Gratitude Hacks: How to Show Appreciation in the Workplace

December 18, 2017
Jocelyn Manuel

Jocelyn Manuel

People Operations

The season of gratitude is upon us. But it’s also a very crazy time for many businesses who are at their busiest during the holidays. Expressing gratitude to employees and each other can get lost in the shuffle.

However, research on gratitude has shown that expressing gratitude, not just at the holidays, but all year long, motivates and boosts team morale and improves company culture. It’s no wonder that more and more businesses have incorporated the practice of gratitude into their workplace.

Townsquared practices gratitude

At Townsquared, we’ve created a culture of gratitude in formal and informal ways. One example is our peer recognition where a team member can publicly acknowledge a colleague for going above and beyond. We call it the Townsquid Award and the recipient gets a giant stuffed squid (our company’s spirit animal) to proudly show off on their desk for a week.

Gratitude also shows up in the little things that we do around the office. Croissants in the morning. A surprise celebration of National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. It also means noticing when someone is having an off day and taking them out for a walk or coffee. Sometimes it’s the simple act of spending time, being fully present, and listening that are the best ways to show your gratitude and appreciation for someone.

We also show gratitude by being involved in our neighborhood because we believe that our communities are stronger if we help each other. One year, we gave 7 Tepees, a youth program across the street from our offices, a makeover. Our team worked alongside their students to paint and beautify their center. We also launched Townsquared Gives Back, a company-wide community service project in each of the cities that we operate, focusing on the topic of homelessness and hunger.

Yasmin Nguyen, founder of Gratitude Inspired Living, recently shared with us some of his simple, practical, actionable strategies for appreciation on his Gratitude Hacks Podcast based on a three-level framework:

  • Gratitude 1.0 – actions to help you reconnect with yourself and acknowledge how kick-ass you are
  • Gratitude 2.0 – actions that show gratitude and deepen connections with others
  • Gratitude 3.0 – activities for expressing gratitude in a more public forum to inspire and activate organizational gratitude

We were inspired by his tips and were curious as to how our Townsquared members show appreciation in the workplace and in their communities and found some great hacks that you can implement in your own business this season:

Gratitude hacks to appreciate your team

Brittany DiMarco, Stand Up NY, New York
Every year we take out the management to dinner and we have a small holiday party for the staff and talent. Everyone looks forward to it.

Doug MacNeil, Spiral Binding Co., San Francisco
I gave each employee tools they could use at work. And since the tools belonged to them, they could take the tools home when they left. I got no complaints on these gifts because it wasn’t “taxable income,” like holiday bonuses.

Showing gratitude to clients and customers

Liz Hanna, Mad Hanna Bar, Portland
For our bar regulars, I hand out mini stockings to our bar’s regulars and have them put their names on them. We hang them up and I’ll put scratch lottery tickets, candy, or dollar store toys in them every few days through December just for fun.

Christa Thiesing, fitness coach, New York
I bake healthy treats and bottle homemade kombucha for my clients. Holidays are a tough time to maintain healthy habits and I try not to sabotage the hard work they’ve done all year! I also offer my clients special packages to give as gifts to their friends and loved ones, which also helps to introduce my fitness services to new clients.

Giving gratitude to the community

Kesha Boyce, Luxe and Nature, Oakland
I pay it forward by making care packages and passing them out to homeless individuals and families in the streets of Oakland every year. As I do not have employees and am a one-woman show, it takes me almost two months to prepare the packages. The bags are filled with socks and gloves, small food items, soap and lotion, and toiletries, like a pocket-sized toothbrush and toothpaste.

Anné M. Klint, personal development coach, Oakland
Last year was my first annual drive to raise funds for clean and safe body care for women and children at East Bay domestic violence shelters, called Building Futures. I partnered with a few local businesses and boutiques who were able to donate new clothes as well.

I do this because it’s a way for me to give back to an invisible segment of our society. I do it because they need us, they need to know that there are folks out there that are rooting for them. And I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to make a small difference through my efforts.

Mun Chan, Quintessence Restaurant, New York
I have donated a lot of our organic vegan inventory that we don’t use to our local Food Drive. They are so grateful. It feels so good to give.

Kathy Paauw, a coach and consultant in Washington, says that “gratitude is an attitude” (she shares tips on expressing gratitude in her weekly blog). And she agrees that showing gratitude is something that should be done throughout the year.

Albert Kauffman, social media and marketing consultant says, “Gratitude is an everyday practice in my business.” Echoes Ernest Villafranca of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, “I say thank you. Thank you for your past business. Thank you for being a client. Thank you for being a friend. People just want to be acknowledged.”

About Townsquared

Townsquared is an online community designed to help small businesses succeed through local connections and resources. We created MyBiz to help owners and managers organize the tasks and issues that are a critical part of running a business. It’s also a communication tool that businesses use for team discussions and it’s a great tool for showing immediate appreciation for teammates. Let us show you how you can use MyBiz to spread gratitude within your business!

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