Building A Culture of Appreciation and Gratitude in the Workplace (Part 2)

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Home > Articles > Building A Culture of Appreciation and Gratitude in the Workplace (Part 2)

 Building A Culture of Appreciation and Gratitude in the Workplace (Part 2)

William Wan | Today's Manager
March 1, 2018

Being grateful has benefits to personal and corporate health and well-being.

Having an attitude of gratitude is undoubtedly not only good for our personal health and well-being, but also for the health and well-being of a corporation. How can we then create a culture of appreciation and gratitude in our workplaces? Here are some ways to do it.

First of all, as with every organisational change, it starts from the top. Managers and leaders can set the tone for employees by practising acts of appreciation such as giving immediate feedback for a job well done, writing a thank-you card, or even dropping a simple E-mail to thank them specifically for what it is you appreciate. Let them know how it helped you and the company.

Appreciation does not have to be a grand gesture or a huge promotion. A little recognition from leaders goes a long way toward employee satisfaction and motivation. Something as simple as making time to stop by an employee’s desk to speak to them face-to-face can help close the communication gap and empower employees to perform better in their roles. It allows them to feel that their hard work and sacrifices are understood and valued.

In fact, according to a survey by Kelton Research, nearly 50 per cent of working Americans say they would rather be appreciated than have an opportunity to advance in their careers. 1 The study also found, with escalating workplace demands, employees aren’t feeling valued by superiors. 2 It is indeed dismaying that a Gallup research shows 70 per cent of working Americans receive no praise or recognition on the job. 3

Another way to build a culture of appreciation in the workplace is to create physical spaces in the office where co-workers can express their appreciation and thanks for one another, and even to their bosses. Such spaces are called ‘Kindness’ or ‘Thank You’ Corners.

By exercising kindness and recognising others’ acts of kindness, a growing cycle of kindness and graciousness can be fostered, which can then boost staff morale and positivity. For example, you could put up a note to thank a colleague for making you a cup of coffee, or another colleague who went out of their way to help you. These small good deeds, if not gone unnoticed, add up and make people happier to work together. It has been found that doing a kind act not only bestows a sense of satisfaction on the receiver, but also the one who performs the act, and all those who witnessed it.

Lastly, remembering and celebrating special days can also help foster camaraderie amongst co-workers. At SKM, we have a team of 20 and each one is an important part of the Kindness family. We organise monthly birthday celebrations and write birthday cards as a way of letting each team member know we care and appreciate them as individuals. In the same way, we multiply our joys and divide our sorrows. We believe that when we enjoy working together and have fun achieving our collective passion, we achieve a sense of well-being and become more productive. We look forward to work because we enjoy both the work and the people we work with.

Appreciation begets appreciation. Kindness begets kindness. Let it start with us.

1 Cornerstone, 2017, Survey Reveals Americans Don’t Feel Valued in the Workplace – and Employers are Overlooking Simple Solutions. Cornerstone OnDemand Employee Attitude Survey highlights risks organizations face in losing employees as economy improves and reveals how simple gestures can improve morale and retention,

2 Smith MW, 6 August 2014, Workplace Appreciation Can Be Pretty Simple – and Effective, TLNT,

3 Forbes, 13 September 2007, Why Is It So Hard To Say ‘Well Done’?,


Dr William Wan is a Justice of the Peace and General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM). He was a senior partner of a regional law firm and a managing director of a psychometric company headquartered in the USA.


Copyright © 2018 Singapore Institute of Management

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Today's Manager Issue 1, 2018

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