The Influence of Workplace Gratitude
Being responsible for the work life balance, career growth and other non-monetary benefits of the employee concurrently was unheard a decade back in India. There is a growing importance of investing in the emotional well being of an employee, since it directly results in increased performances and higher productivity. The trend is also to put premium on EQ v/s IQ when hiring today.
As per a report on top ten skills in 2020, The Future of Jobs, by World Economic Forum, one of the most heavily demanded social skills is EQ. People with high EQ are able to recognize and manage their own emotions and those of others. In the world of sharing economy, collaborative environments and remote teamwork, it is imperative to be mindful of ones own emotions and that of others who we work with.
The most sought after companies to work for, no longer just seeks doers, they give equal importance to owners and givers. The cultural values of top ranked organizations[i] to work for, consist of high importance on teamwork, making others successful, being empathetic and so on. For instance Intuit[ii], Google[iii] and Facebook[iv], who have been leading the chart for past couple of years lists winning together, creating opportunity for everyone and building social values respectively as one of their core cultural values.
Such organizations are also valued high on creativity, collaboration and work on constant feedback loop. To continue or upswing the curve of high creativity and productivity the engagement of leadership is going through a shift that is to devise an environment for enabling positive psychology that results in employee satisfaction and lower employee attrition.
Motivation is one of the factors that play a key role to encourage appreciation and develop a team with higher EQ. For instance, showing gratitude and saying thank you to employees is a strong booster to directly impact the employee motivation and satisfaction level resulting in better performance and thus improved bottom line.
Showing gratitude, formally or informally on daily or regular basis becomes a part of the culture that results in stronger team bonding and high empathy driven team. As per survey[v] on effectiveness on employee recognition, recognition improves sense of morale, belonging, commitment, satisfaction, and retention, by more than eighty percent and some case up to ninety seven percent.
To motivate, recognize and thank the most valued employees major organizations have annual, mid-yearly and/or monthly events. But that may not be enough to start a new habit of expressing gratitude, for the timely contribution made that may have culminated in intangible happiness. Often small contributions that resulted in smaller win are lost in the hype of bigger wins. There are team celebrations for milestone achievements to motivate members and get ready for the next, but a simple call out of names on regular basis and expressing thank you, can consequence better team relation and contribution.
A simple way to start a culture of gratitude is recognizing and thanking the employees who deserve, on frequent basis. Just like team building activities, expressing gratitude activity across the all-organizational level goes beyond the basic assumptions of employee benefits, engaged work, recreation time and team building activities.
A current proof of improved work place environment due to a habit of expressing gratitude frequently is, Kantar’s Global Delivery Center, which features at position 46 in Top 100 companies to work for in India report by ET[vi] . They are a 2010 based organization with no rank in this list in 2016. What was mentioned by ET and liked by them is that, the company has implemented a concept called Gratitude Week, where employees get to thank those around them, including their drivers, security and housekeeping staff. Predesigned cards are kept in the office, on which employees can write a message and then hand over to the concerned person or stick on the Gratitude Wall. The event is conducted twice a year and close to 5000 cards are printed for the occasion.
In conclusion, a cultural atmosphere of gratitude creates an aura of trust, ownership and happiness that in turn improves emotional quotient, performance and a sense of belonging to the organization. Once gratitude at work becomes a habit, the domino effect can be felt at the social and community level that aids building a core social value of being appreciative.
[v] Saunderson, Roy. (2004). Survey Findings of the Effectiveness of Employee Recognition in the Public Sector. Public Personnel Management. 33. 255-275. 10.1177/009102600403300302.