in the Workplace Webinar with University of Washington positive organizational leadership expert, Ryan Fehr tomorrow, Oct 13 @ 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. He’ll be discussing recommendations for designing Ideas for this topic.

You can register for the webinar here

We hope to see you there!