gratitude in the workplace

Isn’t it great when one of your team members thanks you for helping out or doing a good job? Hearing the words “thank you” can make all the difference in a person’s attitude. Best of all, it boosts morale and costs nothing to dish out.

Unfortunately, thankfulness is in short supply in many of the workplaces across our country. But management can easily change that by showing gratitude to staff members on the regular.

But wait—why say thank you to someone who is getting paid to do their job? Growing research finds that work environments without positive emotions like gratitude succumb to negativity biases, including a toxic work environment, loss of productivity, and decrease in employee engagement.

A recent Gallup poll reflects this. When asked, 36% of workers reported being engaged, 15% were actively disengaged, and the rest were not engaged.

Disengaged workers (especially those who are actively disengaged) can bog down an organization, deflate morale, and cost thousands in turnover alone.

So how can you get your employees to engage? With a grateful attitude. Let’s take a closer look at reasons to implement gratitude in your workplace this Thanksgiving season.

Benefits of Gratitude for Individuals

Gratitude is proven to have both physical and psychological benefits. For example, research done by the American Psychological Association showed that cardiac patients who kept gratitude journals for eight weeks showed significant benefits, including a reduction in inflammatory biomarker levels (while they wrote).

Other health benefits that have been observed include:

  • Better emotional well-being
  • Lower levels of depression/stress
  • Fewer health complaints and symptoms of physical illness
  • Better quality sleep
  • Better resilience during challenging times
  • And more!

Gratitude in the Workplace

According to Workhuman, appreciation is a major factor in increased productivity and employee retention. Why? Employees that feel that they are recognized and valued for their contributions have higher engagement and job satisfaction, work better in teams, and are more motivated to help achieve the goals of their company.

The study brings up some important statistics regarding employees that have been recognized in the last month vs. those who have never been recognized. Those who experienced employee recognition are:

  • Half as likely as unrecognized workers to be looking for a new job
  • Twice as likely to be highly engaged at work
  • Over four times as likely to be happy while at work
  • Over four times as likely to say their organization’s leaders appreciate the work they are doing

But the benefits of gratitude affect both the giver and receiver. Givers of gratitude or recognition experience the following:

  • More than twice as likely to be highly engaged (as opposed to non-givers)
  • Almost three times as likely to feel that their jobs have purpose and meaning
  • Over three times as likely to report being happy at work
  • Almost three times as likely to feel their organization’s leadership is appreciative of the work they do

Incorporating an appreciative atmosphere can create a positive ripple effect that will spread across your organization. Companies that show appreciation for their team members enjoy benefits like:

  • A healthier organizational culture
  • Less cynicism and exhaustion among workers
  • Better health and safety
  • More proactive behaviors
  • Higher job satisfaction

Tips to Show Gratitude in the Workplace

By now you are aware of the many benefits of showing appreciation at work. Here are some ideas to help you get the ball rolling within your organization.

Say Thanks

Tell someone “Thank you” when they help out in some way and explain why you appreciate what they have done or how it has helped you.

Provide Positive Feedback

Give others positive, unsolicited feedback. Let them know what you appreciate about them or something they have done. Be specific!

Show Respect

This should go without saying, but treat others the way you would like to be treated—with kindness and respect.

Express Your Appreciation Publicly

When a team member does something awesome or is generally doing a great job, don’t be afraid to call them out publicly to show your appreciation. Some companies do this in weekly meetings, monthly newsletters, or end-of-year events. It’s a nice way to show your staff that they are noticed and appreciated for all they do.

Handwritten Note

There is something special about a handwritten note, especially in this digital age. By jotting down your appreciation on a card or paper, you are showing someone that you are grateful enough to set time aside to show them you care. This can easily boost the mood of another team member and put a smile on their face.

Help Others

When you help someone with their work from time to time, it shows a measure of respect. Of course, you would want to help with menial tasks that they are working on, not take over a project, which could be perceived as correction. By lending a hand now and then, you show that you appreciate their hard work and want to return the favor.

Genuine Compliments

Compliments go a long way in making someone’s day, as long as they are sincere. Look for reasons to compliment someone you work with, not only when they have done something awesome, but even when they look like they are having a bad day. Compliments help convey respect and gratitude.

Surprise Your Team

Surprising your staff with coffee and doughnuts or a catered lunch on occasion is a great way to show your team how much you appreciate all they do. It shows thoughtfulness and gratitude on your part, making your team feel special.

Growing Your Business with Gratitude

Hopefully this article helps you understand how showing gratitude at work can benefit you as an individual and your organization. For more business consulting tips, contact Leadership Excellence for a complimentary consultation.

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