Make Kindness Count

Western is committed to creating an environment that supports every employee with their well-being, mental and physical health, and professional and personal development.

In doing so we will build a strong sense of community, of genuine belonging and fully benefit from the power of working together.

Make Kindness Count is an initiative designed to enhance a culture that encourages gratitude, recognition and appreciation for all faculty and staff at Western.

It’s important for all of us to know that we are valued and that what we do makes a real difference.

Building opportunities to show appreciation, both formally and informally, is an important factor in the psychological health and safety of a workplace.

Openly appreciating people for who they are and recognizing what they accomplish are key factors in employee wellness and supports Western’s vision of building and nurturing an engaged community that fosters a sense of belonging and togetherness.

Let’s spread kindness!

Recognize a colleague, our say thank-you! Recognition programs provide the opportunity to informally recognize the accomplishments of our teams, colleagues, and employees, in real-time.

  • Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond the basic expectations of their job?
  • Have you worked with a colleague who brings positivity and kindness to their work?
  • Would you like to highlight a job well done?

Ways to give thanks:

Printable Cards

Fillable e-Cards

Informal Certificates

Other recognition ideas: 

  • Say “thank you” on a regular basis.
  • Smile. It's contagious.
  • Notice and praise progress towards a goal.
  • Check-in on a project to give encouragement.
  • Check-in on an employee performing great daily work to recognize their efforts.
  • Acknowledge each team member’s contribution.
  • Provide immediate positive reinforcement.
  • Commend employees for small successes.
  • Recognize employees publicly.
  • Email a note of appreciation and copy the employee’s supervisor.
  • Handwrite a note of thanks for a job well done.
  • Encourage, enable, and empower employees to provide feedback, input and observations.
  • Encourage employees to take advantage of development opportunities.
  • Encourage a team mentality; emphasize the importance of working together.
  • Recognize the different roles and strengths each employee contributes.
  • Encourage and implement ideas from employees and share them at staff or other group meetings.
  • Send a recognition message to an individual or team using MS Teams Praise function.
  • Use LinkedIn Kudos to congratulate and celebrate an employee's success.
  • Use KudoBoard to capture up to 10 messages that can be sent to an employee for any occasion for free.

Understanding gratitude, recognition, and appreciation…

Understanding the difference between gratitude, recognition and appreciation is important to meaningfully encourage the heart and deepen employee engagement. Get started by exploring the definitions, research and resources related to gratitude, recognition, and appreciation.


Gratitude is affirming good things in people’s work and understanding the positive things in our lives are frequently due to forces outside of ourselves and are often attributed to the efforts of other people.

Why is it important?

People with persistent gratitude are more likely to feel positive emotions at work, like excitement and happiness, which improves overall well-being (Grabarek, 2018).

Building a culture of gratitude can “transform work lives, leading to deeper connections to each other and to the work we’re doing” (Newman, 2017).

Examples of how you might show gratitude in the workplace:

  • Writing three things you are grateful for daily in a gratitude journal.
  • Listening to a guided gratitude meditation that encourages you to think of someone you want to appreciate and focus on how you have been positively impacted by that person.
  • Sharing feelings of gratitude at team meetings to build an organizational culture of gratitude.


Recognition focuses on specific things that employees have done and can help reinforce for employees what is working well and provide clarity on priorities. It can be formal or informal

Why is it important?

Recognizing someone for their work can help increase motivation, build self-esteem, and promote social behaviours.

Successful organizations recognize employees for their outstanding efforts and accomplishments. This is highlighted as one of the 13 Factors of Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. To learn more about the impact of recognition and rewards in the workplace visit Western’s Health Minds Program.

Examples of how you might show recognition in the workplace:

  • "Thank you for delivering this project on time with such attention to detail. The work you have done will help us continue expanding our offerings to make a more holistic program. Great work!"
  • "I was blown away by your analysis of our web metrics. I would have never even thought of doing something like that. What you did will really help us target our communications to be more effective. Thank you."


Appreciation focuses not on the person’s accomplishments, but instead on who the person is and their inherent value. Appreciation highlights someone’s work as a human being.

Below are a few ways you might start to express appreciation to someone:

  • I admire your...
  • I value...
  • I appreciate your...

Examples of how you might show appreciation in the workplace:

  • "The office is a happier place with you in it. Thanks for the laughs!"
  • "Your enthusiasm for personal growth and development is truly inspirational."
  • "I’m so grateful that you’re not afraid to ask questions! It really helps us work well together."

Formal Recognition Programs at Western:

Resources and Research:



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