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The Benefits of Showing Gratitude in the Workplace

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This time of year, we tend to think a little bit more about what we’re grateful for – beyond that extra helping of turkey, stuffing, football and pumpkin pie.

But the power of gratitude runs much deeper than that. If you show your thankfulness to someone, it makes them feel better. It’s that simple – and that powerful. It also has a domino effect, spilling over into other aspects of people’s lives and often, prompting them to show the same gratitude to others.

  • There’s an actual scientific explanation behind it. When you express or receive gratitude, your brain releases dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that regulate emotions and enhance your mood.

At work, people perform better when their colleagues show appreciation and respect.

As reported in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, there’s a direct link between appreciation and better work performance. Additional benefits include:

  • Stronger engagement: This describes the extent to which employees love their jobs and are committed to your company. Engagement drives customer service, loyalty and retention, as well as productivity and profits. An American Psychological Association survey found that 93 percent of employees who reported feeling valued by their employers said they were motivated to do their best work – and 88 percent said they were engaged.
  • Greater retention: Not feeling valued is a leading reason why employees leave their companies. This has been reported in numerous research findings, including the Achievers 2020 Engagement and Retention Report.

How to Show Gratitude

Even leaders with the best intentions may struggle to adequately express their gratitude to their employees. In reality, it’s not that complicated. Put it on your daily to do list if you have to. Try it. You’ll like it. And soon, it will become second nature. Here are a few simple ways to get started:

  • Implement a recognition program. Set criteria and encourage employees to nominate colleagues who go above and beyond for the benefit of your company and their team members. Present awards monthly, quarterly and/or yearly.
  • Look for “gotcha!” moments. Catch people in the act, and remind others to do the same. You may want to start a “Gotcha Good” program in addition to your more structured Employee of the Month, Quarter or Year process. Award points for even small contributions or acts of kindness. Provide rewards with appropriate values. Let employees cash them in immediately for something small, like a free cafeteria coffee, or save them up for bigger awards.
  • Acknowledge special moments in people’s lives. These may include birthdays, work anniversaries, marriages, the birth of children, graduations or other milestones. Send a handwritten note, card, flowers or small, appropriate token.

For more ideas on meaningful ways to express gratitude and recognize your superstar team members – and build a comprehensive employee engagement strategy – contact Search Wizards today.

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