Workplace gratitude is the answer to many common challenges in workforce management, but the profoundly positive ripple effect it has across all aspects of a company is often underestimated. Research shows again and again that a simple “thank you,” as part of an overall attitude of gratitude, has the power to transform careers, boost morale, keep employees around longer and create a happy company culture that sustains itself from within.
Let’s look at how workplace gratitude sparks positive change in business, from employee satisfaction to successful management to overall company well-being.
It’s Good for Employees
Dr. Daneen Skube, executive coach, calls gratitude “one of the most effective workplace power tools.” In her syndicated advice column, she tells a person hoping to move ahead in a company to put together a “gratitude action plan” to thank all the people who helped along the way. She recommends sharing consistent and personalized thank you’s with past coworkers, current coworkers, bosses and other career-shaping associates.
“No one gets ahead without a network that is invested in seeing you succeed. Learn to put gratitude into the banks of those who invest in you, and watch the dividends of success roll in,” Skube writes.
Unfortunately, giving thanks — a common courtesy elsewhere in daily life — is actually pretty rare in today’s workplace, according to Skube.
“Surprisingly, in today’s self-centered business world, gratitude is also one of the most underutilized career tools. Even Oprah (who has launched more careers than anyone) was quoted as observing that she can count the people who have thanked her on one hand,” Skube writes.
It’s the Key to Successful Management
Gratitude means more than saying “thank you” to the people around you. It’s an entire attitude toward life, as Forbes contributor Jerry Bowyer illustrates in his column, “To Grow In Business and In Life, Show Gratitude and Appreciation.” He gives example after example of businesses — startups, established companies, even his own business — that stagnated or fell apart because the people running them weren’t grateful for what they had and wasted resources by siphoning off their best employees to work on the next shiny new project. He also uses an example from his personal life, a lesson he taught his children growing up.
When one of my children was about 10, I bought a little plastic toy frog for him. While we were driving home from the store together he started complaining about it. “Let me see it,” I said. I took it, looked it over and said, “You’re right, not good enough for you,” and I threw it out the car window. In our house, I told him, when you complain about something, you lose it.
The lesson here isn’t to shut up and be happy with what you’ve got, but to approach a situation with a holistic sense of gratitude before diving in to make changes. Any needed improvement will flow more easily from a place of gratitude, not frustration. Bowyer concludes that the “foundation of asset management is gratitude. [...] If you show appreciation for the assets under your care, they’ll probably return the favor and show appreciation for you.”
It Shapes Companies
A fascinating irony emerges from gratitude research: even though practically everyone enjoys being thanked and enjoys thanking others, they rarely do it while on the job. The University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center interprets this as an attitude problem based on our culturally accepted perception of work:
Americans actively suppress gratitude on the job, even to the point of robbing themselves of happiness. Why? It may be because in theory, no one gives away anything at work; every exchange is fundamentally economic. You don’t deliver that memo to your boss at three o’clock sharp out of the goodness of your heart, but because that is what you’re being paid to do. Your ‘thanks’ is a paycheck.
In the end, showing gratitude is an “acknowledgment of interdependency that makes us feel vulnerable.”
It’s time to change that perception and become comfortable with a little vulnerability, because the benefits are just too good to give up. Workplace gratitude has a spillover effect that positively changes the fundamental and collective outlook of a company. Data analysis by the Greater Good Science Center shows the benefits of gratitude “go beyond a sense of self-worth, self-efficacy and trust between employees.” Other benefits demonstrated include increased happiness, greater satisfaction with life, higher resilience to stress and fewer headaches and illnesses.
Collectively these benefits shape your company image, culture and success. So, what are you waiting for? For ideas on how to increase your company gratitude today, check out “Why Sharing Gratitude Makes Everyone Happy” and “5 Ways Random Acts of Kindness Build Workplace Gratitude.”
To learn more about cultivating engagement, gratitude and happiness in your workplace, download our FREE eBook by clicking the link below.
About gThankYou, LLC
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