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5 min read


How appreciation elevates organizations to new heights

Posted: July 18, 2023 5 min read

Each year, Gerber FCU dedicates a Day of Gratitude to celebrate its hardworking employees. Through a series of thoughtful gestures, including a special breakfast, snacks and a surprise gift, Gerber FCU wants employees to feel valued and appreciated.

“We usually do a smaller gift that our budget allows for. This year, we decided to skip buying snacks and put a little more toward the gift instead,” said Heather Wiersema, Gerber FCU marketing officer. “We asked everyone for ideas on what they would like to receive. The most requested item was a nice, cozy, comfy blanket.”

Promotional items help employees feel appreciated.

employee wrapped in a branded company blanket

The marketing team put careful consideration into choosing a blanket for its employees. The team decided on an oversized blanket made of soft, fuzzy material and in teal to match a recent company rebrand.

“Our staff raved over the blankets. The most comments we got were about how big and soft it was. We all keep little fleece blankets tucked in our desk drawers because our offices sometimes get cold,” Wiersema continued. “Now many people keep their new blankets at work. Some people took their blanket home to keep on the couch when watching movies. And even though it’s warm and cozy, it’s also just thin enough to fold up nicely.”

“Our staff raved over the blankets. The most comments we got were about how big and soft it was. We all keep little fleece blankets tucked in our desk drawers because our offices sometimes get cold,” —Heather Wiersema

Morale and motivation

Morale and motivation go hand in hand with performance. When morale and motivation are high, performance often follows. Gratitude can have a profound impact on both, inspiring teams to go above and beyond, driven by a sense of pride and desire to excel.

7 coins in a row showing employee recognition may save companies up to $7million a year.

In fact, researchers estimate employee recognition may save organizations up to $7 million a year by improving retention and engagement. Expressing gratitude at work helps create a positive environment, nurturing loyalty and commitment. When employees feel valued and appreciated, engagement, job satisfaction and retention grow naturally.

Teamwork and collaboration

Expressing gratitude can bond teams closer together, and this is something the AT&T Pioneers – Northeast Chapter recently experienced.

A volunteer organization that focuses on five main causes—education, life enrichment, health and human services, environment and military—AT&T Pioneers recently saw its Northeast Chapter complete a gratitude-focused project that fostered internal teamwork, clear communication and unity with other organizations.

Blue pen with AT&T Pioneers - Northeast Chapter's logo on it

Revive Pen

The organization partnered with Teen Institute, a peer leadership organization that trains youth in leadership skills, to express gratitude to current and former military members. AT&T Pioneers – Northeast Chapter purchased pens and blank patriotic notecards, which were divided into smaller bundles and distributed to Teen Institute clubs within area high schools. Teen Institute members wrote thank-you notes that were returned to AT&T Pioneers – Northeast Chapter for distribution to veterans and active soldiers.

Just as the work was wrapping up, the organization learned about an upcoming Honor Flight that would take a group of veterans on a one-day trip to Washington, D.C.

two volunteers coordinating veteran thank you project

Innovation and creativity

Gratitude can help people focus on what matters most, especially when something unexpected occurs. “The original plan was to write 250 letters to active military and veterans. However, when we found out about the Honor Flight, we knew it was important to recognize those veterans too,” said Teresa Bailey, AT&T Pioneers – Northeast Chapter director.

“Together, our Pioneer volunteers used additional notecards and wrote to each participating Honor Flight veteran.”

Before boarding the flight home from Washington, D.C., veterans experienced a special moment known as “mail call.” Just like their military days, they received letters from relatives and loved ones. Volunteers also contributed letters expressing appreciation for their service, and the AT&T Pioneers – Northeast Chapter notes were included.

two co-workers shaking hands and showing gratitude at work


Another benefit of practicing gratitude? It can encourage employees to maintain a positive mindset. When experiencing challenges or setbacks, a positive attitude can boost coping abilities and help people overcome hardship. It can also foster a sense of unity and resilience, enabling teams to navigate difficult times more effectively.

What’s more, research shows that gratitude is strongly linked to happiness. Thankful people have more meaningful relationships, better health, more positive attitudes and stronger coping skills. Entire organizations can benefit when employees maintain attitudes of gratitude.

Harness the benefits of showing gratitude

From morale and motivation to teamwork, collaboration, innovation, creativity and resilience, gratitude plays an influential role. Taking purposeful steps toward showing appreciation can help your organization reap these powerful benefits of showing gratitude.


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