Are you an “egoist” or an “altruist”? These are not simply discretionary labels applied to certain personality types. They are scientific terms being investigated by reputable researchers across the globe. Gratitude is no longer just a word to describe a human emotion. It’s a science. And, has implications to the importance of your employee thank you gifts and workplace recognition. There is documented evidence that, contrary to Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” model, human beings are actually born with an inherent giving nature that can be detected, measured and encouraged.
In the 1800’s, economist John Stuart Mill claimed that man, by nature “does only that by which he can obtain the greatest amount of necessities”. In the 1980’s, Dr. Jordan Grafman, while working with returning veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., began to see evidence that proved otherwise. His early hypothesis was that returning soldiers showing little ability to show empathy might have detectable damage done to certain areas of the brain.
Lacking the technology at the time to prove his theory, Dr. Grafman gathered data and, in the mid 2000’s, while working for the National Institute of Health, used newly developed fMRI technology to track blood flow in certain areas of the brain while subjects were engaged in specific activities, focusing on empathy and charitable giving. Not surprisingly, he found that areas of the mid-brain lit up when his patients were engaged in the act of charitable giving.
What does this have to do with Employee Thank You Gifts?
Dr. Grafman’s study revealed that the subgenual area, the same part of the brain that controls cravings for food, came alive when his subjects gave to charity. But what does that have to do with giving employee thank you gifts? It proves that gratitude is not something that needs to be forced. It’s present in all of us and simply needs to be discovered and allowed to flourish. Once located and applied, it gives the gift giver a feeling of contentment (leading to satisfaction, happiness, feelings of goodwill). That’s the benefit to you – the employer.
Keeping the scientific research in mind, what do you think it would do to your company if everyone had that giving spirit? What starts at the top should eventually trickle down to the rank and file. Progressive companies are finding ways to award achievement and productivity, with those awards not always coming directly from ownership. Managers, supervisors, HR directors, and even employees can recognize their co-workers with acknowledgements or even thank you gifts.
Additional Evidence and Creating a Workplace Culture of Gratitude
Initiating and cultivating gratitude programs in your company creates a culture that will allow the entire company to experience what Dr. Grafman has documented in his studies. Are you skeptical that everyone will “buy in” to this approach? According to Dr. Bill Harbough, a University of Oregon Economist who conducted his own study on gratitude, it is indeed built-in to all of us, even those whose personal circumstances have left them with little empathy for others.
In Dr. Harbough’s study, completed in the 1990’s, he took a group of law school graduates and studied the effects of both voluntary and involuntary giving. He set minimum gift amounts on certain charities and found that, in these cases, an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens lit up, releasing dopamine. When summarizing his experiment he wrote, “There’s some primary reward people get from seeing their money go to provide to other people.” Research confirms it makes both the giver and the receiver feel good.
That’s what gift giving is all about.
To learn more tips to building a culture of appreciation. click the image below to download our FREE eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” Now!
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
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