Gratitude… The quality of being thankful for what you receive or have regardless of whether the object of thanks is tangible or intangible.
We have known for some time now about the importance of gratitude. Giving thanks to someone else when they do something for you is common courtesy and giving thanks to the people, objects, opportunities, circumstances in your own life has been shown to improve mindfulness and overall mental health.
So what about gratitude in the workplace? Should we really thank someone for doing their job? Isn’t that what their pay essentially equals? Research has shown that people are less likely to say ‘thank you’ at work than in any other environment due to the general belief that someone shouldn’t be thanked for doing what they’re paid to do.
Gratitude is a non-monetary way to support those non-monetary motivations.
But… We know that only 44% of Australians are extremely or very satisfied with their job and we also know that people quit bosses not their job.
Researchers in Pennsylvania found that managers who remember to say thank you to their employees resulted in employees feeling more motivated and experiencing increased productivity.
People want to feel valued… In every circumstance. And work constitutes an incredibly large sum of our lives and many people are more likely to spend more time with their co-workers than their own friends and family. So in my head the equation is pretty simple.. It also costs nothing and is very easy to implement:
Gratitude = feeling valued = happier in role = drive to work smarter
72% of Australians are searching for purpose and meaning through their work and giving and receiving thanks goes a long way to achieving them.
Psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks states that:
“most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement. So when you put these factors together, it is essential to both give and receive thanks at work.”
Showing gratitude had been shown to result in:
- Better health: Giving thanks has been shown to improve sleep quality, relationships, immune function and reduce depression.
- Increased productivity and job satisfaction
- Improved workplace culture: Giving thanks remedies toxic work environments and reduces aggressive thoughts and behaviour. ‘Gratitude takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships, relationships that are mutually reciprocal. In this sense, it, like other social emotions, functions to help regulate relationships, solidifying and strengthening them’ states Emmons. In essence it strengthens teams to help teams win.
- A better motivator than $$: Research highlights that people are more willing to work for an appreciative boss than have a higher paying role.
Ok.. so how?
So now that you’ve been told about the workplace benefits of displaying gratitude. How do you show gratitude?
1. Make sure it’s genuine
People aren’t stupid… They can tell when you are being authentic or when you are sarcastically throwing ‘thanks’ around because a blog told you to. So make sure that you are giving thanks to something or someone that you are truly grateful for and give it in a manner that suits you and them. Make sure you give quality thank you’s than than thank you’s in quantity.
2. Give thanks appropriately
Know your employees and know yourself. If one of your employees is shy and generally avoids attention DO NOT make a large scene in front of the rest of the team and embarrass them. Instead pull them aside or catch them over making a coffee to give a quiet word of thanks.
3. Thank those who never get thanked
Appreciate the people that get the jobs done that do not always result in reward and appreciation. Your doctor couldn’t have saved your life without someone to sterilise and prepare the room you were operated in… Just saying.
4. Acknowledge small wins
Cast your mind to the Progress Principle: ‘Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run’.
5. Thank the team
One of the values of Everperform is ‘teams win’ so thank the team for their achievement of working together to win in a common goal.