Santa Claus isn’t just the jolly old fellow who shimmies down chimneys to bring gifts to good children. He’s also an unofficial expert in cultivating workplace gratitude.
Just ask the elves at his toy workshop at the North Pole. They would all agree that Santa is a great boss! Sure, it gets busy in November and December, but Santa knows how to keep his workers happy, productive and engaged — all the while delighting his “customers” around the world with timely, personalized gifts.
All he asks for in return are a few cookies and a glass of milk. Ho ho ho!
Read on to find out what Santa and his elves can teach us about cultivating better workplace gratitude.
1. Work for the greater good
Santa and his elves don’t work for a paycheck. They work to make children happy. Of course, the elves have do have deadlines and production targets, but the end goal is not about numbers.
At the North Pole, everyone works together for the greater good and to bring joy to people around the world.
Wise leaders focus on a purpose bigger than themselves or the organization, writes author Daniel Goleman.
When employees are encouraged to rally around a cause greater than their own paychecks or company profits, their work becomes more than a job. Ideally, the workplace “is an exhilarating situation where people’s best skills are engaged fully, their focus heightened and their labor aligned with their values.”
Such workplaces, Goleman concludes, “are potent magnets for the next generation of remarkable leaders.”
2. Give employees meaningful perks and bonuses
The dining hall at Santa’s workshop features Mrs. Claus’ home-cooked meals and special cookies. When it’s snowy outside and the elves work long hours crafting toys, they appreciate knowing that meals and still-warm cookies await them at break time (served up personally by Mrs. Claus herself!).
Elves’ jobs are secure — children around the world will always want gifts — but back here in real life, in our current economic climate, perks can be the deciding factor for employee retention.
Kimberly Merriman, an assistant professor of management and organization at Pennsylvania State University, tells Incentive that perks, parties and other forms of recognition send a symbolic message.
This message of gratitude, “is especially important to convey if employees have endured a year of no raises, extra workloads, threats of layoff or many of the other conditions common in workplaces right now.”
Not just any perks will do, according to Incentive writer Bruce Shutan. Perks must be tailored to what employees want and shared in a way that is “credible and sincere.”
3. Communicate the impact of your company’s work
Santa travels the world to ask children what they want for Christmas and takes millions of requests via mail, too. Each child’s request is unique and comes with a story and a chance to delight, all of which Santa communicates to his elves.
When Santa keeps his elves in the loop about what children want and why, he fuels their motivation and engages them in their work.
Well-informed employees perform better than those kept in the dark or informed on a “need-to-know” basis, according to a Watson Wyatt survey of 12,205 full-time U.S. workers across all industries and job levels. The survey found that highly engaged workers were much more likely to receive regular direct communication from senior managers.
4. Don’t expect, appreciate!
What does Santa expect? Nothing more than a plate of cookies and a glass of milk! There are no big demands when it comes to Santa’s operation, yet he runs a thriving business that’s lasted generations and shows no signs of slowing down.
His secret may be in his humble approach with everyone he meets. He doesn’t dwell on challenges, like how he’ll manage to visit every child who asks, or complain about the cost of reindeer fuel. He focuses on asking questions, spreading joy and making people laugh.
When it comes to his staff of elves and flying reindeer, he works with them, not above them, and is always the first to say “thank you.” Santa knows that workplace gratitude spreads quickly when leaders set the tone of communication by sharing their appreciation readily.
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
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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