Gamifying Gratitude  

by Sean Foster | December 02, 2021 | Newsletter

The Science behind Gratitude and How You Can Gamify this into your Core Company Values. 

Have you come across or experienced the Great Resignation’ concept that many companies are facing?

Employees are looking for more meaning in their work; they have higher expectations in relation to what they must ‘give up’ in order to secure employment; for many they have boundless opportunities to improve their quality of life and potential earnings through alternate employment options. Add to this, our current unemployment rate is critically low (yes, that is not entirely good for the economy!), so based on the traditional Supply-Demand curve, the headwinds are against us as employers.

Lasting business improvement is made by making continual and consistent 1% improvements – this is one of those 1%’ers you should consider.

Many studies have been done showing the positive impact of building Gratitude. I would like to quote some of the findings from this one, published in 2017. The interesting factor in this research was that it was carried out on over 300 individuals who were struggling with clinically low levels of mental health challenges. Let’s be honest, we all have mental health challenges, it just depends where on the spectrum you lie 😊. 

Some of the findings include: 

  • People who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. 
  • Those that wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health 4 and 12 weeks later (there is some long-term benefit here.) 
  • They found that gratitude letters that were absent of ‘negative emotion words’ also reported better mental health. The absence of negative words far outweighed the benefit of using positive words. This makes sense: how would you ruminate on negative thoughts and experiences if you avoid negative associations? 
  • The study indicated that it did not matter if the gratitude letters were shared or not, it was the act of writing them that mattered. 
  • The study found that there was little difference in mental health between participants after 1 week, but there was after 4-weeks and even more so after 12-weeks. The insight: this takes time. 
  • fMRI brain scans were conducted 3-months after the start of the project, and this showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex of the gratitude group. Insights: developing and practising gratitude could have a long-term positive impact on how your brain functions!! 

Let’s get practical – let’s incorporate this into Your Business 

Have you identified your company values? Have you completed your S.O.A.P? If not, I have included some helpful links so that you can get these processes underway.  

Assuming that you have bought into the science behind Gratitude, and how this benefits individuals, can you imagine what the collective payoff would be in your business if you could develop this in yourself and every one of your team members?  

That’s a rhetorical question, the answer is that you would significantly benefit overall culture, staff retention and happiness, not to mention the other spin offs being improved customer satisfaction, work performance and if correctly directed, company profitability. 

Well, gamifying the Gratification into your company Values is the way to do this and this is how you could play it out. 

Step 1: Write out your Core Values, each one on a separate card. Make as many cards per value as there are team members. See the example shown. 

Image: An example of possible company values

Step 2: Organize a team meeting. Don’t surprise them about what they will be doing. Like any meeting, frame this up correctly so that they come mentally prepared.

Step 3: Start the meeting and again outline the clear objectives and if required quote some of the science behind gratitude. Leave no ambiguity around them being unsure how to play this. 

Step 4: Give the instructions: “You each have a pack of cards in front of you. Each card shows one of our core values. At ABC we need to ensure that we live our values in the actions that we take every day. What I would like you to do now is on the back of each card write another team member’s name down and briefly explain why you are grateful to them in living this value.” 


You do have a few options on how to play this, so please consider this in your preparation.  

If your team is small, then everyone can have a complete pack for everyone else. That way you are reasonably assured that everyone will get gratitude mentions. If your team is large you could say, for the three people on your right, complete at least one card for each person. Plan this beforehand. 

Step 5: Now remember, based on the research, these completed cards do not have to be shared. If trust is running low in the group, if the culture is not where is should be, or you are aware of individuals that could take exception, then leave the game at this level. Individually you can discuss what they wrote on their cards during your next 1-1 meeting. 

For other situations, and here you need to pre-judge the risk level, as the leader you could gather the cards and talk through some of them, if possible, ensuring that everyone gets a mention. If you feel that your culture is already strong and that trust is not an issue, then you could get everyone to individually read through what they have noted. 

The concepts covered in this NewsBrief are simple, but highly effective. As much as everyone knows that we ‘should be’ developing our culture, few businesses actively work on this, well besides being pleasant to each other. 

If you have any questions about this subject fire me an email or give me a call. If you follow my script and run a Gratitude Meeting, then let me know how it went, would love to share your success story to the world 😊. 

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