The No. 1 reason that people leave jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated, reports Inc. magazine, citing a Gallup study of 15 million workers. Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, burnout, absenteeism and turnover, says Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at University of California, Davis, in The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing for Giving Thanks.
Working in the professional staffing industry for more than two decades, I witness firsthand how company dynamics make a difference. At ConsultNet, we formally embraced gratitude as a way of doing business this year, and it has changed our culture.
The Power of Gratitude on the Job
A ton of scientific research reports how gratitude positively impacts the workplace, including:
- Improved productivity – based on job satisfaction and motivation
- Stronger relationships – reciprocity within in-house teams, customers, clients and vendors
- Enhanced well-being – gratitude boosts dopamine, resulting in fewer sick days, greater optimism and increased energy
- Better stress management – more resiliency
- Increased career opportunities – stimulates decision-making, networking, self-efficacy
Gratitude is more than appreciation. It’s not some token gestures or company trinkets, or a compulsory program that employees perceive as one more obligation. It can’t just be standard performance recognition, but instead should authentically communicate value to employees for who they are, beyond what they have accomplished. Not forced, silly or sappy. Simply genuine.
My journey began with the Five-Minute Journal, which is based on psychology research and recommends starting and ending each day by acknowledging gratitude for specific people, situations, experiences, things and more. After five days, this became a habit, and I was sharing my new playbook with ConsultNet, my family and kids.
Although it’s a quick thing, the journal really keeps me more positive – especially in a tough business where work isn’t always easy, and I can go from a high to a low with one phone call. I now have the power to change my focus, be more mindful and take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity my job provides to change lives.
I’ve found that expressing and receiving appreciation makes people want to work harder. It changes perspective and sets a bar, so that we are more motivated with our colleagues and clients. Once you express gratitude, they, in turn don’t want to let you down.
When I had lunch the other day with a client of ours, she made it a point to sincerely thank me for some specific reasons, which was so great. You can bet now that I’m going to work even harder to keep exceeding her expectations.
The emphasis on gratitude in our ConsultNet office in New York City has made the team more insightful and reflective, both individually and as a group. So now we are connecting on a deeper level.
Of course, some believers totally buy into this, and others not so much. What’s great is that it only takes a few people in each office to make a difference.
My perspective: grateful people are happy. Happy people are successful. And successful people drive business. You can tell when people are happy, and that fosters energy. Those are the people you want to work with.
Put another way by high-performance coach Robin Sharma: “Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world.”