< Back to Insights

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love, and Understanding?

Imagine working in an environment where kindness is the norm. A workplace where everyone feels valued and valuable. A workplace where civility reigns and gratitude for all is abundant. Pipe dream? We think not. Too touchy-feely? We beg to differ. Studies show that when employees are regularly shown gratitude their productivity and engagement skyrocket. And when engagement increases—so does the bottom line.


Unfortunately, research also shows that a whopping 98% of employees experience rudeness at work. Incivility can take many forms: passive-aggressive emails, ignored phone calls, sarcastic and belittling remarks, or public outbursts to name a few. And despite its ugly nature, incivility is often downplayed as less hurtful and less detrimental than outright harassment or bullying at work. But there are real costs (both tangible and intangible) to workplaces that lack gratitude and civility. A 2007 study estimates that rudeness and incivility in the workplace costs companies $14,000 per employee each year in lost productivity. Another negative bottom line impact is the cost of hiring/firing, training, and perhaps legal costs as even more studies show that 79% of employees quit their job because they don’t feel truly appreciated at work. Incivility can spread like wildfire and breed a toxic culture. These behaviors not only hurt people’s feelings—they hurt the company financially.


How can you improve workplace culture and make civility the norm on your team? It starts with simple acts of kindness, respect, appreciation, and civility to every person you interact with. Aim to create an environment where people feel valued inherently for who they are, not just for what they do at work.  Offer encouragement and show gratitude whenever and wherever you can.  Don’t let everyday work stresses, deadlines and demands get the better of your better nature.


Given the financial costs of high turnover and lagging productivity, showing gratitude should be at the top of every manager’s list of priorities. It’s one of the easiest, low-cost things bosses and colleagues alike can do to not only improve company culture and boost morale, but also increase productivity and overall job satisfaction. Don’t know where to start? Here are 20 easy ideas you can implement at your organization right away!


  1. Write a personal, handwritten thank-you note
  2. Thank someone publicly at a meeting or company event
  3. Recognize meaningful events in coworkers’ personal lives—birthdays, marriages, graduations, family illnesses—and send a note or flowers
  4. Bring in coffee and breakfast for your team
  5. Make time for small talk and catch-ups
  6. Praise a coworker/employee for a job well done in the company newsletter
  7. Offer priority parking or transportation benefits for a month
  8. Volunteer to help a seemingly stressed-out colleague
  9. Organize a team potluck lunch
  10. Praise or thank an employee on company social media
  11. Offer your guidance and wisdom to newer, younger, or less experienced workers
  12. Deliver good news and thanks in person
  13. Offer trainings, courses, and opportunities for professional and personal development
  14. Plan a company-wide outing
  15. Ask for feedback from employees—send the message that all perspectives matter
  16. Allow for occasional half-days or extra time off during especially busy seasons
  17. Set aside time at the beginning of meetings to say thanks and allow others to give compliments or appreciation
  18. Leave out a bulletin board or “gratitude wall” where workers can write appreciative notes and compliments to staff
  19. Raffle off gift-cards to restaurants, spas, or entertainment
  20. Recognize work anniversaries with treats or a team happy hour to celebrate

Recognize how emotional intelligence impacts workplace interactions.

Click Here