Gratitude is More than a Platitude--It's a Smart Business Strategy

By Ann
November 12, 2013

Writing in the Harvard Business Review Blog (January 23, 2012), Tony Schwartz cites a worldwide survey conducted by Towers Watson. The survey states, “The single biggest driver of engagement is whether or not workers feel their managers are genuinely interested in their well being.” Would it surprise you to learn that less than 40% of workers feel so engaged?

With such a low level of engagement, people do not feel appreciated. They do not feel valued for their contribution the success of the organization. The bad news is that they leave to work other places and the worse news is that they stay to bring down morale in your business.

How could an organization develop such a culture? Some managers have the attitude that a paycheck is appreciation enough. Others believe their people know they are appreciated and it is not necessary to express it.

For some, they do not know how to express heartfelt thanks for good work. They don’t have the language or at least are not comfortable with the language. After all, work is about work and emotions have no place in business.

I remember how surprised I was to hear an employee say to me, “You never say ‘thank you’ for anything that I do.” I did not realize she felt unappreciated. Although it was a bit uncomfortable, I was glad to learn how she felt. It made such an impression on me that I cross-stitched these words to remind me, “Hearts, like doors, will open with ease to very, very little keys. Two of these are ‘Thank you’ and ‘If you please.’” I framed this and see it daily.

 A gratitude practice is a smart business strategy especially if building a team of engaged, high-performing players is important to you.  Begin with these simple steps to create a culture of gratitude:

  1. Lead the way. Each day keep a log of 3 – 5 things for which you are grateful personally and professionally.
  1. Start small. A simple, “Thank you,” or “I appreciate your efforts” can mean the world to someone.
  1. Be specific. Note specifically what you appreciate. This indicates that you are paying attention and understand the value.
  1. Use creative approaches. If your business is large enough, go down several levels to find something to appreciate. By enlisting the help of someone to inform you of what warrants appreciation, your cohort focuses on the positive, too. A double play.
  1. Pay attention.  Notice what is meaningful to other people. Would someone prefer a gift given in his honor to a charitable organization that supports a cause he believes in?
  1. Make it authentic. Sincerity has a ring of truth to it. It is a powerful connector.

Gratitude makes business sense. Appreciate your people for the unique value they bring to your business. When they feel appreciated, they are more likely to perform their best work in the service of your customers. Customers that feel appreciated enjoy doing business with you. Gratitude is more than a platitude. It is a smart business strategy.

© 2013 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved


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