By Roselyn Himann, VP Toombs Inc.
Supporting companies and their employees through times of transition is what we do best at Toombs Inc. In the past couple of years, we have gone through dramatic changes ourselves and a particularly powerful tool has helped us get through and thrive as a team – gratitude.
On a typical day, pre-pandemic, our Edmonton, and Calgary offices were teeming with people. Offices full of career coaches supporting clients for in-person sessions. Meeting rooms regularly booked for workshops on LinkedIn, Personal Brand, Resume, Interview support and more. The coffee pot was always on, dishwasher running and door chime dinging.
As a company, Toombs has become more innovative, creative, and dynamic to meet our customers’ needs. We are still remarkably busy, but the offices have a vastly different feel. Meetings and workshops are mostly online, and hybrid work schedules keep our office space on the quieter side. When we do create the opportunity to be together in-person, the hubbub is electric and there is so much to say and share.
As the Calgary Manager for the past few years, I have done everything I can to keep our team motivated, connected and feeling appreciated despite social distance. Gratitude has played an especially vital role in this.
After years of research and analysis, the Harvard Business Review declares –
“The research is clear: Gratitude is good for you.
It improves wellbeing, reduces stress, and builds resilience.”
Gratitude is highly beneficial at an organizational level as well. As shared by Forbes –
“In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, researchers found that 93% of employees “who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88 percent reported feeling engaged.” Among that group, only 21% plan to look for a new job in the coming year.”
Here are some key ways as leaders that we can invite gratitude into the corporate culture in a way that builds team connectivity and boosts morale.
- Acknowledging that gratitude can be difficult to connect to on-demand means a manager should never demand it. Invite the sharing of points of gratitude without pressure or expectation to participate. Gratitude can be modeled but never enforced. Simply by starting weekly staff meetings with my own gratitude, I invite and encourage my team to look within their week and find something they are grateful for.
- Keeping gratitude casual and unstructured is key to having it received genuinely. Corporate cultures have a long history of systematic appreciation (e.g., yearly reviews, anniversary gifts) and those systems work because they are replicable and scheduled. To create a lasting culture of gratitude, however, we need to infuse random appreciation and gratitude into any daily work moments. For example, appreciation shown for tasks completed, thank you emails that acknowledge a job well done, team-wide shoutouts that are random and heart-felt.
- In times of challenge, struggle or even goals not met, look for the learning and be grateful for it before starting to problem-solve or put fires out. Acknowledging your team for learning from mistakes is a powerful resilience and trust builder.
- Appreciating your team for time spent together, rather than just for tasks accurately completed, sends a powerful message. It tells your team that you are grateful for them as people, not just as employees. Creating moments where you spend time together as people is one of the most instrumental ways to build lasting connectivity and team resilience.
From a personal standpoint, having a habit of gratitude for even a few small things never fails to lift my energy and boost my spirits. Sometimes it is the weather, or a delicious cup of tea, or even the sight of a cute dog on the street. Pausing the busy activity of life to take in and acknowledge the small gifts is always a worthwhile endeavor.
Whether you are a big team or a small and mighty one, try being authentic and sincere in the gratitude you share with your colleagues and watch the cohesion build.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments on how to build resilience and connection with your teams using gratitude as a tool.