Gratitude at Work – Focusing Outward to Foster Stronger Connections

Last time, we discussed opportunities for weaving intentional gratitude into our professional environments, and we looked at the possibility of adding gratitude to your formal organizational values, encouraging gratitude as a daily practice, and making that gratitude easily and abundantly visible to the people who make up your company.


Gratitude at Work – Tapping into The Power of Appreciation in Your Organization

Today we’re going to focus on ways you can incorporate gratitude into your external-facing spaces. Prospective new employees are checking out your culture, as much as can be seen from outside your organization anyway. To attract top talent, make it easy for them to get a sense of who you are and what matters from a culture perspective.  Also, helping your current and future customers and vendors see that gratitude is important to your company can help build stronger relationships, leading to more positive outcomes with them, too.  Here are two ideas for making gratitude part of your external-facing landscape.

Recommendation #4: Make intentional gratitude visible externally. Leaning into the intentional practice of gratitude can help your organization differentiate and amplify your company culture as a way to attract top talent. When I’ve worked with companies both in my research and as a consultant, employees frequently share that they appreciate working for an organization where gratitude is already seen being practiced by senior leadership and colleagues. And it doesn’t take long to find complaints on sites like GlassDoor, from everyone from job applicants to long-time employees to former staff when appreciation is simply not there. Even if this is a new addition to your organization’s strategic cultural initiatives, emphasizing your efforts can help reframe your company in a more positive light, no matter where you are starting in that journey.

Leadership may want to consider adding a section to the company website focused on the commitment to gratitude as an organizational driver, to enhance the company’s existing mission and vision statements.  Regular blog entries or social media content showcasing recent gratitude messages are also excellent ways to showcase how gratitude is interwoven into your culture. These could be employee testimonials, press releases announcing quarterly gratitude award winners, or simply sentiments shared by your employees that continuously reinforce how gratitude is expressed. One client I worked with had video screens in customer waiting lounges, and they streamed comments like “Sumetra D says, “Thanks to my team for covering my shift while I was out taking care of my mom. It really makes me feel like I matter!” What a great way to elevate that message!

Recommendation #5: Encourage clients to engage in intentional gratitude. Studies show a positive impact from receiving expressions of gratitude from customers and clients, including an increase in both job satisfaction on confidence not only in that assignment but when considering upcoming or potential assignments. Account managers and client-facing employees may want to consider encouraging active gratitude as part of the regular interactions with clients, and certainly as part of any final project documentation. Again, consider including these appreciative comments as part of your portfolio of testimonials to further enhance your brand image to current and prospective clients.

As we’ve mentioned previously, gratitude is simply not a common practice in most workplaces, so for your employees and your clients to feel comfortable expressing and receiving appreciation, intentional, strategic opportunities for gratitude to be part of the conversation are important for employees and clients alike to experience the benefits.

Encourage or even incentivize positive feedback from your clients.  We all know people don’t hesitate to complain – so encourage them to tell you when things are going WELL, too. For example, a hotel chain we used to frequent made it known that they actually gave a cash bonus to staff when they received a positive comment that identified that person by name. Given what we know about gratitude in the workplace, expressing gratitude intentionally may not be a routine part of the professional experience for your clients or vendors, either, so make it easy for them, and they’re more likely to share their positive feedback with you.   Talk about a win-win!


There is no indication that one form of gratitude is superior to another. Individuals have different communication and learning styles, and cultural and generational differences may make one style more comfortable than the other. Further, individual preferences as to which form of gratitude is more beneficial for them may change depending on the circumstances in which the individual finds themselves, the mood they are in, and so on. Fundamentally, I believe (and the research so far backs me up) that any gratitude practice is better than none, as long as we’re doing so in authentic, meaningful ways.

Are you interested in making gratitude part of your organization’s cultural landscape? I’d love to hear about what you’re doing currently, or the challenges and barriers you’ve faced trying to build more gratefulness into your working hours. And sincerely, thank you for taking the time to consider gratitude as an intentional professional practice. Even normalizing the possibility helps bring this topic into more people’s awareness, and I am deeply grateful for your contribution to changing the professional paradigm.


Sarah Ratekin
Sarah Ratekin
Sarah Ratekin, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness Is Courage Inc., translates the science of happiness and well-being into actionable plans that get radically positive results. An enthusiastic positivity activist, speaker, author, and researcher, she believes we can change the world for the better by being positive, grateful, and kind, and she’s often quoted as saying “Happiness is a gauge, not a goal”. Her current focus is on helping organizations and teams navigate the particularly complex reality of today’s stressors and engagement challenges by nurturing healthier workplace cultures. No stranger to weird working environments, she believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop their strengths, find joy in their profession, and engage in the pursuit of happiness in the workplace and beyond. Sarah has a veritable army of garden gnomes keeping watch over her extensive container gardens and is the proud mother of four amazing humans who are making their positive own marks on the world. She and her spouse Kris, both certified Laughter Yoga leaders, also travel extensively bringing the joy and power of laughter and positivity with organizations of all sizes and industries. In their downtime, they enjoy exploring the outdoors (usually by kayak), dancing, and general merry adventuring. Sarah and her family currently reside in Indiana and travel as often as humanly possible.

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  1. Awesome article, Sarah, and so ripe with synchronicity in my own activity. Being in pre-launch we’ve been painstakingly crafting a corporate style guide for Live and Let Live, 20+ pages of organizational culture, voice, tone and presentation. We’ve had the opportunity to listen to many voices and respond with considerations for building the community our early sampling of around 800 members have requested and more, we hope. The joy is in having the opportunity to co-direct the best experiment I could ever imagine, and have my love be the inspiration that started this wonderful journey.