With thanks and appreciation
If you visited any of the ACHS sites in March, you may have noticed signs of welcome, thanks and gratitude. Perhaps you even jotted a note of appreciation to one of our staff on a post-it and hung it in the lobby. Maybe you left with a “thank you for letting us care for you” lip balm or pin. If so, you may have wondered why we were going to all this effort.
It was an experiment in happiness!
The reality was that we were conducting an experiment. It was a month-long test to see if by consciously promoting thanks and appreciation – towards each other, towards our patients, and our team – we could really make a difference in our daily lives, our work, and our relationships. We wanted to improve how we felt and how we saw each other.
The results are in. Based on our pre and post-Gratitude Project surveys we saw an improvement of between 3-10% in how appreciated our employees felt at work, by their peers, and by patients.
Basically, the Gratitude Project worked.
How? There were many ways we lifted our spirits. We bonded with each other during our team casual days, wearing the same t-shirts and promoting donations to our favorite charity. We expressed thanks and appreciation to each other in the form of tangible notes and cards we could hang in our work areas and see. We thanked our peers during meetings and called out positive things. We enjoyed fun events such as Snack Cart Day and even shared our feelings about the craziness of the past year with our Haiku contest (haiku entries visual_3.22.)
We cast a small pebble of positivity – and it grew!
When we look past the specifics what we see is the bigger, combined picture. By hyper-focusing on happiness and appreciation, we were able to cast a small pebble of positivity that rippled out and caught on.
When we started saying “thank you”, we received “thank you’ s” and support in return. And it felt great. In turn, we started the day feeling appreciated and supported rather than gloomy and undervalued.
We felt proud of our support for each other and the community – especially when we were able to make an impact and donate funds to Second Chance Animal Rescue and Riverside Animal Rescue. ACHS also matched these funds. In addition, we received an increase in notes from patients letting us know they cared.
During the month we also attended a presentation by the National Association of Community Health Centers on The Happiness Advantage and learned more ways other health care agencies are using optimism to reduce fatigue and increase employee satisfaction. We hosted a staff lunch & learn presentation and brainstormed on ways we could keep the gratitude going year-round. As a result, we have decided to create a Gratitude Group which will be made up of ACHS team members from a variety of ACHS departments and sites. The common goal will be to discover ways to continue to appreciate each other, so the ripples keep growing.
Here’s what one of our employees said when asked what the big take-a-way was from the Gratitude Project experiment, “Working as a team, we can see what our team members in all locations do and how much we are appreciated, even if not said all the time.” Showing and expressing appreciation towards all is key.
What do you think of our experiment? Where do you find appreciation and happiness? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to work for an organization that values positivity and promotes a culture of happiness? Check out our open positions here.