Could your business benefit from:
- Increased loyalty?
- Higher productivity?
- Fewer sick days?
- A positive attitude?
An important key to gaining these advantages is simple…and in many ways free: Gratitude.
A Harvard Mental Health Letter summarizes the findings of several academic studies on the impact of gratitude in our personal lives and in the workplace, and overall, the results are quite astounding.
Gratitude and your team
Since many of you are bottom-line oriented – and rightfully so – let me start with one of the most impressive findings. Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania did a study on a group of university fundraisers. They were doing their yearly calls to alumni to request donations.
One group went through the school’s traditional briefing. A second group received a pep talk from the director of annual giving where she told them how much she was grateful for the work they did. The two groups worked on different days and the group that received the pre-fundraising gratitude raised 50 percent more in donations.
Could 50 percent more sales be waiting for you in the marketplace if you begin expressing your gratitude for the work your sales reps and others in support of sales and service do? I don’t know the exact number, but I’m confident that your revenue will increase.
At the top, I mentioned increased loyalty. Studies have found that expressions of gratitude strengthen bonds. People feel more positive toward one another. In your business, if the members of your team feel more positive about you, they will feel more positive about your business.
We always say that people don’t conduct business with companies, they conduct business with people. The same thing is true for workers. People don’t work with a company, they work with people, and if they have positive feelings about the people they work for and with, their loyalty will be increased.
Over the last few years we have repeatedly beat the drum signaling the importance of employee loyalty. It leads to creating brand ambassadors, less turnover, and a more exciting business environment.
While I recommend paid incentive programs, including bonuses, I believe the most powerful praise is simply expressing your appreciation for the people you work with. If your family is anything like mine, you probably grew up hearing advice and instruction like, “It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.” Expressing your gratitude is a fundamental part of being nice.
Put your gratitude into words. Express your thanks and admiration for work well done. Write notes. Single out individuals and teams in company newsletters and even on your website. Make it real. Don’t have an “employee of the month” and merely rotate the honor around your crew. The point is to make it a habit so that it comes automatically – that’s when you begin to foster an environment where gratitude is an essential component.
Gratitude and you
So far, we’ve discussed using gratitude to bolster your team. However, there’s a personal side to this as well. Studies find that people who take time to appreciate the positive aspects of their lives are happier, healthier, and have more positive attitudes. Each of these three attributes can play a big role in improving your ability to lead your business. Obviously, fewer trips to the doctor translates to less lost time. But perhaps even more important is that a positive attitude enables you to better cope with the struggles and setbacks every business experiences.
The problem is that we tend to get so burdened by the requirements and stresses of our daily routines that our gratitude gets buried. We need to take time to lift gratitude up to the surface. You can do this through a journal or simply some dedicated moments of reflection each day. Consider all the things, events, and people that are positive forces in your life.
Finally, encourage those on your team to do the same. Instruct them in the power of gratitude. Let them understand what a positive influence it will be on their lives and their relationships. When you get your team powered by gratitude, you unleash a force that can push your business through adversity and propel it into profits.