Last week, we discussed how to show gratitude to customers and clients. The necessity of doing so makes perfect sense, since customers who feel appreciated and special will generally keep doing business with you. But, what about the other half of that equation? I’m talking about your employees and even your contractors or vendors. How often do you show them your gratitude and is there a benefit to doing so?

Heck, yes, there’s a benefit! These are the people who make your business possible! You should be thankful for them!

Emotions and Buckets

Gratitude is considered a social emotion because it has the ability to affect relationships. It’s also a positive emotion, strengthening and deepening those relationships. Why is it so effective?

Because it forces us to recognize our value and it replenishes the soul.

Every day we are bombarded with the negative. Negative images, negative thoughts and negative comments. There’s a tendency in our culture to focus on what went wrong rather than what went right. It is absolutely soul-killing. Gratitude is the key to counteracting all of this negative.

I love the bucket analogy of Tom Rath’s book How Full is Your Bucket?. There’s even a kid’s version. Basically, we all walk around every day with an invisible bucket and a dipper. When the bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel empty, sad, and negative. Our actions and interactions either add to the bucket or take from it. You fill your bucket by being kind, expressing thanks and gratitude, and other positive experiences. You deplete your bucket by criticizing others, diminishing them, or being negative. But our actions don’t only affect our own buckets, they affect the buckets of others too. So when you chastise an employee, out comes the dipper to scoop away some of the positive in both buckets. When you offer praise and gratitude, the dipper adds to the buckets.

Everything we say and do to other people affect their buckets as well as our own – for better or for worse.

Gratitude is the easiest, simplest, and most effective way to keep buckets replenished, employees motivated and happy, and business owners successful.

7 Ways That Gratitude Helps The Business

  1. It Reduces Turnover. It’s been said that bad jobs don’t drive people out, bad managers do. Most people can put up with just about anything if they feel appreciated. People who don’t feel appreciated at work express the most dissatisfaction, don’t stay very long, and tend to burn out.
  2. It Builds Trust and Improves the Culture. Who would you rather work for? The person who expresses gratitude for your work or the one for whom you can never do anything right? Constantly belittling employees drags the entire culture down. By contrast, constantly building them up creates a more harmonious workplace; one where people want to be.
  3. It Is Motivating and Promotes Excellence. When you are valued and recognized for doing well, you want to keep doing well. Employees will push themselves harder and want to do more when they know what they offer is valued and appreciated.
  4. It’s A Terrific Teambuilder. Positive environments build stronger teams than negative environments. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to build honest, trustworthy relationships with colleagues when there is a culture of mistrust and negativity.
  5. It Helps Us Handle the Negative. Having a bucketful of positive experiences to fall back on makes it easier to handle the negatives when they inevitably crop up.
  6. Gratitude Begets Gratitude. Expressing gratitude leads to reciprocity. If you are on the receiving end of gratitude, you’re more likely to also express gratitude towards others. This is key to building a happier, more harmonious work culture.

Express Your Gratitude

Many small businesses simply can’t compete with the bigger companies in terms of financial incentives and fancy employee recognition programs, but keeping employees happy does not have to come down to the dollar. How often have you heard the expression “a little goes a long way”? When it comes to gratitude that is definitely the case.

You can show your gratitude by:

  • Calling out people for doing things right as opposed to pointing out when they do something wrong.
  • Make expressing gratitude a daily habit. Don’t wait for a crisis to thank an employee.
  • Say thank you. Acknowledge a kind act. Lend a helping hand.
  • Be genuine in your expressions of gratitude. Don’t do it just for the sake of doing it.

Employees who feel valued are more content to stay in place, do their best, and go above and beyond – for you and your customers. There’s something inherently social about people. We want people to love us. We want to be praised. We want to be valued. Provide it and you’ll reap the rewards!

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