Author Archives: Liz King

5 Examples of Workplace Gratitude in Action

workplace gratitude in action - first day on the job!

This is what workplace gratitude looks like! LSUchick142 posted this photo to Flickr after her first day at a new job. (Creative Commons)

What does workplace gratitude in action look like?

Beyond the data, the research studies and advice from experts, what are companies actually doing right now to successfully show appreciation and build gratitude among employees?

We regularly scout out and highlight the best current examples of forward-thinking or compassionate workplace gratitude (see previous posts here and here).

This time around we discovered more mini-case studies of employers building gratitude, whether they’re doing it with a special one-off celebration or through years of dedication to build a vibrant workplace culture.

5 Mini-Case Studies of Workplace Gratitude

If your company’s employee appreciation program is feeling stale, read on for inspiration and ideas to rejuvenate it!

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International Day of Happiness in the Workplace!

International Day of Happiness Poster

Share Your Happiness at #InternationalDayofHappiness!

International Day of Happiness is coming up this Friday, March 20. It’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your employees and coworkers and spread happiness in your workplace.

The history of International Day of Happiness goes back just a few years, originating in a United Nations resolution adopted in 2011 that recognizes happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and calls for a “more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”

In 2012, the UN created the holiday — to be held every year on March 20 — at a conference called “Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” The first official International Day of Happiness took place the following year.

Now, celebrations are coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations that includes The Huffington Post, Just Giving, Project Happiness, Mental Health Foundation, Columbia University and GNH Centre Bhutan.

International Day of Happiness in the Workplace

Workplace happiness is crucial to employee longevity, company productivity and effective customer service, yet as a 2010 Gallup study revealed, just three in 10 employees are fully engaged and happy in their jobs.

Pursuing workplace happiness as a singular goal is problematic, but as we’ve discussed here before at Celebrating Work, there are steps companies can take to build happiness among employees. (Read more: 4 Simple Ways to Improve Workplace Happiness and Secrets to Building a Happier Workplace)

Whether your company has actively been working on happiness-related goals for a while, or you’re just starting out, International Day of Happiness is the time to step back and honor where you are right now.

Worry about engagement statistics and study results later.

On Friday, celebrate what’s working for you and your coworkers here and now. Share your gratitude for each other! After all, as the International Day of Happiness website points out, “your happiness is part of something bigger.”

Resources to Help You Celebrate

That International Day of Happiness website, by the way, is an excellent resource for anyone looking to organize a workplace happiness celebration this Friday. It offers a downloadable pack of info and inspiration, ideas for taking action and a series of great posters you can print off and post around your workplace.

Even more resources are available at the Action for Happiness website. Here you’ll find links to in-depth happiness research and related news stories, information on upcoming seminars and ideas for participating online in International Day of Happiness.

Keep up-to-date with what others around the world are doing to celebrate International Day of Happiness on Twitter and Facebook. Encourage employees to share photos and words online about what’s making them happy today — it could be a fellow coworker, an interaction they had with a customer or simply feeling awesome after finishing a good project.

Mark Williamson, director of Action for Happiness, reflected in a Huffington Post article last year:

“It’s really inspiring to see so many people sharing photos of what really makes them happy. In a world where we’re bombarded with fake images of happiness in the adverts and the media, these more authentic pictures remind us that the best things in life aren’t material things. Above all it’s clear that our relationships and the natural world are big contributors to our happiness.”

It’s true: our relationships are big contributors to our happiness — maybe the biggest! So, on this International Day of Happiness, celebrate the relationships that make you happy at work.

For a comprehensive guide to growing a sustained workplace culture of respect, trust and appreciation, download our FREE eBook: Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude.

Download your FREE eBook "Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude"


About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC ( is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at or 888-484-1658.
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Why Workplace Trust Needs To Be Sustainable

workplace trust must be sustainable

Build workplace trust to last. (Image adapted from OpenSourceWay and Kishore Nagarigari, Flickr)

Last month, Inc. published a collection of 30 quotes to inspire workplace trust.

The list of quotes, compiled by Lead From Within president and CEO Lolly Daskal, quickly gets across a core truth about trust: it is a volatile emotion.

Trust is easily won, and just as easily broken. If neglected, trust can sour to mistrust or, even worse, fear.

We live in increasingly mistrustful times. A 2014 Pew Research study found that just 19 percent of Millennials say most people can be trusted, compared with 31 percent of Gen Xers and 40 percent of Baby Boomers.

This is good and bad news for building workplace trust. Your younger employees may not be as quick to trust as their older peers — so you’ll have to work harder to earn their trust — but the Pew study also found they’re more optimistic.

