Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are one of the first few things we’re taught as children, yet the practice seems to somehow get lost in the workplace.
“Many leaders hesitate to show their appreciation [because] they wonder why they should show gratitude just because an employee does his job,” wrote business psychologist Amy Morin in Forbes.
Other leaders also worry that employees might expect something in return (such as a raise) when they’re thanked for a job well done.
Morin said there are five benefits to showing gratitude in the workplace, according to scientific research:
- An increase in productivity: Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (UP) conducted an experiment on fundraising callers and found that grateful leaders were able to motivate their employees to make 50% more successful calls;
- Improvement in well-being: Genuinely grateful people “have lower blood pressure, improved immunity, and healthier hearts”.
- For building mental strength: Gratitude makes people better-equipped to handle stress, according to the University of Warwick’s researchers.
- Creating a ripple effect: “Showing gratitude towards someone is likely to inspire that person to thank other people”.
- An increase in job satisfaction: Workers that feel appreciated in the workplace are more likely to manifest those positive reinforcements to their job.
However, Morin warned that employees would also know when the gratitude shown is not genuine.
“Thanking people simply because a project is complete or because you feel put on the spot won’t do anyone any good. Gratitude needs to be authentic,” she said.
“Forced fun and generic platitudes don’t help people feel truly appreciated.”
She suggested being specific about the worker’s accomplishments when showing appreciation during a meeting, but to also be mindful about your employee’s need for privacy as some would not appreciate being thanked in public.
If that’s the case, a simple email or handwritten ‘thank you’ note would suffice, she said.
“That simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way to improving your company’s culture,” she added.