Today is World Gratitude Day! Celebrated every Sept. 21, it’s a holiday started by the United Nations more than 40 years ago. It’s also known as the International Day of Peace.
In the workplace, World Gratitude Day is for celebrating the power of “Thank You” — from company leaders to employees, between coworkers, from employees to customers and, ultimately, as a building block for a culture of gratitude.
The scientific argument for showing more gratitude in the workplace is strong and backed by rigorous research.
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of gratitude and the ill effects of a lack of gratitude — job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, burnout, gossip, negativity and exploitation.
But one of the best arguments we’ve heard for thanking employees is actually personal.
“No, I Won’t Thank My Employees for Doing Their Job,” is a Forbes column by Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace and author of the Reinvention Roadmap.
The column is Ryan’s response to a manager who thinks he shouldn’t have to thank his employees because “it’s a business relationship.”
The manager tells Ryan, “Maybe I am a cynic but I don’t understand why I need to thank someone for doing their job. My employees get paid.”
“No one thanks me for doing my job. We are adults. Isn’t it appreciation enough for me to give someone a paycheck every two weeks?” he asks.
Her response is perfect.
Why You Need to Thank Employees on World Gratitude Day (and Every Day!)
What’s so great about Ryan’s response to the manager is that she doesn’t berate him for his callous attitude. She sympathizes with him.
For me the most important line in your letter is this: “No one thanks me for doing my job.” That is a shame. It is okay to be sad when you work hard and don’t feel appreciated.
Her response gets to the heart of why it’s so important to create a culture of gratitude that extends to every department and level of a business operation.
Managers who don’t feel appreciated (an awful feeling!) won’t be very willing extend gratitude to their employees. Ryan writes:
When you say “No one thanks me for doing my job” you suggest that you might appreciate a little more recognition — because it hurts to be unappreciated.
That’s an emotional reaction on your part — and a completely reasonable one. It’s okay to be human at work. It’s essential, in fact!
But for workplace leaders, the solution isn’t to demand more appreciation. It’s to give it. Leadership sets the tone for the workplace. When leaders exude gratitude, it sets off a chain reaction that builds a culture of gratitude that eventually circles back and betters the workplace for everyone.
Ryan calls on the manager to make this first step toward building a culture of gratitude.
They say the best remedy for hurt feelings is to work out the emotions by helping someone else. You can look at your effort to thank and acknowledge your employees as a step on a new path — one that will enrich you as much as it does them.
She admits it may be hard at first to extend these Thank You’s, but it’s the best way forward.
You are learning to step out of fear and into trust. Millions of people around the world have business relationships that are also warm and friendly. That is the best way to work!
In the end, employees deserve appreciation. Everyone deserves appreciation. And the price is right, Ryan writes.
It costs you nothing. It builds trust and makes people feel better. Why withhold the gift of recognition, only because you don’t get enough recognition yourself? … Your employees work hard. They are humans, and humans thrive on reinforcement.
What a wonderful sentiment and inspiration. Happy World Gratitude Day, everyone!
FREE eBook: “Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude”
Creating a culture of gratitude is a daily practice. For inspiration on building workplace gratitude every day of the year, download our free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude.” It’s full of practical learning that you can start putting to use today. Learn from positive psychology and leadership experts how to build and sustain a workplace culture of gratitude that attracts employees and customers.
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