Harnessing the Power of Gratitude in the Workplace

RAFT Team, November 21, 2022

With fall in the air and Covid a lower threat than it was a year ago, it feels like there’s a lot to be thankful for. Yes, even gratitude in the workplace. It's an important element for any successful business.

Highest on the gratitude list of things to be thankful for from a recent survey was for family and freedom. But lowest was gratitude for their current workplace. In fact, the least likely place for anyone to express gratitude is at work. 

  • 60% said they never or only once a year express gratitude at work.
  • Less than 15% of people express daily gratitude to colleagues.
  • 35% said they never thanked their bosses.

The irony of these numbers is that everyone wishes to experience more gratitude in the workplace. Even though we feel better and are more motivated when we share gratitude at work, we’re actively making our own lives miserable daily in this arena by keeping silent. Gratitude in the workplace not only helps to boost morale, but it can also lead to increased productivity and higher job satisfaction among employees.

In this blog post, we will explore what gratitude in the workplace means and why it’s so beneficial. We'll look at how you can encourage gratitude at work and transform your office into a place of thankfulness and appreciation through simple steps that are easy to implement. Finally, we'll wrap up with some key takeaways on why cultivating gratitude in the workplace should be part of every organization's mission statement!

What Does Gratitude in the Workplace Look Like?

At work, you can express gratitude verbally, through gestures such as gifts, or simply by acknowledging and thanking someone for their work. It's an important part of creating a positive work environment and fostering better relationships between colleagues.

What’s the textbook definition of gratitude in the workplace? 

Gratitude is defined as being thankful for something that has been done or given to you. In the workplace, it involves expressing appreciation and recognition to employees, co-workers, supervisors, and other stakeholders who have contributed to the success of a project or organization. (Learn the 3 categories of gratitude.)

What are the benefits of gratitude in the workplace? 

Expressing gratitude at work can help build stronger relationships among colleagues while increasing morale and motivation levels within teams. Studies have also shown that when people feel appreciated, they are more likely to stay with an organization longer, which leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction overall. Showing gratitude helps foster trust between employees, which can lead to improved communication within teams, resulting in higher quality outcomes from projects undertaken together.

Employers should also strive to create an atmosphere where everyone feels valued regardless of their management level or entry-level status, so that all employees feel appreciated equally, no matter what role they play within the organization.

(Learn more about all the ways gratitude can impact your daily life here.)

Key Takeaway: Gratitude in the workplace is essential for creating a positive work environment and building better relationships between colleagues. Benefits include increased morale, motivation, job satisfaction, productivity, and trust. Employers should ensure all employees feel valued regardless of their management level or entry-level status.

How to Lead a Gratitude Transformation at Work

Transforming your workplace through thankfulness and appreciation is an effective way to create a positive work environment that encourages collaboration, innovation, and growth. It can be incredibly rewarding for both employers and employees. There are 3 key steps to creating a culture of thankfulness and appreciation. 

  1. Creating a culture of thankfulness starts with leadership setting an example by recognizing accomplishments both big and small throughout the organization. 
  2. As a leader, you can provide feedback on how employees are doing so they know what areas need improvement as well as what areas they excel in. 
  3. Finally, you can invest in training programs that focus on teaching employees about the importance of showing appreciation towards one another at work. 

Build Gratitude into Your Work Culture

  • During Hiring. When you hire someone new, ask them how they like to be thanked. Each personality type will have a slightly different answer, so it’s best to check in on this. This thoughtfulness goes a long way!
  • Performance Reviews. Most employees get nervous about performance reviews. Instead of only going over things to be improved, take time for some kudos about what they’re doing well. This can be in the actual work itself, their interaction with others, or their perspective. 
  • Staff Meetings. Set aside a few minutes at the beginning of staff meetings for people to express gratitude to one another. Not only will this be an encouragement for everyone, it won’t be long before everyone starts to come to each meeting prepared for this sharing time.
  • Employee Exit. When an employee leaves, throw them a party and let the focus be on all the things they contributed to improve your company. They’ll leave on a high note and step into their next season of life confidently.
  • Conflict Resolution. When you’re called on to help mitigate a problem, take the time to express gratitude to each participant before you roll into the conflict. This is where your noticing skills come in handy — it won’t be difficult to find some area of their work to express gratitude for. This helps set a higher standard and lets each party know you’re coming to the table with as little bias as possible.

