The Practice of Gratitude in the Workplace

The Practice of Gratitude in the Workplace

As individuals in the US are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought I might share some interesting perspectives on gratitude in the workplace.

According to Greater Good Magazine, the practice of gratitude has started to infiltrate workplaces, from new software companies to older institutions like Campbell Soup, whose former CEO wrote 30,000 thank you notes to his employees. Though research on gratitude has exploded over the past two decades, studies of gratitude at work are still somewhat limited. The results so far link it to more positive emotionsless stress and fewer health complaints, a greater sense of confidence in the mission.  It also can help us achieve our goalsfewer sick days, and higher satisfaction with our jobs and our coworkers.

Emerging research suggests that gratitude is revolutionary in the workplace, contributing to the kind of workplace environments where employees actually want to come to work and don’t feel like cogs in a machine.

Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Well-being by Giving Thanks, and a leading researcher on the subject states “Most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement.”  Emmons highlights that gratitude takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships that are mutually reciprocal. “In this sense, it, like other social emotions, gratitude functions to help regulate relationships, solidifying and strengthening them,” he says.

Researchers from the London School of Economics, in analysis of 51 companies, found that while financial incentives can backfire when it comes to motivating employees there is overwhelming evidence that gratitude and appreciation are highly effective motivators for staff.  They found that 80% of employees are willing to work harder for an appreciative boss.

Expressing gratitude is not difficult, but it does require a small bit of time and intentionality.  In this season of thankfulness, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the board members, staff, donors, funders and consumers of The Fedcap Group—for their unwavering commitment of time and talent to doing the right thing, in the right way to achieve the right results.