Gratitude doesn’t happen enough in the workplace as it is generally not yet part of the work culture and the daily routines and habits. We believe that we need to change both. Ensuring that gratitude becomes part of the workplace culture and making expressions of gratitude part of daily routines. We are therefore building a dedicated communication channel for gratitude and also feedback enabling employees to express gratitude to anyone within a company independent of hierarchy or division/ team.
Expressions of gratitude are currently one feature & use case within - Leapsome - the platform that we are building. It is already used by companies in Europe. We are currently working on developing the feature further and triggering expressions of gratitude more regularly (weekly at least). We are convinced gratitude builds trusts in teams, which is the foundation for the peer feedback and peer learning that we also facilitating with Leapsome.
In order to actually trigger expressions of gratitude in the always busy workplace, we have built the entry point for expressions of gratitude directly into the interfaces where most of our communication at work happens - the employee’s email account and team communication channels (such as Slack).
- Email & Slack: Whenever I (the user) receive or write an email from/ to a colleague my colleague’s name and image come up on the right side within my email inbox, alongside a small open text box where I can send him/ her some words of gratitude. Similarly, I can also directly send a colleague some words of gratitude from within Slack.
- Private & public: I can select if my expression of gratitude should remain private (between just the sender and the receiver of gratitude) or if it will also appear in a public team feed (on the platform and pushed into a dedicated Slack channel).
- Signal & trigger: Introducing Leapsome in my team (often at the leadership level) sends the important signal to the team that expressions of gratitude matter and are actively welcomed in my team. The extension of my email inbox always reinforces this signal and is a visual reminder I see whenever I open my inbox.
- Entry point & convenience: We lower the entry barriers to expressions of gratitude, as a dedicated way to communicate gratitude is always there and available to the user directly where the user communicates with his/ her team. Expressing gratitude becomes easier, as it is now done in within a couple of minutes.
- Dedicated channel: Gratitudes are not just lost within an email, but they occur in a specific channel dedicated to expressions of gratitude, peer feedback, and peer learning. Notifications and reminders alongside the visual triggers help users to builds habits.
- Profile & gamification: All expressions of gratitude are collected by the user in a personal profile only visible to the user himself/ herself (alongside peer feedback). Gratitudes are celebrated using elements of gamification, such as e.g. streaks. Think Snapchat for gratitude.
- Insights & biases: We are currently working on developing insights that help the user to better understand his/ her gratitude and feedback behavior, e.g. do you always express gratitude towards the same people, who do seldom express gratitude towards (and is this by choice or does it follow from some unconscious bias)? We want to use the generated data to help the user understand his or her gratitude behavior and recommend learning resources to reflect on own behavior.
- Implementation: To kickstart implementation we always encourage a workshop for the leadership team (we work with professional trainers to facilitate these). The participants are encouraged to build a vision for their gratitude and feedback culture, and brainstorm personal triggers for expressions of gratitude. The (visual) outcome of the workshop is shared with the rest of the team or sometimes even put up in the offices to create further visual triggers.
- On- & offline: We believe that digital expressions of gratitude will not fully replace face to face interaction, nor that they reduce the amount of face to face gratitude. On the contrary from the evidence we are getting from our teams using the platform, the digital platform helps to build habits and thereby triggers more online and also more offline expressions of gratitude.
We used the Refinement stage to ideate, prototype, and test concepts to move further from simple, yet important appreciation into authentic internal and expressed gratitude. Our process and our finding are collected here.
Our three key findings are:
- We trigger employees to reflect and express why they are grateful to a colleague and thereby create more authentic gratefulness due to the added self-reflection on the sender's side and the added level of depth to the message received by the receiver.
- We visualize gratefulness and the connectedness of expressions of gratitude in visual individual, team and company Universes of Gratefulness.
- We develop further ways to link the online and offline expressions of gratitude and add visibility of what happens online offline.
Again, review our refinement progress here.