Challenge Yourself to Express Gratitude More

Remember this important truth: gratitude in the workplace starts with you! Here are some ways anyone can share it:

  • Express Appreciation: A simple “thank you” or “I appreciate your help” goes a long way in showing appreciation for someone's hard work. Express appreciation regularly and sincerely so that people know their efforts are valued.
  • Recognize Achievements: Recognizing achievements is an important part of creating a culture of gratitude at work. Whether it's publicly recognizing someone for completing an important project or privately thanking them for going above and beyond, recognize employees who have made significant contributions to the team or organization.
  • Give Compliments: Giving compliments is another great way to show gratitude in the workplace. Complimenting coworkers on their skills, accomplishments, or even just their appearance can go a long way towards making them feel appreciated and valued as part of the team.
  • Be Generous with Praise: Don't forget about praising yourself! Showing self-gratitude by taking time out of your day to acknowledge your own successes will not only boost morale but also inspire others around you do better too!
  • Show Gratitude Through Actions: Words are nice, but actions speak louder than words, especially in the workplace. Showing genuine interest in what others have done or helping out with tasks they may need assistance with shows genuine appreciation for their efforts, which will go much further than simply saying thank you every once in a while.

Practical Ways to Encourage Gratitude at Work

Gratitude is a powerful tool that can help create a positive and productive work environment. It can encourage collaboration, improve relationships, and build trust among colleagues. Showing appreciation and recognition is one of the most effective ways to encourage gratitude at work.

This could include thanking someone for their hard work, recognizing them for going above and beyond, or offering words of encouragement when they need it most. It’s also important to create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable expressing their gratitude towards each other without fear of judgement or criticism.

Encourage Individual Gratitude Habits at Work:

  • Encourage everyone to start the day by writing down three things you are thankful for every morning and at the end of the workday to reflect on all that you have accomplished so far.
  • Say “thank you” more often throughout the day—whether it’s sending emails or saying something face-to-face—and take note whenever someone does something nice or helpful around the office so that you can thank them later on as well. 
  • Set aside some time each week specifically dedicated to showing appreciation by sending cards/notes/gifts (if possible) to those who have impacted your life professionally or personally over the past few weeks/months/years.

Equip Managers to Lead Effectively

Another idea is implementing regular check-ins with staff where managers ask them how they are feeling about their current workloads while offering words of encouragement when needed. Encouraging team-building activities to help foster camaraderie among coworkers while giving them time away from daily tasks.

Create Opportunities for Team Bonding

Strategies for creating a culture of appreciation involve setting up systems that reward employees who show gratitude towards others. Consider these group ideas: 

  • Set up an employee recognition program where employees are rewarded with points or prizes when they thank someone else in the office. 
  • Start meetings with a 5-minute gratitude session. Everyone can share what they’re grateful for.
  • Have lunch together or attend work events together to create stronger bonds between coworkers. This encourages feelings of mutual respect and understanding - all essential components of nurturing an atmosphere filled with gratitude at work!

