Employers are missing the boat on one of the best ways to motivate their employees with a simple “thank you.” The data is in and it shows gratitude from an employer can go a long way toward creating an environment where people want to work hard and succeed in their job. Are you doing all you can to spread gratitude in your business?
The Data on Gratitude
Science shows that you can’t force an employee to be productive but you can create an environment in which they want to produce. Studies show that employees that receive positive reinforcement before a project perform 50% better in part because the brain produces more dopamine, that “feel good” chemical. Ironically, the data also shows that, while nearly 100% of Americans say gratitude at the office is essential to productivity, only 10% of bosses actually leverage this tool to improve employee productivity.
What are the benefits of letting your employees know they matter? Studies show that the simple act of thanking your workforce for their efforts:
- Increases their engagement in the job and their productivity.
- Improves wellness and helps with work/life balance.
- On-the-job stress declines.
- Improves self-esteem of the workforce.
Showing appreciation creates a culture of gratitude, which can permeate an entire organization. Forbes reports that gratitude that starts at the top from an employer can spread throughout the workforce until it becomes the very heart of what a company stands for. But can it really be that simple? The data shows that it is. So, how can you get started in your effort to promote a culture of gratitude? Here are some ideas:
- Start team meetings with the manager taking two minutes at the beginning to share how much he or she appreciates the team, employees, and the work that’s been accomplished.
- Over time, you can expand this idea by encouraging employees to thank each other as part of their standups or meetings.
- If you’re in an office, create a gratitude board, where employees can put sticky notes praising the efforts of someone on the team.
- If you’re working together on a project, try to roadmap out time to celebrate the small victories as you make your way to the final goal. Happy hours, swag, or other motivational events or items give people a boost, particularly when the work gets hard.
- Create employee appreciation events to encourage and motivate the team and just say “thank you.”
- Little treats can go a long way. While this might be a little tougher when employees are remote, you can share digital coupons for treats or have lunch delivered to their homes.
- Use tools like Bonusly or other online “atta boy” platforms to motivate and celebrate the wins.
- Create an “employee of the month” award or something similar.
Overall, to create a culture of gratitude, reward and praise much more than you criticize or reprimand. The psychological benefits of gratitude start with management changing their behaviors. Modeling this behavior can spread across an organization until it becomes a part of the cultural norm. Ultimately, gratitude will fuel productivity and increase the level of engagement in the entire organization.
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