CORNING - The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes held its first ever Gratitude Summit at the Corning Museum of Glass Friday, which aims to spread a culture of gratitude throughout workplaces.

The summit, which will be an annual event, advocated for instituting workplace cultures that recognize achievements, are open to helping and guiding employees when facing challenges and tough circumstances, and provide positive work enviroments.

“It goes beyond just recognition. It’s really appreciating each other in big ways and small ways for the people that you work with,” said Sara Palmer, Vice President of Programs at the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes. “Helping you out, lending a hand, being there for you when you’re vulnerable, supporting you in meetings.”

Palmer said supportive workplace cultures are proven to benefit the work environment. She said this could be of particular benefit to local nonprofits, who face higher rates of burnout and turnover as they tackle difficult issues in the community.

“The research shows when you have a strong culture of gratitude in your workplace, it reduces employee turnover,” said Palmer.

Organizational psychologist Dr. Karlyn Borysenko, author of Zen Your Work and the event’s keynote speaker, agreed.

“I spoke about the human strategies of creating positive work environments,” said Borysenko. “Things like listening, being nice to each other, saying thank you, not being a jerk.”

“It does so much,” she added. “First of all, it just creates a nicer environment for people to come into everyday. And when people are happier at work, what we see is their productivity goes up anywhere from 20-to-30 percent, just by changing the way they’re working with their colleagues… just being more civil to each other can make a world of a difference.”

Approximately 100 people attended the summit Wednesday, including those from various nonprofits. These organizations included the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, the Chemung County Child Care Council, the Arc of Chemung County, and others.

Employees with Corning Inc. and others with some local small businesses were there as well.

“We’re hoping that the message of being thankful for one another (sticks), because it’s something we should do as human beings and it will be carried back into their work,” said Palmer.