Liz Sheffield

Mental Health at Work: Appreciation and Well-Being

Recent findings indicate that an active culture of appreciation can improve mental health at work. According to research cited in Psychology Today, employees are more fulfilled when they receive recognition. In fact, 70 percent of the individuals surveyed said it’s impossible to assign a dollar value to genuine recognition.

The American Psychological Association (APA) reported similar results in its “2016 Work and Well-Being Survey.” “Workers who say their employer makes them feel valued are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and motivated to do their best,” according to the report. But the benefits go beyond general engagement, improving health and wellness outcomes: “Those who feel valued are also more likely to say they regularly participate in their employer’s wellness programs … and less likely to report chronic work stress or intent to leave the organization in the next year.”

When it comes to the impact appreciation can have on employees’ mental health at work, the benefits far outweigh the effort required. If your organization needs an infusion of appreciation, implementing a few simple practices can bring recognition and well-being to the forefront of your workplace culture. Here are five to consider.

Announce Gratitude Publicly

Make it a practice to kick off staff meetings in your workplace by honoring someone’s efforts. Public recognition is an inexpensive way to reap the benefits of incorporating gratitude into your company culture.

Not only will the honored person feel appreciated, but those who witness the recognition will feel uplifted, too — and potentially even motivated to improve their own performance.

Make It Easy to Say “Good Work”

Leaders, supervisors and other employers will be more likely to recognize each other for a job well done if they have user-friendly means at their disposal.

Put multiple communication channels in place where employees can applaud the good work they witness. Effective options include the company intranet or internal social media channels — or even a bulletin board where employees can pin thank you notecards.

Tailor Recognition Methods

Invite managers to start collecting “appreciation data” for every person on their team. How does each individual prefer to receive recognition? In public or in private? Through meaningful praise or material rewards?

With this data in hand, managers are better equipped to express their thanks in ways that are more likely to effectively improve their team members’ well-being.

Model Appreciation

Like most initiatives, creating a culture of appreciation must start at the top.

Remind leaders that when it comes to recognition and wellness, they are the company’s role models. Ask for their commitment to become active participants in and sponsors of your well-being and recognition initiatives.

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Spread It Through Education

Empowered with this information about the benefits of gratitude, schedule a lunch program or seminar where employees can learn about the powerful impact a culture of gratitude can have in their professional and personal lives.

This will help ensure that everyone understands the initiative, meaning that they’ll be more likely to take a few minutes out of their day to recognize fellow employees.

Thanks to the powerful ripple effect gratitude has, when staff communicate their appreciation to one another, it fosters not only a feeling of well-being for individual employees but also an overall environment of well-being throughout the workplace.

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