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From “Fine” to Fantastic: How Gratitude Builds a Fortress of Trust

Group of business people applauding team leader.

We’ve all heard it before: “Good job!” or “Thanks for your hard work.” These are perfectly fine phrases, but in the world of building trust and fostering a truly exceptional workplace, they fall a bit short. While many companies have employee recognition programs, these often become stale and impersonal. So how do we move beyond “fine” and create a culture of gratitude that builds a fortress of trust?

Norms of Workplace Culture 2023

Source: 100 Best Companies to Work For

The answer lies in understanding that thanking is an active leadership behavior. It requires genuine effort and a shift in perspective. Companies recognized as Best Workplaces™ continued to shine in 2023. They excelled in offering fair compensation practices, shared profits with employees, and fostered improved work environments. This widened the gap between these top workplaces and others. As a result, Best Workplaces received significantly more positive feedback from employees in 2023, with an average increase of 10%. Here’s why expressing gratitude makes all the difference: 

  • Uniquely You: The best leaders take the time to learn about their team members. What are their passions, strengths, and contributions? Recognizing these unique qualities shows genuine appreciation and makes the thank you more meaningful. 
  • Beyond “Employee of the Month”: Forget the singular hero mentality. The most successful companies thank everyone for their contributions, big and small. This ensures everyone feels valued and motivates them to keep contributing their best. 
  • The Habit of Gratitude: A sincere expression of thanks goes a long way, but it can’t be a one-off gesture. Thanking needs to be habitual and sustained, woven into the very fabric of the company culture. 

Taking Recognition from “Good” to “Great”

Showing Likelihood Increase Great Workplace Experience for various industries like Health Care and BioPharma being 7X. Financial Services and Information Technology being 6X. Manufacturing and Retail being 5X.

So how do we elevate gratitude from “fine” to “fantastic”? Here are some secrets employed by Best Workplaces to build trust through meaningful recognition: 

  • Breaking Down Barriers: Traditional recognition programs often overlook valuable contributions. They may prioritize specific business metrics or be limited by technology that excludes certain voices. To ensure everyone is included, remove these barriers
  • Weaving Recognition into Everyday Work: Recognition shouldn’t be a special event. Make it a natural part of daily business operations. Integrate it into work processes and encourage team members to acknowledge each other’s efforts. 
  • The Power of Measurement: Track your recognition efforts. See who’s participating, the types of recognition offered, and the impact on team morale. Use this data to refine your approach and incentivize active participation
  • Embrace the Unexpected: Prevent recognition from becoming predictable and forgettable. Get creative! Public praise, handwritten notes, or personalized gifts all add a special touch. 
  • Personalization is Key: What motivates one employee might leave another cold. Tailor your recognition to individual preferences. A thoughtful gesture, no matter how small, shows you truly appreciate their contributions. 

Building a Culture of Gratitude 

By incorporating these tips, leaders can transform a “fine” recognition program into a powerful tool for building trust and fostering a thriving workplace. Here’s what you gain: 

  • Increased Employee Engagement: When employees feel valued, they’re more likely to be invested in the company’s success. 
  • Improved Morale and Collaboration: Gratitude fosters a positive, supportive environment where collaboration flourishes. 
  • Enhanced Productivity and Innovation: Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to go the extra mile, leading to greater innovation and productivity. 

The Takeaway 

Moving beyond a culture of “fine” is within your reach. By actively expressing gratitude and implementing these strategies, you can build a fortress of trust within your team, one sincere thank you at a time. Remember, creating a thriving workplace starts with recognizing the value each individual brings to the table. 

Ready to take your gratitude game to the next level? 

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