Gratitude: Arguably the single most important influence on your company culture

So many companies today talk about creating a great company culture. They may invest a lot of money or time on hosting company events, drafting up company handbooks or call centre training.

But it’s remarkably easy to overlook this simple point:

The greatness of the culture is determined by how everyone in the company feels and expresses gratitude.

Every Act Expresses the Level of Gratitude

Imagine having a meal at a restaurant. From your perspective as a guest, how any member of the service team expresses their gratitude for your turning up and choosing to dine there is critical. Are they grateful, expressing it with a ‘great to see you’ smile or are they indifferent (or worse still, annoyed because you turned up without a reservation)? That first moment already tells you something about the culture of this business. And this is just the start.

The presence of (or lack of) gratitude you experience goes far beyond what individual team members show in their behaviours. Does the chef express gratitude by putting absolute care into the food presentation and the way it is served? Does the cashier express gratitude with a genuine smile?

Over these numerous interactions and seemingly small experiences, you almost subconsciously determine the level and quality of your experience at a business and decide whether you will return or spread the word about this business or not.

Of course, it’s easy to see it in a restaurant. But what about in your business?

How to Grow Gratitude in Your Business

Let’s look first at what you CAN’T do……

You cannot just host a seminar teaching your staff how to be grateful and expect them to be grateful immediately. You definitely cannot just expect them to be grateful just because you are paying them.

The sense of gratitude is not something you can forcefully create. The reality is that the environment and ‘presence’ you create has a huge impact on what’s going on.

And you can make that easier by focusing on two fundamental factors before you work on building greater gratitude in your business environment effectively.

First, you hire right people. Secondly, you create a giving focus.

…if you don’t have these fundamentals, your effort towards creating a real sense of gratitude in your team will not be fruitful.

Let’s look into this a little further.

Hiring the Right People

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Write clear job descriptions, set high-level expectations for the candidates’ qualifications, previous experiences and skill-sets, and hire accordingly… With this approach, you will likely hire people who can get the jobs done.

Criteria 1: CAPABILITIES – you hire people who are suited to the specific jobs.

Now, what about hiring people who add to the culture of gratitude? To do this, we need to add one more point to the criteria.

Criteria 2: ATTITUDE – you hire people who fit well with your team and believe in the company mission and values.

Many businesses make hiring decisions mostly based on the first point. They try to fill a role with someone who is capable to perform the work. And the employees who get the expected results in the shortest time may be rewarded more than others in the career path too. But if the attitude side is missing, this employee might even contribute towards creating a toxic culture over time.

Some businesses hire people based on the attitude of individuals. They believe that by having the right guidance and training, everyone can grow to perform in the job even if they don’t have the skills required right now. It can be true at times. But it can also create unnecessary stress for everyone when people who are trying hard to perform are fundamentally not suited for the job.

In contrast, when you hire people who are both capable AND well-suited to the company culture, it becomes much easier for you to create a great company culture AND create great results at the same time, making the work far more meaningful for everyone in the team.

Creating a Giving Focus

Having a good team makes all the difference. But how do we ensure that people in your business are actually feeling grateful…?

Even if you know that having gratitude makes you happier, it might not be always easy to feel grateful, especially when things are not going so well. But regardless of the situation, one way to intentionally create a sense of gratitude is through giving.

You create an environment where everyone in your business is encouraged to make extra effort to give more value to the customers, to serve more and to express their gratitude in genuine ways. In this environment, being grateful becomes very natural. You naturally attract more ‘givers’. Everyone in the team tries to do more than expected and help others in the team too.

In contrast, imagine being part of a team that has a getting focus, being surrounded by people who always just want to get more for themselves and being ungrateful no matter what they have.

Giving does make you feel more grateful and fulfilled. And you only need to give what you can give. You don’t need to make a huge sacrifice to give. Just give a smile. Give an acknowledgement. Give support…and give to a good cause… And surprisingly, it costs very little to do this.

Every small act of giving counts in transforming the organisation culture. And most importantly, the expression of the gratitude starts with you.

I hope you enjoy this season of gratitude even more this year.


If you want to do more to create positive impact…

You can learn more about the art of making improvements in Masami’s latest book “GIVING BUSINESS: Creating The Maximum Impact in the Meaning-Driven World”.

You can also download the free e-book to find out how you can maximize the impact of your life and business from here.

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