The importance of gratitude and mental wellbeing at Thank And Praise

Beckett Frith
Beckett Frith

Senior Content Officer, Mental Health at Work

As part of our partnership with the SME National Business Awards, Mental Health at Work is profiling some of the amazing things smaller businesses are doing – and focusing on their challenges and achievements in terms of staff wellbeing. Today we’re focusing on Thank And Praise, a finalist from the 2020 awards held earlier this year.

When Sandie and Philip’s son Donovan needed special care from the NHS and at school​Mindful Teachers Website The Mindful Teachers website aims to teach mindfulness and complementary practices to adults and children.Free By: Mindful Teachers View resource, the couple were overwhelmed with gratitude for the staff who went out of their way to help him.

They wanted to say ‘thank you’ – but instead of finding a simple way to reach out to the people who have supported their son, they instead only found ways to complain.

“Our culture often seems driven to look for the worst, to highlight what is wrong​Dealing with hate campaigns: toolkit for journalists Web page This help page from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma explores some things you can do if you, a colleague, or one of your reports is the target of a hate campaign.Free By: Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma View resource, instead of giving thanks and praise for the good that can be found in so many, especially in unsung heroes in education and healthcare”, explains Sandie.

An app that allows users to send their feelings of thanks directly to those who have impacted them

The couple realised that a simple way to reach out to these ‘unsung heroes’ working in healthcare, social care and education would help them, and thousands like them, to be able to share positive messages of joy and gratitude. And so, TAP – Thank And Praise – was born. It’s a free social thanking platform that allows users to send their feelings of thanks directly to those who have impacted them. TAP provides an easier way to send a message of thanks through digital – website and social media – and, as of October, the TAP Thank And Praise app.

And soon, the idea grew from being solely aimed at health, education and social care. Now, other organisations and businesses can sign up so customers, clients, employees and service users can share their gratitude too.

It’s not just the people receiving the praise who benefit too. Research suggests there is a link between gratitude and mental wellbeing – which means the people using the app to say thank you might experience a boost to their wellbeing as well.

A doctor examines his young patient at hospital

But in order for an organisation such as TAP to be effective, it needs people who believe in its mission, and who feel the company also genuinely believes in its stated purpose​Purpose PDF This guide can help you and you colleagues discover your purpose, and ensure you are working towards it every day.Free By: Unilever View resource. Matt Findel-Hawkins is the CEO of TAP. He told Mental Health at Work that the people are the key to the success of a start-up like TAP.

“On property shows you hear them say the three most important things are ‘location, location, location’,” he says. “When it comes to an organisation like this, it’s ‘your people, your people, your people’.”

Matt himself has experienced an act of kindness from a previous employer that he still remembers fondly. “I was working for a Japanese company when my father passed away suddenly,” he says. “They sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers – not to me, but to my mother – with a hand-written card from the CEO. I really felt cared for.”

There’s no point 'talking the talk' without 'walking the walk'

He says the philosophy of gratitude in TAP is reflected in how they treat their employees – a team of 15 people​Wellbeing in small business: how you can help PDF This guide has a list of options that small business owners and the self-employed can try, for improving the wellbeing of themselves and their employees, along with tips and links for where to look next.Free By: ​Federation of Small Businesses View resource. “What I believe is that in my team, everybody is doing a job where they’re almost irreplaceable for us,” he explains. “In other words, even though I’m the CEO, I couldn’t do the job of my commercial director, I couldn’t do this without my marketing executive, I couldn’t do the job of my PR director, and so on. I want them to know I will support them in every way I can, but also I trust they are the best person for the job, and want to empower them and defer to their knowledge.”

Matt also highlights the importance of authenticity – there’s no point “talking the talk” about mental wellbeing outside of your organisation without “walking the walk” within it. “I know that’s management speak, and it might sound a bit wishy-washy, but I really believe you can’t be an organisation which provides a solution like that and not to have that mentality in your own workplace,” he says.

A classroom of children listen to their teacher.

He cites an example of an employee who experienced a family emergency​A guide to compassionate bereavement support Web page This page from CIPD discusses ways you can create a bereavement policy which can take into account individual circumstances and help build a supportive environment.Free By: CIPD View resource, and had to leave the country for a few months. “She went out at Christmas, but because of Covid, she could only return in September,” he explains. “We worked really hard to ensure she knew she was still a valued member of the team, even when she was away.”

To help foster these feelings of inclusion, TAP holds a meeting every Monday where people can share their achievements and positive messages of support for the rest of the staff. “It helps us gain a complete understanding of the achievements and the challenges of what each and every member of team is doing,” Matt says.

TAP’s wellbeing approach has been noticed externally. In the 2020 SME National Business Awards, the organisation was a finalist in both the Positive Impact and Best New Business award categories. TAP are finalists again this year in the SME Awards, for Best New Business and Community Business of the Year.

It always just comes back to the people

“For us, it always just comes back to the people,” Matt adds. “When you ask someone what’s the most important thing to consider in a start-up, they might say the investment, or the technical idea. Well, I’ve seen a lot of start-ups​A report into the wellbeing of small business owners PDF The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a huge strain on everyone's wellbeing. This report from Simply Business explores the impact the pandemic has had on smaller businesses.Free By: Simply Business View resource – and the one thing that matters more than anything else is whether this is an amazing bunch of people, and whether staff wellbeing sits at the heart of what they’re doing.”

If you are interested in trying TAP for yourself, check out their website here.

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