In America, it’s Thanksgiving today, a day to celebrate all that we are thankful for with our families. There’s one place that being thankful and grateful doesn’t happen very often. I’m talking about the workplace.
Managers would be wise to learn more about the power of gratitude and how a few simple words can make a world of difference in employee’s engagement levels.
I want to take this opportunity to educate managers as best as possible about the power of gratitude, using science-based research to show why it’s so important.
Companies should conduct an employee engagement survey to see how much employees are being thanked for the work they do.
Hopefully, you’re reading this post at home, enjoying time with your family and being thankful for all that is good in your life.
Gratitude Makes Us More Helpful
In a 2010 study by behavioral scientists Francesca Gino and Adam Grant, they wanted to see what the impact of receiving gratitude can be on a person’s behavior.
In the study, participants were asked to give feedback on a fictional student’s cover letter. After the feedback had been received, the participants got a reply asking for feedback on a second cover letter.
Half of the participants got an email with no gratitude, simply asking for a second review, and the other half got an email expressing gratitude for completing the first review.
The results were fascinating.
32% of the No Gratitude group provided feedback on the second cover letter, while 66% of the Gratitude group sent more feedback.
Here’s where the study gets really interesting.
The next day, the participants got a request from a completely different person whom they’ve never interacted with before. In this scenario 25% of the original No Gratitude group offered to help the new student, while 55% of the original Gratitude group offered to help, even though they had never met this person before.
The effects of receiving gratitude carried over into the next day and made them more willing to help others.
Lack Of Gratitude At Work
According to a survey of 2,000 Americans released by the John Templeton Foundation, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. And they’re not thankful for their current jobs, ranking them dead last in a list of things they’re grateful for.
Almost all respondents reported that saying “thank you” to colleagues “makes me feel happier and more fulfilled.”
But here’s the strange part. On a given day, only 10 percent say thank you to colleagues. Another crazy statistic from the survey found that 60 percent said they “either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.”
Something I found very interesting from the survey was that only those who earned $150,000 or more were likely to express any gratitude for their jobs.
One reason for this is that managers are less likely to give gratitude than employees. In a study published last year, researchers found that people with power tended to believe others thanked them mainly to kiss up to them, not out of authentic feeling.
As a result of this cynicism, managers are less likely to express gratitude.
Gratitude Is Free And Has Health Benefits
Saying “thank you” doesn’t cost a penny and has significant, measurable effects.
In a series of four experiments by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino (mentioned earlier), they found that “thank you” from a supervisor gave people a stronger sense of self-worth.
The study also revealed that people become more trusting with each other, and are more likely to help each other out.
There is an interactive gratitude journal called Thx4.org, where people would keep a log of gratitude along with their happiness and wellness levels.
After looking at the data, the greater the number of gratitude experiences people had on a given day, the better they felt.
People who kept at it for at least two weeks showed significantly increased happiness, greater satisfaction with life, and higher resilience to stress; this group even reported fewer headaches and illnesses.
To any manager reading this, you need to be thanking your employees for their work. The effect it will have on their morale and productivity is huge.