• K T
  • Edison, NJ
  • United States

This conversation is closed.

Consider to create a program to encourage expression of gratitude among employees in large organizations

It is a proven fact that expressing gratitude meaningfully can do wonders in productivity as well as in emotional health.

Large organizations can easily achieve a higher level of gratitude, happiness and productivity among employees by creating a simple human resource development program that helps in developing habit of thanking.

Such a program can be easily rolled out using 1-2 hour training combined with a web+mobile based software that would help employees to thank in meaningful, thoughtful, playful, traditional, warm, yet contemporary and cool manner. Think "business casual thanking".

The software platform can remind, pop ideas to thank, share the gratitude and maintain a publicly view-able gratitude journal and many more things to make it interesting and inspiring to thank.

I am creating such a software platform and looking for what industry leaders think about it.

Thanks for all the feedback so far.
Please note I am not suggesting to replace face-to-face thanking or any other form of thanking. I am just trying to add one more way of thanking. Nothing to do with employer-employee relation. It s not to be combined with employee review. It is just a way to introduce some fun in the everyday life.
It will work on group psychology. You will see the uplifting of groups morale and emotional state.
I am not proposing this as a "have-to-do" thing for employees to please management. This is a tool to bring some fun with gratitude.

It is not automatically generated thanking. It is people thanking people through one more way.

I think I should create a video to clarify what I am proposing and what is possible.

  • thumb
    Sep 12 2013: I prefer to offer thanks in my own way. Routine, easy thanksgiving via technology may lose something in translation relative to informal, individual ways of doing this. Being thanked all the time because it is easy is probably not as gratifying as being thanked when the situation really calls to someone to thank you personally and in his own way.

    A standing ovation used to mean something. I was at a performance- maybe at my son's school- last year in which the director said in advance please not to feel like you have to give a standing ovation for any performance you attend. The habit makes the gesture kind of meaningless.

    I have worked in organizations involving lots of routine thanksgiving, even though employees were in important respects not respected or treated well. These routine sorts of thank yous do not feel the same to receive as the normal expressions of gratitude people offer who come to you and say thank you in their own way.

    This does not mean at all that you could not sell your software to a company to add to their operating routines. I expect they would want to consider how much time their employees would spend doing things with the software and how productivity in the workplace would be affected.
    • thumb
      Sep 12 2013: “This does not mean at all that you could not sell your software to a company to add to their operating routines. I expect they would want to consider how much time their employees would spend doing things with the software and how productivity in the workplace would be affected. ”

      Yes, fair enough.If the softwares help to ficilitate good interction that bring people good feeling in working in the company and increase their morale in productivity, the softwares can be a good tool to those companies and you can make a killing,too.
      • thumb
        Sep 12 2013: There would be some convincing to do. If employees believe the employer does not treat them well or pay them adequately, this sort of expenditure by the company may really anger people.
  • Sep 13 2013: I have worked in several organizations which had reward systems where a person can reward someone. It could be a co-worker or customer. Only the person, the person's mgmt and the one giving the reward mgmt know about the reward. The reward can be gift cards or money or gifts to charity.

    Mgmt can send out congrats with a total number of rewards for the team. Publishing who got rewards can lead to conflict, especially if the team feels the individual getting the reward did nothing but represented that they did.
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2013: Kanu, I have retired from three jobs ... Military, Aircraft Manufacturer, and state government. Each of these had a suggestion program and awards for specific acts or deeds. When the reward was a pen or a cup the participation was very low. When money was offered in small amounts participation picked up some. When a percentage of the savings was introduced everyone was looking for ideas. When a pen, cup, $10.00, or a free meal at Joes was offered "the man" was making the real profit. However, as a example: the reduction in spray painting new cars by 5 seconds would result in millions and your share would be big on a percentage bases. Someone figured out that taking off two olives in inflight salads would not harm the salad but would save 20 million a year. 10% of those ideas would benefit both the suggester and the company.

