It’s no secret that office culture in today’s workplace is paramount to the success of any company. It’s also clear that a company’s culture is comprised of more than catchall concepts like bottomless cups of free coffee and gluten-free snack bowls. True workplace culture is an attitude and an overall feeling; not a series of office perks. As a business leader, I have made it a point to prioritize the environment at each of our offices to foster a fun, collaborative, and inclusive work experience. But, in my experience, my efforts do not dictate office culture. So, what does? As CEO with a responsibility to my staff as well as our clients, I strive to do three things consistently: 1. Clearly communicate the goals for the company. 2. Encourage and reward open communication and contribution to achieving those goals from all team members, no matter their level. 3. Express my gratitude for the people and behaviors that help move us forward. Of those actions, the one that has had the greatest impact is expressing gratitude, and here’s why. According to a recent study published in the APA Journal, Emotion, the simple act of saying “thank you” encourages camaraderie and reinforces our desire to work hard for our clients and, more importantly, for each other. Another benefit is that gratitude improves self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that it reduces social comparisons. So, rather than feeling jealous or resentful about other’s successes in the workplace – which greatly reduces self-esteem – people who are truly grateful are able to be happy for each other. That is the essence of team spirit, and the truest expression of company culture. So, in the end, the culture at RightWorks isn’t the office parties, or the team meetings, or even the dogs that accompany many of us to work each day. Our culture is happiness as a result of gratitude, and it benefits our clients and us immensely every day.