Tips for expressing appreciation from a former monk
What does it mean to have a mindful culture in the workplace? It can mean many things, but the central component is that employees feel like they’re respected, cared for and that their opinion is valued. A paycheck is good, but it’s not always enough. Here are some key aspects to cultivate and develop a positive workplace environment where employees feel secure and want to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Appreciation and Recognition
Everyone wants to be appreciated and recognized for the work they have put in. There is nothing more discouraging than putting your heart and soul into a project and the managers or supervisors don’t appreciate the efforts that were undertaken. This approach is not going to be sustainable because it will make workers want to jump ship and look for other opportunities where they are made to feel like their hard work matters.
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Even outside of the work environment, nobody would want to stay in a relationship where they’re not properly appreciated and encouraged by their partner for the big and little things that are being done. So, if we hope to have a loyal employee base and improve retention, we will need to make sure that we are sufficiently and on a consistent basis appreciating the endeavors of the workforce and encouraging colleagues to celebrate each other’s success and not feel threatened by it.
According to the Huffington Post, employees that are appreciated work harder and don’t develop a wandering eye.
There’re many ways to express appreciation to our workforce and it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Simple things such as:
- Verbal or handwritten thank you note: Be specific in your appreciation. This lets them understand that you took notice about their specific contribution.
- Lunch: everyone likes a free lunch and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to express gratitude.
- Time off: Giving someone a half or full day off can be much appreciated by the employee, allowing them extra time to spend with family and friends.
- Monetary compensation: Who wouldn’t love a little extra cast for a job well done?
- Recognition in a company newsletter: This of course would require a significant contribution by the employee, but is sure to make one’s day when their accomplishments are made publicly known.
Celebrating the Success of Colleagues
When a workplace becomes highly competitive, everyone becomes so focused on their own goals and achievements that it becomes increasingly difficult to appreciate the contributions being made by their colleagues and coworkers. It’s vital to create a mindful workplace culture where employees are encouraged to appreciate the contributions and positive qualities of each other.
When this happens, there will naturally be higher levels of trust between team members and teams and this will facilitate collaboration between individuals because no one is feeling threatened by someone else’s success.
Helping Our Colleagues Succeed
With the “every man for himself” corporate culture that exists in many organizations, no one is going to want to help anyone else succeed and ultimately, this will stifle the growth of the individuals and the larger organization. We don’t want a workplace culture where an individual sits by while his or her colleague fails. People want to work in an environment where they’re not having to look over their shoulder and fear backstabbing. Rather, a workforce will thrive when they can trust one another and know that their co-workers have their back.
Leading by Example
Those in leadership positions have to lead by example and walk the talk if they hope to transform the culture in their workplace. This essentially means consistently appreciating the contributions made by their workforce. This will serve as a motivating tool for colleagues to do the same with one another. We can’t ask others to do something that we ourselves aren’t doing. We can’t expect others to recognize each other’s contributions if we are not leading the charge. If we do, we will lose all credibility fast and this will diminish the mood and inspiration for the rest of the workforce. Most people have grown tired of witnessing leaders say one thing and then do another.
Mindfulness in the Workplace
Mindfulness can provide tremendous benefits for our mental health. Being mindful of our mental health can be one of the most important ways to provide self-care and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Mindfulness isn’t limited to sitting down, closing your eyes and meditating. It includes how we react and respond to people we don’t get along with and how we handle stressful and conflicting situations.
A steady mindfulness practice not only helps us lower our stress levels but also decreases our tendency to react in delicate situations. A simple practice of taking a few deep breaths throughout the day before a potentially challenging meeting can help clear the clutter of the mind and calm our emotions so we are more prepared to deal with whatever is going to come next. A simple three-minute routine one can follow is:
- Take 10 deep breaths filling your lungs completely and exhaling.
- Feel grateful for something that’s currently happening in your life and something that happened in the past.
- Appreciate one colleague that you have a positive relationship with and one you have a challenging relationship with. This is a great way to shift our mindset towards people we don’t get along with so well.
Changing culture is not something that’s going to happen overnight and it’s not going to be easy. There will be much resistance along the way. It will require determination on the part of leadership and the buy-in from the rest of the team. However, if we want our organization to thrive and have longevity, creating a mindful and positive workplace culture will need to become an essential part of the journey.
Pandit Dasa is a keynote speaker, former monk and author of the book, “Mindfulness for the Wandering Mind: Life-Changing Tools for Managing Stress and Improving Mental Health at Work and in Life.”