Employers often forget how powerful saying thank you can be in transforming their companies. A pre-planned, uptight thank you means nothing to your employees and doesn’t count, of course. A sincere, spontaneous, detailed thank you that singles out employees encourages them to take pride in their work and do even more. This kind of gratitude produces unexpected effects when accompanied with a good dose of empathy and altruism.
The Positive Effects of Gratitude
You can’t imagine how drastically a simple thank you can change things with your employees. Individual and collective gratitude in the workplace affects three different levels.
1) Employee morale
A 2020 study by Welcome to the Jungle shows that signs of appreciation from their employer are essential for 40% of employees. Thanking your employees for their hard work or efficiency has a direct impact on their individual well-being. Being recognised for what you bring to the company and receiving a compliment for a perfectly executed task improves self-esteem and self-confidence. Did your teams work tirelessly on an important company project? Thank them! Have you identified a model employee? Let them know that you appreciate their hard work and congratulate them for the care they take in each task. These signs of appreciation encourage your employees and increase their investment in their work.
2) Work environment
More generally speaking, encouragement reverberates throughout the entire company. A happy employee transmits their good mood to their surroundings, especially their colleagues, which creates other employees that are happy to come to the office and work hard for their employer. Tasks take place in a healthy, pleasant and friendly environment, where teamwork reigns among employees. Practising saying thank you removes all tension from relationships between managers and employees because it instils a culture of mutual gratitude. Employees feel safe psychologically, which improves their well-being at work. Some companies, like Smith and Wilkinson, who well understand the power of thank you, have developed leadership coaching primarily based on expressing gratitude to employees.
3) Company productivity
Did you know that the feeling of being appreciated affects the brain? It stimulates certain brain regions and boosts production of dopamine, the happiness and well-being hormone. This leads to a drop in anxiety, better sleep quality and increased vitality: a winning mix for productivity at your company. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business School in 2016, 39% of employees are discouraged by a boss that doesn’t react to their efforts, which makes them more likely to quit. Beyond the financial benefits, appreciation considerably reduces turn-over rates.
How Can You Instil the Thank You Culture?
To demonstrate your satisfaction to your employees, don’t only draw on your benefits programme. It is an important part of your recognition programme, but must be paired with small, more spontaneous actions.
1) Give personalised thanks
Employees often tend to respond to work well done with a financial bonus, but it is also important to express your satisfaction with words. An unannounced encouraging email, a surprise individual meeting in your office or a verbal sign of recognition in the hallway can make your employee’s day. Always choose a specific behaviour or success and don’t wait for the end-of-year company party to thank your employees.
2) Plan appreciation rituals
Make appreciation a part of your company culture by creating specific company events. Organise a Good Feedback day where you congratulate each other. You can also improvise toasts to celebrate your teams’ victories or set aside 10 minutes at the end of your weekly meeting to allow employees to say thank you. This is a great opportunity to see quieter employees under a different light that you may have not thought to congratulate.
3) Give value to skills
What if you thanked employees who have done satisfying work by giving them more responsibility? There is no better proof of trust than putting deserving employees on more ambitious projects or including them in making essential decisions for your company. This is a great way to highlight their skills and let all teams know it.
4) Give out rewards
Thanks is great, but if you include a gift, that’s even better. Use a benefits platform like Swibeco to easily reward your employees and spice up your signs of appreciation.