It’s important now more than ever to build sustainable workplace trust. Since trust is so volatile, employers who want trusting employees will need to mindfully and purposefully build a culture of trust every day.

Read on for tips for building sustainable workplace trust, and to find out the common way many managers undercut employee trust without even knowing it.

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Why Workplace Optimism Builds Success

workplace optimism breeds engaged, dedicated workers

Optimistic employees are motivated, engaged and dedicated. (Photo via NYC DOT, Flickr)

Optimists get a bad rap, but the glass really is half full on the path to business success.

A growing body of research proves that workplace optimism develops happier, more dedicated, more engaged employees and acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy for success.

Optimism is linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease, better self-regulation and faster recovery from stress and an “energetic, task-focused approach” to goals.

But how does increasing workplace optimism build business success? Like all improvements to workplace culture, it requires dedication from leaders, consistent communication across the organization and positive reinforcement within the workforce.

Read on to find out why optimistic employees are happier and work harder (even in adverse circumstances), how pessimists self-sabotage, and why workplace optimism is a genesis for other positive workplace traits.

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Rethinking Employee Engagement

employee engagement makes for a happy workplaceEmployee engagement—which studies show is a critical success factor for businesses—is evolving as demographics, societal priorities, and technologies change. So does the word still fit today’s businesses or have we moved beyond engagement to something more?

Is Employee Engagement Passe?

In a Forbes article, “It’s Time To Rethink The ‘Employee Engagement’ Issue,” Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloittecites his firm’s 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research, which shows 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement urgent or important.

“When I talk with HR leaders they talk consistently about retention issues, they carefully watch their Glassdoor ratings, and businesses all over the world are trying to build an inclusive, passionate, multi-generational team,” he writes. “In fact, I believe the issue of ‘engaging people well’ is becoming one of the biggest competitive differentiators in business.”

He suggests using the word engagement limits our thinking.

“It assumes that our job is to reach out and engage people, rather than to build an organization that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful, and fun.”

Bersin posits potential changes:

“We may need to change the way we manage people (end appraisals?), change the work environment (open offices? nap rooms? ping-pong tables?), and change who we hire (are we hiring the right people for our mission, culture and values? Are we assessing well?). All these things tend to go well beyond the typical engagement survey.

Financial institutions today tell us that they are having a harder time recruiting people because they are no longer “cool” places to work. This isn’t a traditional problem of engagement, it’s one of identity, mission, and culture.”

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Why Alaska Is A Model For Workplace Wellness

Alaska - a model for workplace wellness

Alaskans ranked first in the country for overall happiness and well-being, making the state a model for workplace wellness. (Photo via NOAA Photo Library, Flickr)

Inspiration for excellent workplace wellness typically comes from successful companies or HR experts. But what if we could learn best practices for workplace wellness from a whole state?

The Last Frontier state is our source of that inspiration this year.

Alaska ranked at the top for overall well-being and happiness in the comprehensive 2014 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The annual survey polls more than 176,000 people across the country.

The Well-Being Index measures five aspects of our lives:

  1. Purpose: liking what you do each day, being motivated to achieve goals
  2. Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  3. Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  4. Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, having pride in your community
  5. Physical: having good health and enough energy for daily life

Alaska leads the country almost every category, reaching the top spot overall for the first time since Gallup-Healthways began tracking well-being in 2008. Hawaii and South Dakota round out the top three for 2014.

Where does your state rank? Read the full analysis of survey results.

City and state rankings are common fodder for Internet listicles — and often based on shaky data — but the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is one worth noting. Not only the research comprehensive and deep, the results appear to correlate with other markers of success.

“Well-being surveys aren’t just for bragging rights,” writes Washington Post staffer Reid Wilson, in his GovBeat post, “Best State in America: Alaska, Where Well-Being Is Highest.”

“Previous surveys have found that better scores are related to positive outcomes such as lower workplace absenteeism rates, better performance at work, lower obesity rates, and lower rates of teen pregnancy and crime,” Reid writes.

Read on to find out why Alaskans are so happy — and why their state is a model for workplace wellness.

The 6 Markers of Alaskan Well-Being (And Workplace Wellness)

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Secrets To Building A Happier Workplace

the secrets to workplace happiness

“Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct.” —Eleanor Roosevelt (Image via Marcie Casas, Flickr)

Workplace happiness is in the spotlight now as Japanese tech company Hitachi recently announced its latest product, a wearable “mood monitor” for employees.

The device looks like an ID badge but contains “an acceleration monitor to measure the wearer’s motions throughout the day in real-time, based on the concept that an employee’s physical movements indicate or influence mood,” according to Carolyn Cox of The Mary Sue.

“When the devices are worn by an entire office,” Cox writes, “workplace happiness is measured on a scale of 1-100.”

