As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s common to reflect upon the things and people that we are thankful for. What seems like such a simple activity can actually be incredibly beneficial for individuals. Considering the things that we value can reaffirm the reasons why we are doing something and remind us of goals we are working towards. This positive shift in perspective can be comforting for individuals who are struggling, and the act of reflecting shouldn’t be overlooked.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that showing gratitude in the workplace can be just as beneficial and impactful for employees as well as employers. This article will break down the reasons why showing gratitude is important and list some examples of easy ways to show your appreciation for others in the office.
What is Gratitude?
Let’s face it – nobody likes to work in an environment where they feel like their efforts go unnoticed. What’s the point of working hard when it doesn’t seem to make a difference? When employees don’t feel properly acknowledged for their hard work, a culture of low workplace morale can begin to form. Over time, low morale can lead to increased tension and frustration which might ultimately force employees to quit. As turnover is quite costly for employers, it’s important to prevent low morale and ensure that the workplace remains a positive environment for employees.
Whereas the term “appreciation” refers simply to the act of acknowledging something good in one’s life, the term “gratitude” recognizes why something is good, often because an external force contributed to the positivity. An example of appreciation could look like: “I appreciate that we were able to book this client,” while an example of gratitude could look like: “I am grateful for my team members who worked hard on this presentation that led to booking this client.”
Why is Showing Gratitude Important?
The idea of showing gratitude in the office might seem counterintuitive or even inappropriate, given the strict ideas of hierarchy and professional that are engrained into individuals about what a job is “supposed” to look like. Why would it make sense to show gratitude to an employee who is doing exactly what they’re paid to do? Wouldn’t be uncomfortable or overly personal to show gratitude?
Evidence would prove otherwise. Berkely University describes the case of Southwest Airlines, voted America’s #13 Best Employer of 2018. Factors that lead to this distinction included that Southwest Airlines would regularly go the extra mile for employees to show its appreciation for the hard work they do. This show of appreciation included sending flowers and cards for personal milestones in the employee’s life, whether that was graduation, marriage, or the death of a loved one.
When individuals feel acknowledged, seen, and appreciated by their employer, they tend to work harder and be more committed to the company. Creating a positive work environment tends to lead to better output from employees, and regularly showing gratitude to employees can contribute to better day-to-day morale and overall organization success.
Showing gratitude can have effects that expand past than the workplace. Forbes lists the following benefits for individuals that are direct or indirect results of showing gratitude in the office:
- Greater empathy
- Reduced aggression
- Increased trust between individuals
- Increased sense of self-worth and self-efficacy
- Strengthen mental fortitude and resilience
Ways to Show Gratitude in the Workplace
We’ve established that showing gratitude is important in the workplace, but how do we go about showing it? Saying “thank you” often is an easy way of showing appreciation, but putting increased effort into expressing gratitude can have a greater impact, such as greeting employees when they enter and leave the office; surprising employees with lunch or coffee; and respecting employees’ time by running meetings that start and end on time.
Another important aspect of gratitude is showing employees that they are respected. Gestures can seem empty if there isn’t a foundation of respect underneath, and while it might seem obvious, it’s important to recognize that employees are humans with unique passions, hopes, and dreams who seek validation from others. We all want and deserve to be treated with respect, and the workplace is no different!
Other ways to show gratitude include offering unsolicited and positive feedback, expressing appreciation in front of others, writing a note or email, and being there to help and support when needed.
Showing gratitude in the office is an important step in creating a positive workplace environment where employees enjoy working and strive to do their best. It can be difficult to establish this tone if there is new leadership, new rules, or other changes to a company, so contact Bhr Consulting today to see how your company can benefit from a culture of gratitude and appreciation!