Around this time of year, we start hearing a lot about gratitude. But shouldn’t gratitude in business (and every area of life) not be limited to the holidays? Shouldn’t it be a practice that takes place 365 days per year? I’ve learned that it should - and it starts at the top. Some of the best leadership advice I can give is to develop client and employee recognition programs that infuse gratitude into your team’s daily operations. Here’s why, and how we’ve successfully implemented such a system here at StringCan.
The Benefits of Gratitude in Business
A quick Google search (and your social media feed this time of year) will reveal that there are numerous proven benefits of being thankful and expressing that thanks. Bea Wray, Vistage speaker, author, and innovation expert, captured the essence of having such a mindset when she said, “I bet you can already feel your energy raised just thinking about gratitude.”
It’s true - gratitude elevates your mood, often boosting everything from productivity and sales to retention and recruitment. It also drives a culture that’s centered on others. Instead of having employees who naturally think about themselves, their to-do lists and their own upward progress, making gratitude a focal point cultivates a team that is constantly looking to recognize and applaud others. The overall shift is from self to others, from potentially negative to consistently positive. It might take time to feel it, but it’ll happen.
StringCan Bucks, Digital Recognition & Awards
About eight years ago, I spoke with some agency owners in my Agency Management Institute peer group about how they recognize and reward employees. I heard many cool ideas, but I wanted to create a program that felt personalized to each team member but was also scalable. I discovered a way to honor my team freely and often, while also giving them the chance to individually choose the gift or perk that mattered most to them. The system we developed was called StringCan Bucks, and it’s still going strong many years later. Below is an example how the StringCan Bucks were shared before we evolved it.
We created our own currency and gave each employee $100 StringCan Bucks to start. Their only task was to use however much of the cash they wanted to give appreciation to another team member. Recipients of the StringCan Bucks keep accumulating what they’ve been given until they want to cash them in and, every month, each employee is given $100 more Bucks in a separate account to use at their discretion.