Each monitor collects individual data 50 times per second, then sends it to Hitachi’s cloud-based servers where it is taken together to “interpret the group’s overall mood,” according to The Wall Street Journal’s Japan Real Time blog.

Using this data, employers can pinpoint problem areas. One test company used the Hitachi data to restructure break time and reported significantly increased employee satisfaction as a result, according to Japanese news site RocketNews24.

The reaction to Hitachi’s product announcement has been mixed. Even though Big Data is already prevalent in and out of the workplace, a “mood monitor” may go a step further and could raise privacy concerns.

It’s also a pricey way to gauge workplace happiness, at least for now. Each individual monitor has an annual subscription fee of $843.

But the Hitachi device brings up an important discussion about workplace happiness and how to achieve it.

Read on to find out why building workplace happiness is easier than you think, with or without Big Data’s help.

Why Workplace Happiness Isn’t Your Real Goal

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7 Ideas For Surviving The Winter Workplace Blahs

surviving winter workplace blahs

Don’t let the winter workplace blahs turn your organization upside down! (Image via purits, Flickr)

It’s cold, it’s cloudy and the sparkle of the holidays is long gone. How can you help your employees beat the winter workplace blahs?

Up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from mild symptoms associated with the winter blues, according to Duke Today writer April Dudash. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a more intense version of depression that occurs during the winter months. About 11 million Americans suffer from SAD.

Even a mild case of the “blahs” can wreck havoc in a workplace. Employees drag in late feeling glum, disengaged and low on energy.

Emotions are contagious (and can even be passed on via smell!), so one person’s winter blahs can quickly become everyone’s blahs. When that happens, productivity, customer relations and employee health suffer.

Self-care is especially important for company leaders during this time, since their behavior, mood and energy levels set the tone for the organization as a whole.

Escape is our natural impulse when the blahs hit — maybe to a daydream about a tropical beach! — but in fact, engaging with our emotions, our work and each other is the better way to keep the blahs at bay. Engaging keeps a workplace resilient!

Help your organization be resilient to the winter workplace blahs by incorporating the following ideas into your employee wellness program.

7 Ideas For Surviving The Winter Workplace Blahs

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The 3 Myths of Workplace Kindness Debunked

workplace kindness can be a simple as a smile

A culture of workplace kindness makes for kinder employees and happier customers. (Photo via Hans Peter Meyer, Flickr)

Are myths about workplace kindness holding back your organization?

Workplace kindness has a history of being shortchanged. We’re taught the benefits of being kind to family, to friends and in the community, but not on the job.

Traditionally the workplace has been idealized as a place of ruthless competition, independence and closely guarded emotions.

This is changing, as research reveals the profound benefits of kindness in all aspects of our lives, including business.

JoAnn C. Jones, a longtime nurse, tells the magazine Guideposts of a lesson she learned about kindness in her second year of nursing school. Her professor had given the class a quiz, and the last question on the quiz was, “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Jones thought it was a joke question.

I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Kindness can be as simple as noticing other people. Still, fear of the supposed pitfalls of kindness keeps many people from fully engaging with it.

This week here at gThankYou’s Celebrating Work blog, we’re taking a closer look at workplace kindness in honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week 2015, which runs through this Sunday, Feb. 15. So far we’ve covered the good business sense of workplace kindness and how to cultivate a pay-it-forward workplace culture.

Now let’s debunk the myths that hold back too many of us from being kinder to our coworkers and employees.
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#RAKWeek2015: Spark a Pay-It-Forward Workplace Culture!

Pay-it-Forward with Random Acts of Kindness Week - #RAKW2015

Pay-it-forward during Random Acts of Kindness Week. (Photo via D. Sharon Pruitt, Flickr)

Random Acts of Kindness Week is here! Last week we looked at how random acts of kindness make good business sense. This week, we’ll be digging into the practical application of kindness in the workplace.

All week, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is urging everyone to flood social media with kindness using the hashtag #RAKWeek2015.

You could share an uplifting news story, an inspiring quote, a photo that captures the spirit of kindness or an anecdote of a kindness you received. The foundation will be tracking social media streams for the #RAKWeek2015 hashtag and has a goal of 100,000 #RAKWeek2015 incidents of kindness by Feb. 15.

What motivates us to be kind? Love, sympathy, empathy, friendship and teamwork are all great reasons to be kind, but what about kindness sparked by a random or anonymous kind deed, with no expectation of payback?

We call this type of kindness “paying it forward”: when someone pays a kindness forward after being the recipient of one. It’s fascinating from a social psychology standpoint because paying it forward seems to operate outside our understanding of rational human behavior.

Read on to find out how pay-it-forward culture works, how it starts and why it belongs in your workplace.

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