    Next. The only ones who care are your family and your close peers. You should be recognized in front of that group.

    Last. In the news as of late is the impersonal firing of people by e-mail, text, or even a phone call. Most companies are thought to not have either a heart or a sole. Receiving a computer generated thank you would prove that right.

    Dear employee # 1234 your idea # 6543 has been accepted. Your permanent
    record will reflect your contribution.


    Mr Smith, Your suggestion of reduction of olives in our inflight salads will result in
    major saving to the company. We invite you and your family to the corporate dinner
    1 April 2013 when we will express our appreciation in a check for $200,000.

    We appreciate your participation in the program and your contribution.

    I. M. Nice
    Chairman of the Board.

    Upon retiring from the state I got a letter ... computer generated and no signature. It came in the mail. There were three errors on the letter. I threw it away.

    Yea for human touch. I wish you well. Bob
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2013: I think something like gratitude would get lost in translation from a meaningful, warm human expression to what amounts to a cold, hollow prescriptive one.

    Gratitude is essentially a human trait, generated via the symbiosis of one consciousness interacting with another - or several others. That's what generates genuine warmth. It cannot be coldly digitised, programmed, or reduced to mathematical formulae, only to be somehow 're-warmed' up again for people to use as a prescribed procedure in organisations. The effect would be as superficial and annoying - even enraging for some people - as a forced smile or an insincere platitude.

    In my opinion, the problem lies with a profound disconnect between an organisation and its employees - a relationship no longer seen as mutually beneficial. If that symbiosis has all but vanished, then it is never going to be a place to express any kind of sincere gratitude. Therefore, creating programmes and manuals for gratitude will act only as a sticking-plaster (Band-Aid) for what is fundamentally a deeper psychological problem that exists within the corporate environment.
  • Sep 12 2013: How about a gratitude program for employers to show and bestow gratitude upon their workers by
    paying them enough money so that before they head off to their job, they can be grateful in the knowledge
    they can focus very well on doing their job because they know it is going to take care of them?
    I can not pay my bills with "employee of the month" stubs, pictures or documents, nor can I take care of other
    bills with gratitude for having them.
    Put that before industry leaders and find out what they think about it.
    They will laugh at it, most of them.
    Those who extoll the virtues of slavery never partake in being a slave.
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2013: Your idea sounds so interesting. I 've never thought of using a software to thank others. I think it's the natrual feeling from my heart. I feel easy to extend my gratitude because I want to, it's free in forms according to my style. Maybe using software is good for business situations if I want to show thankness by writing letters and I don't know how to do it with a proper structure.:)
    • thumb

      K T

      • +1
      Sep 12 2013: We thank in several ways. A conversation, a card, a phone call, email, electronic card etc. They do not replace each other. There is appropriate usage of each and there are "features" of each.

      How about thanking more visibly, so that you can share your thankfulness with several people? Can you do this without technology?
      Furthermore, how about using your own photos as cards ? Your photos can capture the moment and context more than words can. Even in personal use, one can find many occasions of thanking in various way.
      • thumb
        Sep 12 2013: Yes, that's good. But that's generally considered as new technology and softwares of enjoying our lives, not the software for showing thankness. And verbal thankness would be preferred more under some circumstances.
        • W T

          • +2
          Sep 12 2013: I think I agree with what you are saying.

          You feel that verbally thanking someone, where they can hear your voice, and see your facial expression is a more pleasant and kind way for you to show your gratitude in some circumstances, am I right?
      • thumb
        Sep 12 2013: And I think the good enterprise culture makes people be friendly to each other and show their gratitude to each other more frequently. Without any softwares, people still can feel good when giving or receiving gratitude.
  • thumb
    Sep 11 2013: not sure you'll find that many industry leaders on TED conversations, Kanu, you'll find a lot of smart, creative people, but industry leaders might not have the time or inclination to go on TED conversations.
  • thumb

    . .

    • 0
    Sep 12 2013: Hi Kanu!

