The Business of Gratitude & Recognition
Gratitude creates a very human connection. It gives people a sense of purpose and accomplishment. This positive recognition increases loyalty, boosts performance and solidifies relationships. The simple act of saying thank you is so powerful. We intuitively understand this in our personal lives but all too often it is over looked at work. Gratitude and recognition can help employees reach their full potential.
Benefits of Gratitude
There are tons of benefits to gratitude. Being grateful should be relatively easy and it pays huge returns. It has a ripple effect. If you show gratitude it makes others want to show it too. Show gratitude to your employees, and they show it to each other and to your customers. It’s a powerful tool that makes people happy, makes them feel valued and appreciated.
Enhances Self Esteem Showing gratitude is a way of taking special notice. This lets people know they are doing a good job. Whether they admit it or not, everyone needs to hear they are doing a good job and saying thank you is an easy and effective way to say it. It lets people know their work is valued. When people feel valued it increases their self esteem and they just want more. Win win.
Improves Performance With greater self esteem, performance is improved. It feels great to be in an environment where your work is valued and your contribution is appreciated. You are actually grateful to do all you can to help. You are motivated because people notice what your are doing and show gratitude. It’s important for leaders, employees, clients and vendors. Attitudes improve and positivity increases. Best of all it’s contagious. “Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.” - Harvard Health Publishing
Boosts Empathy and Collaboration When employees see leaders displaying gratitude they show it to each other. They see people acting with humanity and respond in kind. This builds an environment of trust and helps strengthen collaboration. With better collaboration comes boosted problem solving. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
Builds Trust and Relationships With empathy comes trust. Consistent and genuine gratitude lets people know you are supportive and that you value their contributions. From trust, strong relationships are born. This leads to better collaboration and greater innovation. Rinse and repeat.
Reduces Stress Stress does have its benefits. You only grow when you step out of your comfort zone. Facing new challenges can be stressful, but ultimately you gain from it. That being said, other types of stress can lead to lower quality of life and diminished health. A toxic boss, cutthroat co-workers, unreasonable demands, and ambiguity are just a few examples. Luckily some properly delivered gratitude can make it all seem better. A sincere thank you from a leader, client or a co-worker can revive lost drive. Gratitude is a like a light in the darkness.
Good for your health Obviously lower stress is good for your health. Gratitude is also scientifically proven to be have other healthy benefits. According to Amy Morin of Psychology Today,“Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people… gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret… and recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.” So basically, being grateful helps you physically, mentally and emotionally. Studies show writing down a few things you are grateful for before bed every night can even help you sleep better.
How to Show Gratitude
Now you know the benefits of gratitude. It’s good for people and it’s good for business. But how do you show it? How do you unlock the potential to build relationships, boost collaboration and improve performance? Quick hint, it’s not something you do begrudgingly or half heartedly. Put some thought into it. If you want to build trust and relationships make it authentic and sincere. People can tell the difference. It’s about increasing a positive environment. So do this often and make part of how you conduct yourself everyday. Here are some simple ways to show people gratitude.
Tell Them By simply having a sincere conversation with someone you can express empathy and gratitude. Human connection is so important. At Buttonwood, it’s a core company value.
Send a Note Everyone enjoys a good thank you note. It’s personal and makes a connection. It shows appreciation. Taking the time to express gratitude and write it down means a lot. It’s also very easy and makes a lasting impression. You can send an e-mail, write a letter or just leave a sticky note. At Buttonwood, our clients often have us include notes to the recipients, whether they be employees or clients, in recognition of the team’s effort and achievement. So go ahead make that authentic connection.
Give a Gift Who doesn’t want a gift? This a great way to show gratitude. It can be anything, but again gratitude is about connection, recognition and appreciation. The more personal the gift the better. Full disclaimer: This is what we do. The corporate gifts, deal toys and mementos Buttonwood makes serve the dual purpose of showing gratitude and marking high achievements. Our Fortune 50 clients take pride in the gifts we create for them to give to their hard working teams and clients. It’s a customized thank you, given and received with gratitude.
Present an Award Awards are a great way to say thank you for a job well done. Internal awards showcase achievement and innovation in different departments within a company, offering insight into how people work and excel companywide. Outside awards recognize collaboration and achievement externally. Both types of awards exemplify gratitude and provide inspiration and motivation. At Buttonwood we help companies present gratitude as an award everyday.
Encourage Employees to Thank Each Other You can set up a system. It can be as simple as collecting handwritten thank you notes. You can display them somewhere in the office to build a culture of gratitude. They should be directed at individuals, but can be anonymous. For example: “Neil, Thanks for going above and beyond and taking the lead on learning and teaching the new 3D program.” Or “Allie, Thank you for doing everything you can make sure the design team understands what the clients want out of their deal toy.” Your system can be as simple or complex as you desire, just make it clear that gratitude is encouraged.
Having the opportunity and ability to foster gratitude is beneficial in so many ways, both personally and from a business perspective. It promotes health, relieves stress, builds trust, and boosts self esteem. Gratitude drives performance, strengthens relationships, and enables empathy and collaboration. We have so much to be thankful for, just take the time to express it. Thanks for reading.
Links and References
Why Expressing Gratitude Is Crucial In Business, Michael Kay
Expressing Gratitude, Giorgia Guazzarotti
Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier, Harvard Health Publishing
We are the company behind the world's most beautiful awards, deal toys, mementos, and corporate gifts. For over 10 years, Buttonwood has designed iconic awards for the most storied names on Wall Street. Our custom deal toys and mementos are designed in our studio in New York and can be shipped anywhere in the world. We are a women owned business and we have been at this for a while.