Two Words Can Make a Huge Difference
The workplace is the place you’re least likely to hear the words, “Thank you.” A 2012 study documents that 90% of workers do not show gratitude to their colleagues on a daily basis. And the results are even worse for bosses. Only 7% of workers thank their bosses for anything regularly. That is a pretty sad state of gratitude in American companies.
Statistics document that a workplace environment where people feel gratitude from management and are encouraged to show thankfulness to one another, reduces employee turnover and increases profit. Why then, is it so hard to accomplish? One of the biggest issues is management. As many of us have heard in our careers, the company shows their thankfulness for our efforts in the form of a paycheck. But obviously, that is not enough to motivate people over the longer term. That’s why so many of us think to ourselves at the end of the weekend, “Is it Monday already?”
The best way to begin to change this course is to ask your employees what way they would like to be recognized when management wants to thank them for their efforts. People are not the same and what one person enjoys in terms of thanks may not be accepted the same way by another employee. For example, some people want to be acknowledged in front of other staff, maybe in a team meeting. Others would prefer comp time off to enjoy with their family outside the office. Find out what is important to your staff and figure a way to show gratitude in a way they will really appreciate.
I remember when I started out in my first sales gig. I so craved to be on the top of the stack ranking board. I wanted to earn the glamorous trips the top performers were awarded every year. When I won a trip to London in my second year of sales, I was over the moon with pride and happiness! However, after more than 25 years and hundreds of thousands of miles in travel, the thought of taking a trip with a few hundred of my (not) closest coworker-friends is not something I am thankful for. There are other ways to motivate me as a seasoned sales management person.
Your next best move if you manage a team is to start gradually. If you haven’t been a “thanker’, you can’t just walk in and start showing gratitude to everyone. It will be received as insincere. You need to take baby steps toward gratitude. Start with simple conversations with your team. Or maybe even launch a survey asking your team what they value in terms of recognition and thanks for their efforts.
Be sincere and be realistic. Remember that the most important relationship a person has at work is with their immediate supervisor. Make sure your team knows you care and you appreciate their work. That is the biggest indicator of work happiness. Reduced turnover and increased productivity are the by-products of building a great team based on showing gratitude to one another.
What are your thoughts about showing gratitude at work?