Google “gratitude in business” and you’ll wind up with thousands of results. And not just because it’s November – a month in which the topic is top of mind for Americans preparing to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s because, as it turns out, gratitude is good for business. And that is because, as neuroscientists have discovered, gratitude actually changes our brains.
According to a Huffington Post round-up on gratitude and the brain, here are three of 10 ways gratitude affects our performance at work:
Gratitude improves social behaviors which makes it easier to network. Studies show that those who are 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.
Gratitude stimulates goal achievement. In one study, participants instructed to keep a gratitude journal for two months reported more progress toward their goals.
Gratitude enhances decision making.
Expressing gratitude in the workplace helps leaders create connections (between actions and outcomes, effort and performance) and build relationships (among team members and with others more far-flung in the organization).
Like working any muscle, with repeated practice, the behavior becomes more natural. Here are three ways to make the most out of the gratitude you offer every day – in person, by phone or via a hand-written note:
Be specific about what you’re thankful for, e.g. “Thank you for taking the recent uptick in cost of quality so seriously, and for the focused analysis you provided in your process review.”
Explain what you liked or the next steps, e.g. “I learned two things from the perspective you provided and believe we can make significant progress in reducing defects.”
Continue to build the relationship, e.g. “I’ll take this work forward to the Quality Council and let you know what next steps we put in place.”
Research shows that those who practice gratitude every day live longer, sleep better, experience increased productivity and live happier lives.
We could all use more gratitude in our lives, and especially in the workplace. My challenge to you… smile more and thank someone today.
Here’s a look at what some of our team members are thankful for:
A Gallup Business Journal article states that “only about one-third of U.S. workers are engaged at work and just 13% of employees worldwide are engaged.” That’s a problem – especially since engagement has a direct effect on business results. Compared to their less engaged counterparts, companies that rank high for employee engagement are:
- 21% more profitable
- 17% more productive
- have 10% better customer ratings
- experience 41% less absenteeism and
- suffer 70% fewer safety incidents
So how do you create engagement? Leadership communication is key.
Research shows a culture where leaders demonstrate trust, fairness and open communication are most effective at attracting and retaining top talent.
Where to start? Bite off one big initiative at a time. Here are five tips from Aon on how to build a strong culture of engagement:
- How You Operate: Reduce frustration…people want work that is enabled by the right resources and tools. Set them up for success. Make sure employees have what they need to get their jobs done — equipment, training, tools and resources, and a clear understanding of the task, the process and expectations.
- How You Communicate: Create a magnetic employer brand that attracts and motivates. Do you have an employee value proposition? Does your communication strategy embody your organization’s values and mission/vision? Do employees understand and connect with your strategy? Do you use your external marketing messages internally? Do you use storytelling to inspire and motivate?
- How You Compensate and Acknowledge: Pay and recognize people in alignment with individual and company performance.
- How You Develop: Build a clear path and options for horizontal or vertical growth.
- How You Strengthen Relationships: Provide opportunities and feedback that enables talent to grow and develop. What can you do – within your team – to enable productivity by making sure people have the tools and resources to get the work done? How can you connect your work with the strategy and business outcomes? How can you provide strengthen your team by providing feedback and opportunities for open conversation?
Every organization is different. Where would you start? What are you hearing and seeing? If you’d like to start a conversation on where you would start, contact me at email@example.com.