“At work, tapping into gratitude helps us connect deeper with each other and our shared sense of mission,” says Brian Mohr, Pathlight Technical Support Lead. “For me, gratitude slows down my nervous system. Working at a startup that is fast-paced, being grateful helps me reflect and creates space for growth.”
Brian’s is just one of the many reasons to express gratitude at work. Gratitude helps a team connect to each other and the work they do together—not just around the holidays, but all year round. As we enter a new year, we thought we’d ground ourselves in gratitude since, after all, we believe it’s beneficial to everyone in an organization to cultivate an ongoing gratitude practice.
Alongside Brian’s more human reasons for gratitude, there are equally as many reasons to express gratitude when it comes to the business side of work. In fact, Jill Hauwiller at Forbes argues that gratitude might be an antidote to employee turnover and a way to combat the high rates of attrition that arrived in 2021. She believes that appreciation and recognition are critical to attracting and retaining talent: “This isn’t a new concept,” she says, “but it needs to be a priority now because it can be a countermeasure to burnout [...] At a minimum, gratitude can help bridge the understanding gap between employees and managers about the characteristics of an attractive organization.”
We sat down with three Pathlighters to hear what they’re grateful for, how they express their gratitude, and what’s on the horizon for the year ahead.
Meet the Pathlighters + what they’re grateful for at work
Lauren England, Customer Success Manager: “I’m most grateful for the people we’ve hired. Despite a pandemic, we’ve continued to bring on passionate people who care about our mission and kept building a strong culture even though we’re not always in an office together.”
Mallory St. George, Employee Experience Manager: “I’m grateful for the times we’ve come together as a company, such as during our holiday party. Getting all Pathlighters together always gives me a dose of gratitude and inspires me.”
Brian Mohr, Technical Support Lead: “There’s a deep sense of caring about each other and getting to know one another that helps us collaborate and support each other better. By collaborating, we’re able to create something greater than the sum of its parts—I’m grateful for that feeling at work.”
Why gratitude matters at work
Chester Elton, the author of Leading With Gratitude, has studied many of the world’s best teams, leaders, and company cultures. “There was always this thread of gratitude—always," he says in an SHRM article. "And so it became very apparent that it wasn't a nice-to-have if you were to be a great leader. It was an absolute must-have."
At Pathlight, we’ve seen the impact gratitude has on our company culture and business outcomes—here are three areas we’ve worked to cultivate it across our team:
Mallory knows a lot about the employee experience—and how closely tied it is to gratitude—because her role is responsible for providing an excellent experience for Pathlighters. “To succeed at my work, I have to be motivated to provide employees with a good experience, which I am,” she says. “It’s the heart and soul of our team that motivates me to make working at Pathlight the best experience of their careers.”
Gratitude is important for someone in Mallory’s role, but it’s equally essential amongst employees who work together—those who co-create the employee experience—too. Not only is it shown that gratitude improves mental health, but it also helps people feel more positive and appreciate each other at work.
According to the Greater Good Science Center, the reason gratitude goes such a long way at work is because it “recognizes how the positive things in our lives [...] are often due to forces outside of ourselves, particularly the efforts of other people.” So, although the office (or remote work environment) is typically seen as a place to be ‘professional,’ the research shows that being grateful at work creates an environment where folks want to come to work.
For Lauren, working with our customers is something she’s deeply grateful for and passionate about. “Unlike other products, we’re improving people’s quality of life at work, and for folks whose jobs are in customer support, we’ve changed how they work in a positive way—using Pathlight and our support, they can focus on people instead of being data analysts,” she says.
“For frontline users, Pathlight has provided a layer of transparency into what they’re doing that helps with promotions and recognition—that’s something I’m grateful for, and I know they are, too,” she adds.
Aside from the impact of our product on customers, Lauren knows how important expressing gratitude and support for them is when it comes to keeping them satisfied. And the research supports that, too: according to Inc magazine, “Gratitude has been linked with higher self-esteem and an increased sense of loyalty, both of which help turn new customers into repeat customers. Saying thank you is a simple way to make your customers feel great about purchasing your product or service.”
Feeling gratitude for customers extends beyond the work those in customer-facing roles do every day—it helps customers feel more engaged with a product or service and improves retention in the long run.
Innovation and business outcomes
It’s shown that gratitude can improve creativity, innovation, and performance because it promotes positive emotions, which in turn amplify creativity and collaboration skills.
In fact, Lauren has seen these effects at work through expressions of gratitude: “Gratitude helps us stay positive and celebrate wins, instead of becoming a negative environment to work in,” she says. “It helps us keep a positive mindset, which helps us solve more problems because we have the space to think through many possibilities.”
Gratitude also spreads goodwill to other teammates to solve problems and encourages a safe environment where creativity is welcome. Coworkers become grateful for each other’s strengths and play to them in order to achieve goals together.
Pathlighters and how they express gratitude
Using Pathlight to say ‘thank you’
One of the main ways Pathlighters show their gratitude is through the product itself. “In our weekly company-wide update on Pathlight, we give each other positive recognition cookies 🍪 —a public way to recognize those who went out of their way to have an impact, whether big or small,” explains Brian.
Using our technology helps our internal communication and it also encourages us to socially and professionally engage our customers. Each week Mallory calculates how many cookies are given and received and announces them at our company all-hands: “Being the bearer of cookies, I see the love people share,” she says. “During a challenging period of work, I got a bunch more cookies than usual, and my morale felt truly boosted by them—cookies work!”
Building a culture around using Pathlight’s own product to express gratitude also helps the team feel bought into the company’s mission and familiarizes them with the product so they can better build, support, and sell it.
Recognizing wins, big and small
Pathlight’s culture of shoutouts doesn’t only recognize big wins but also if someone goes out of their way to help another Pathlighter—even if the task is a small one. “I’ve worked places that only acknowledge work that is above and beyond, which has reinforced the importance of shouting out the smaller things, too,” says Lauren. “Especially working remotely, with less visibility, celebrating the small stuff helps us feel more like we’re working in an office together.”
Mallory shows her gratitude at work through her work to improve the employee experience. For example, if someone requests a specific snack, she’ll go out of her way to get them it. “I’m driven by my gratitude and respect for each individual’s role—I know their jobs aren’t easy and want to make work better for everyone,” she says. “That’s how I show my coworkers I’m grateful for them.”
For Lauren, showing her gratitude by supporting Pathlighters comes through in how her team delivers feedback and how managers give shoutouts across the company. “When my coworkers give each other feedback, I see that as an act of gratitude—it’s part recognizing what someone did well and wanting them to improve even more,” she says.
New year, many reasons to be thankful
As we move into a new year, expressing gratitude remains important for everyone at Pathlight—especially given the many things we hope to accomplish in 2022.
Brian is excited to see how Pathlight—and his new baby daughter—grow in the year ahead: “I can’t wait to see all of the milestones we achieve together and to look back on our year and see what we’ve accomplished.”
Lauren looks forward to scaling our customer base on an existing foundation of great customers: “We’re at an interesting crest as a company where our foundational customers are expanding their deployments and we’ll be onboarding so many new customers in the next year—it’s really exciting and makes me even more grateful for our customers today,” she says.
And Mallory is most excited about growing the team: “We’ll be doubling headcount in 2022, which means there will be more people to meet and connect with, and even more folks to motivate and inspire me,” she says. “I love that I get to interact with all new Pathlighters in my role and can’t wait to get to know all of our new hires.”
What are you grateful for as we move into the new year? How will you show your gratitude at work?