Four Reasons to Garner Gratitude in the Workplace

November 27, 2018
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Most American employees have become accustomed to an automatic reply of, “thanks.” Unfortunately, such simple statements don’t bear much weight. In fact, only four percent of workers find these generic expressions of recognition memorable according to Globoforce. To truly demonstrate gratitude, words and actions must be deliberate and specific.

Here are four reasons why Dale Carnegie’s 2nd Human Relations principle, ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation,’ pays off in the workplace when applied consistently.

1. Grateful experiences and expressions positively impact teams and individuals. An absence of gratitude may cause teams to tumble. When researchers at the University of Montana studied the subject, they found that, “grateful experiences and expressions” positively impact our psychological and physical well- Sincere appreciation is like rocket fuel for both hardworking teams and individuals.

When a team is recognized for a specific achievement, it not only fosters camaraderie, but also helps motivate them to accomplish even more. The same is true for individuals. When an employee is thanked or recognized for a specific contribution within an organization, they feel respected, valued and appreciated—and many experts argue, are much less likely to leave the organization. In fact, Globoforce found that companies with strategic recognition reported a mean employee turnover rate that is 23.4% lower than retention at companies without any recognition program.

2. Employees have more sleep, less stress. A Psychology Today article explains how the brain is affected by appreciation and gratitude. Not only does showing appreciation increase better sleep habits, increase metabolism and lessen stress, it also boosts performance and employee engagement. This is because the hypothalamus, the brain’s “reward neurotransmitter” is heavily affected from feelings of gratitude. Essentially, employees who have sufficient rest at night are ready to perform like rock stars the next morning.

3. Positive cultures are more productive than those that are not. When gratitude is ingrained in a company’s culture, employees are more willing to share positive feelings with colleagues, whether it’s helping them with a project or recognizing someone’s specific achievement. According to the Harvard Business Review, positive workplaces are more productive over time due to the increase in positive emotions and well-being. Additionally, a positive culture also results in improved client outcomes and satisfaction. Leadership team members must serve as the role models for a culture of gratitude as appreciation is contagious. When team members see leaders embody gratitude, they typically follow suit.

4. Side effects also include a greater sense of self-worth and self-efficacy. Dale Carnegie said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Employees who feel positive emotions are typically able to focus better and have strong, positive interpersonal relationships with colleagues and management. On the contrary, employees who feel negative emotions, such as lower self-esteem due to a lack of sincere appreciation, may make more mistakes and refrain from putting forth their best efforts.

Bottom line—ingraining gratitude in the workplace pays off both for the organization as a whole, and for individual employees.

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