    I have an idea for you; how about creating a daily "lunch and Learn" program, where you show
    all employees, employers and staff, TED Talks and have a follow up discussion about the just-watched Talk - in a group-meet room. Attendance & feed back are mandatory yet all-inclusive & fun.

    First Talk:
  • Sep 12 2013: The expression of gratitude among people not wise from any extra help but as well as people's heart.I am afraid the program wouldn't get what it expects to be.Keep thinking from our inner world,brain,heart...as long as we can do so,something you don't talk,it could be better than talk
  • thumb
    Sep 12 2013: To: Mary,(sorry, I didn't find the "reply" button in your chat box)

    my dear sister, yes, you're right.:)
    Thank you so much~!
    • W T

      • 0
      Sep 12 2013: ok Yoka, Thank you :)
  • thumb
    Sep 11 2013: Could this software platform be expanded to also cover those employees who happen to become former employees, because their company choose for the historico-cultural more established attitude towards meaningful gratitude in China?

    Forgive my sarcasm, but doesn't 'gratitude' need something to be thankful for? The fact, that any employee gets less in return than he/she is given to the employer - thats what creates the profit - doesn't seem to me to be a favorable environment for the growth of gratitude you describe here.

    'Wonders in productivity' are no wonders, they follow simple rules:

    - Produce the same using less people
    - Produce more with the same people
    - Use robots

    In physics, power is work per unit of time, of which, if allied on 'productivity', it becomes clear what this going to change for a given employee. And unless this employee isn't working in his/her very own 'flow', any target value in increasing efficiency is most likely to cause the opposite reaction to 'gratitude'.

    For non-profit organizations your concept may be useful, provided, the people working there do this by their free will and not out of monetary necessity ...
    • thumb

      K T

      • 0
      Sep 12 2013: If we start thinking like that that employer is making money on us, we can never be happy as employees. I don't think most people think on those lines.
      If we follow this line of thinking, even as service provider I would think my client is making money on me so why should I be thankful to him/her.
      The fact is employer/client provides us opportunity to grow, earn, learn and contribute.
      When people work together, the emotional aspects kicks in and virtues like gratitude (and courtesy, modesty) become the foundation for happy work environment.
      Here I am talking about a program that encourages gratitude. It is very much relevant to any organization (for profit or non-profit).

      "- Produce more with the same people "
      That's exactly where such a program would be positioned.

      Productivity increase by automation is entirely different domain. Here we are talking about people. Creating a good environment benefits organizations in a variety of ways, employee productivity being one of them.

      By creating a voluntary program that encourages employees express gratitude can help in creating good work environment and thus materialize several benefits associated with it.
      • W T

        • 0
        Sep 12 2013: Kanu, don't you think that after a while the gratitude software would be meaningless, and lack sincerity?
        That is the one drawback I see.
        • thumb

          Lejan .

          • +1
          Sep 12 2013: How could a honest 'thank you smiley' ever lack sincerity?


          That's an honest one ... :o)

          ... that too
      • thumb
        Sep 12 2013: I only draw from my experiences and from what I have seen from very comfortable positions.

        'If we start thinking like that ... we can never be happy as employees'

        In all of my professional career I have only seen a view employees who were happy in what they were doing. All others did it only for the money and lacking better alternatives. And as much as I hope that this my experience is extraordinary rare, I am afraid it isn't, as I get the same reports experienced by my friends.

        Don't get me wrong. I think gratitude is a beautiful trait we should celebrate as humans. But it should not be abused to leave people in situations they are obviously not happy with but to make them work even harder than before... just not complaining....

        Not long ago I stumbled across the concept of democratically run corporations, in which any employee also becomes a partner and has a democratically say in all decisions. I haven't found many examples yet, but those I found report high levels of contentedness among those working there.

        Gratitude will grow freely under conditions for it to flourish.

        The fact that it doesn't exist in those large organizations you targeted for your proposed program, may prove the consequences of my experiences. And yes, I worked for large organizations as well.