Provide Opportunities for Others’ Gratitude

  • Gratitude Bulletin Board. Consider creating a public place where people can express gratitude to their colleagues. This might be a bulletin board or a staff-only page on your website. The easier you make it, the more the gratitude will flow. If you have a bulletin board, keep it stocked with slips of paper and pens to remove every barrier as you can from this experience.
  • Resilience Training. Provide opportunities for your staff to grow their resilience. Trainings, self-care classes, philanthropic opportunities…anything that will help your staff improve their mental and emotional health will make your work culture even better. We offer free resilience workshops — find out more here.
  • Debrief After Stress. If your company goes through a difficult situation or season, take the time to debrief with your staff afterwards. This time can help you grow closer as a company and strategize to make any future experiences less stressful. Here are a few questions that will stir gratitude and help build resilience:
    • What lesson did this teach us?
    • Can we find a way to be thankful now even though we couldn’t be in the moment of stress?
    • What ability surfaced that surprised us?
    • Has the workplace become better as a result?

Key Takeaway: Gratitude in the workplace can foster positive relationships and a more productive work environment, but you must create the opportunities for gratitude among staff. Key strategies include: recognizing employees, creating an atmosphere of appreciation, rewarding gratitude, and taking time to express thanks.


Gratitude in the workplace is an important tool for domestic violence and sexual violence advocates to build resilience against compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout. You can encourage gratitude through simple actions, such as recognizing individual contributions or celebrating successes together. By creating a culture of appreciation and thankfulness at work, organizations can transform their workplaces into places where people feel valued and appreciated. Through these practices of gratitude in the workplace, domestic violence and sexual violence advocates can better support survivors while also protecting themselves from burnout.

Let's create a culture of gratitude in the workplace. By acknowledging and celebrating small wins, appreciating each other for our efforts, and encouraging meaningful connections between colleagues, we can foster an environment that helps prevent burnout among domestic violence and sexual violence advocates. Together, let's support these essential professionals who provide invaluable care to those affected by abuse—a task made all the more difficult without a foundation of appreciation from their peers.

To foster a culture of gratitude within your organization, start by setting clear expectations around how people should treat each other with respect; recognize successes both big and small; encourage open dialogue about challenges; promote collaboration rather than competition; offer flexible working arrangements where possible; be generous with praise when warranted; reward performance appropriately; ensure everyone feels heard regardless of position or seniority level within the organization ;and most importantly, lead by example.

FAQs About Gratitude in the Workplace

How do you show gratitude in the workplace?

Showing gratitude can be as simple as expressing appreciation to colleagues, recognizing their efforts, or offering kind words of encouragement. It’s also important to take time out of your day to thank those who have gone above and beyond. Acknowledging someone’s hard work with a small gift or taking them out for lunch are other great ways to show gratitude in the workplace. By making an effort to recognize others' contributions, you create an atmosphere that encourages collaboration and fosters respect among coworkers.

What does gratitude mean in the workplace?

Gratitude in the workplace is a way of expressing appreciation for colleagues, supervisors, and other members of the work environment. You can express it through words or actions such as saying thank you for help with a project, recognizing someone’s efforts on a task, or providing positive feedback. 

Gratitude helps to build strong relationships between coworkers and creates an atmosphere of respect and support. It can motivate employees to continue working hard and provide them with greater job satisfaction. Ultimately, gratitude in the workplace contributes to creating a more productive work environment that fosters collaboration and success.

Why is it important to have gratitude in the workplace?

Gratitude in the workplace is important because it helps to foster a positive and supportive environment. It can help build relationships between colleagues, increase job satisfaction, and reduce stress levels. Gratitude can create an atmosphere of appreciation that encourages employees to work harder and be more productive. Finally, expressing gratitude for the hard work of others has been shown to improve morale and motivation, which are essential components of any successful team or organization.

How do you professionally express gratitude?

Expressing gratitude in a professional setting is an important part of building and maintaining relationships. Acknowledging the contributions of others can help build trust, create positive connections, and foster mutual respect. It’s important to be sincere when expressing gratitude so that it comes across as genuine appreciation rather than insincere flattery. 

To express gratitude professionally, start by thanking the person for their contribution or support. Then explain how their efforts have made a difference in your work or life. Finally, offer them specific words of encouragement or recognition for their hard work and dedication. Expressing gratitude in this way shows respect for the individual, while also reinforcing the importance of collaboration within a team environment.