Are you confident that your staff feels appreciated? Have negativity and all of life’s stressors invaded your workplace? Whether it is related to work or personal challenges, we are all carrying around stress, feeling the burden, and it is undoubtedly impacting your workplace. According to the annual Stress in America survey by the American Psychological Association, many adults say that money and work are a significant source of stress in their lives. Cultivating a life of gratitude has been shown to help provide stress relief and build resilience. While there is no way for you to solve all the woes in the world, one thing you can do to make a positive impact is to create a culture of gratitude; here is how.

Focus on Accomplishments of All Sizes

The first step in creating a culture of gratitude is recognizing that everyone wants to feel appreciated, whether they vocalize it or not. In instances of grand results or exceptional performance it is easy to recognize the superstars, but what about the people behind the scenes that helped? Rarely will you find a case where even the biggest of achievements were completed alone; it takes everyone playing big and small roles to get the job done. Make sure that people on your team are fairly acknowledging those good-ol’-reliable workers, the ones that modestly go about their work with consistency and confidence, and the ones that lend a helping hand when appropriate. While their work may not have been done with major fanfare, it is no less worthy of acknowledgement than those big wins. Creating a culture of gratitude requires you recognize accomplishments and jobs-well-done of all sizes.

Genuine and Specific Appreciation Matters

While a flippant ‘thank you’ or ‘atta-boy’ may be helpful, it is not nearly as effective as a genuine and specific show of appreciation. Make it a common practice to observe how others do their work, what their challenges are, and how their work impacts the whole. When providing feedback, make it a point to explain in appropriate detail what it was that stood out to you and why. Take for example: systems go out unexpectedly and you notice a team member is staying busy by catching up on some filing. Instead of saying “good job staying productive,” try, “I just wanted to let you know that I noticed that when the systems went down you were able to stay productive by getting the team caught up on filing. I appreciate you stepping up and showing the team how to stay busy when systems go down. That is leading by example, and how we keep our business running smoothly.” Just adding a few specifics helps to send the message that you truly noticed and are being genuine in your praise. That high-quality level of acknowledgement will also likely encourage the team member to continue those positive behaviors.

Spread Gratitude Around Freely

We all have habits; some good, some not so much. Imagine a workplace where expressing gratitude was a habit, versus merely something done out of obligation. Make it a point to go out of your way daily to express gratitude to someone you work with. It may feel forced at first, but before you know it, showing appreciation will be just as routine as checking your email. While some may try to build a case of ‘too much of a good thing,’ you would be hard-pressed to see ‘too much’ genuine recognition of good work be anything but an exceptional morale boost.

Get Creative

There are more ways to show appreciation in the workplace than we can list here, plus getting creative with the presentation is half the fun. The bottomline is that you don’t have to have a formal conversation with each and every thank you. In fact, the more informal ones are likely going to have the greatest impact. Whether you leave a simple post-it note on someone’s computer, send a well-timed email after overcoming an obstacle, plaster the office with a giant birthday banner, or drop off their favorite sweet treat with a little note – it will all be well-received and brighten someone’s day. Also be sure to get your team involved by providing opportunities for them to show appreciation to their peers both publicly and privately. The possibilities are endless, but providing positive feedback should be the highlight of your day, so enjoy it.

Creating a culture of gratitude will pay dividends to your organization. You will quickly notice a lighter feeling in the air, more creative problem solving, increased teamwork and collaboration, and improved results – all because people who feel appreciated always do more than expected. So go on, who are you going to thank first?