Surprising Benefits of Gratitude in the Workplace

Posted by JD Thornton on Mon, Dec, 01, 2014

thanks-1The holiday season is a wonderful time to reflect and recognize the good in our lives, whether it's family, friends, or a great job, we all have things we are thankful for. While you may think gratitude is a soft, fluffy feel-good topic, it can have a huge impact on your company. Research finds that having an attitude of gratitude releases dopamine in the brain, which then boosts feelings of well-being, increases optimism, and improves physical health. In turn, these benefits serve to boost productivity, decision making, and problem solving. Many people also report higher levels of energy, enthusiasm, determination, and alertness.

Even a little bit of gratitude can make you feel better: when people took five to ten minutes at the end of their workday to record three personal or work-related things that went well and why, stress levels and physical health complaints — such as neck and back pain, headaches, and fatigue — decreased by 15%.

Sadly, gratitude is not an easy thing to encourage in others, especially in the workplace. A study by the John Templeton Foundation found that people are less likely to express gratitude at work than almost anyplace else and 60% of people never express thanks at work. The implication is depressing - each day your employee's may feel undervalued and unappreciated. 

The best way to encourage gratitude? Exemplify it. Be sure to thank your employees for everything they do, and be as specific as possible. Simply sending a generalized email out to all your employees or making a speech may be great, but it is unlikely to create a movement of gratitude in your company. Approach individual employees about specific things they do that benefit your business, and make sure you are genuine and sincere. You can go out of your way to highlight someone, or you can keep it more simple and subtle by thanking an employee in passing or as an event occurs. As you continue to express consistent gratitude for your employees, you create an environment of gratitude that begins to become integrated within the company culture. As an added benefit, this technique also encourages employees to pursue the sort of behaviors, attitudes, and results that you are thanking them for, increasing your company’s level of success.

Bonus tip: If your corporate culture would receive it well, you could also provide gratitude journals, workshops on gratitude or even start meetings with personal and professional wins.

We think high-performance coach Robin Sharma says it best, “Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world.” Fuel the mastery of your business with the spirit of gratitude.

Is gratitude part of your workplace culture? Please share in the comment section below. 

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces


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