What are you grateful for? Your family and friends. Perhaps you also think of your community, your home, your good health, your good fortune. You may immediately or immediately think of your job, your colleagues, or your organizational culture.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many people reflect on the experiences and people they are grateful for in their personal lives. Despite the complex and for many, painful colonial history of this holidayit remains a constant reminder of the power and weight of gratitude.
For bosses and leaders, in particular, it may be time to bring this message back into the workplace when the Thanksgiving break is over, long after the pies and stuffing have been eaten and the best dishes have been packed away for another day. For years, organizational psychologists have studied the deep connection between workplace appreciation and business success.
Estimate by the numbers
Report from an ongoing collaboration between Gallup and Workhuman has consistently found that when employees experience gratitude and recognition for their work, business results follow, improving everything from productivity to employee retention and profitability. Here are some measurable ways a culture of appreciation drives results.
1. $92 million in employee output
Joint report by Gallup and Workhuman published in early 2023 found that a typical 10,000-person company with a strong culture of gratitude is expected to gain an increase in productivity of nearly $92 million. Gains are even sharper for companies in the technology and financial sectors. A similar sample company is also expected to save $16.1 million in improved employee retention and reduced turnover.
2. 24% more motivated than a raise
ONE report by Deloitte on the power of workplace appreciation found that 47% of workers were most motivated by a growth opportunity – a form of recognition – compared to just 23% most motivated by a raise. The numbers are even higher among younger members of the workforce. 51% of Millennials prefer growth opportunities to pay raises or other forms of recognition.
3. 4x Improvement in Engagement
Research by Blueboard and Wakefield Research found that employees at companies with strong recognition cultures are more than four times more likely to report that employees at their company are fully engaged in their work. Conversely, employees who reported a weak appreciation culture at work were also significantly more likely to report low commitment.
How to practice appreciation at work.
About 2 out of 3 employees don’t feel adequately valued at work today. there is much that managers and leaders can do to move the needle.
just say “thank you”
84% of employees say they would be satisfied with a simple “thank you” in recognition of their hard work, whether expressed orally or in writing. Many employees find appreciation from managers and leadership more impactful, but they also feel motivated by appreciation from peers. When managers model gratitude as a daily practice, it is more likely to be widely adopted throughout the organizational culture.
Practical Recognition and Assessment
Recognition is generally more formal and may be linked to total rewards in the form of raises, bonuses and promotions. It generally falls to managers, senior leaders and HR to deliver. While recognition is very important, appreciation is less hierarchical and, when practiced, is more likely to become an organizational norm. Appreciation can take the form of shout-outs, simple thanks, or showing off a specific project or result, among other practices.
Guided by Example
Changes in leadership behavior have been shown to fundamentally change the values of the entire organization. When leaders and managers take the time to express their appreciation, both publicly and privately, those who notice or receive that gratitude are more likely to continue to do the same for others.
Create opportunities for appreciation
A study from the University of Colorado found that co-workers are kinder to each other when asked to keep a personal gratitude journal. Top structured appreciation exercises can have a similar impact, as can creating clear rules for expressing recognition — like a Slack channel dedicated to shouting out a teammate’s contributions.
Create a culture of trust and connection
An organizational culture with close interpersonal ties and a sense of mutual trust and security is highly correlated with a strong experience of appreciation. It’s a virtuous circle, where expressing appreciation breeds trust and security, and a stronger sense of trust prompts people to express their appreciation for one another more readily.
Why is appreciation important right now?
Eucharist is a great reminder to be grateful for our colleagues, our organizations and all that we do for each other. It’s also timely for another reason: rates of burnout, stress, and overwhelm can be especially high in the run-up to the holiday season, which, of course, coincides with the end of the calendar year. People experience high levels of year-end stress, deadline pressure, and budget constraints, along with the personal stress associated with balancing vacation and taking significant amounts of PTO.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to show our team members how much they are appreciated and start fostering healthy practices and rituals around recognition that will last long after the end of the fourth trimester. After all, this may be the season of gratitude, but appreciation has a big impact on the workforce year-round.