Menu Close

How gratitude can foster engagement

With 2/3 of the workplace lacking commitment and motivation the need to boost productivity and performance by fostering greater engagement is critical.

“When you appreciate everything you have, what you have appreciates,” – Tal Ben Shahar.

If the statistics are to be believed around two thirds of the working population lack commitment, enthusiasm or loyalty to their employer and their work.

This implies the need to foster and sustain greater engagement to elevate productivity, performance and profitability and drive down the human costs of high staff turnover, absenteeism, presenteeism is critical.

While no one solution can solve all the ills of the modern workplace, one strategy shown to boost engagement, that’s backed up by the science is gratitude.

Why fostering gratitude boosts engagement.

We teach our kids to remember to say please and thank you but these societal norms sometimes get forgotten at work. They matter because they address the fundamentals of what we seek as humans; to know we are safe and to feel rewarded.

The need to ‘belong’ and feel our work is valuable is a powerful driver that strengthens relationships, motivates greater discretionary effort and fosters pride in our work.

Gratitude is the safety net and gift. When we are thanked for doing great work, for going out of our way to help a colleague or going the extra mile in customer service, we boost our level of social cohesion.

The need to ‘belong’ and feel our work is valuable is a powerful driver that strengthens relationships, motivates greater discretionary effort and fosters pride in our work.

The multiplier effect of a grateful workforce is a collective mindset that is solution focused, open to new ideas and more collaborative.

How to foster an attitude of gratitude.

  1. Speak up and say “thanks.”
  2. As a leader, how you show up and interact with others sets the tone for the entire organisation. This is not about telling everyone “you’re great!” every 5 minutes, or handing out weekly thank you for attending notes. It’s about specific and personal interaction with individuals (or a team) demonstrating you have paid attention, noticed the effort made, the positive outcomes and spoken up to share your thanks.

  3. Create opportunities to express gratitude.
  4. A simple technique is an “appreciation wall’ where employees are encouraged to post messages of appreciation of their colleagues that can be viewed and shared by everyone.

    Another technique is to say thank you at the beginning and/or end of meetings as a way to establish the norm of expressing gratitude.

  5. Seek out those who get overlooked.
  6. In any organisation some miss out on gratitude because despite being essential to the smooth running of the workplace, they’re always in the background. Making the conscious effort to ensure everyone is acknowledged boosts levels of contribution, generosity and collaboration because of the provision of greater meaning and enjoyment of the work done.

  7. Stay gratitude fit.
  8. Just like any fitness routine it’s all about the practice to embed the behaviour and habit. That’s why keeping a gratitude journal is a great daily ritual to remind us of who and what we are grateful for and importantly why.

    Research has revealed journaling gratitude daily for 21 days boosts optimism and confidence for up to 6 months, which is a very good ROI for such a small action.

    Practicing gratitude changes the brain, boosting serotonin and dopamine levels, two of our feel-good hormones and keeps our brains in better shape better than any “happy pill” prescribed by a health practitioner. A stronger immune system translates into lower rates of illness and absenteeism.

  9. Build resilience and adaptability.
  10. A workplace founded on gratitude is better placed to cope and respond to those stresses associated with conflict, tension and failure. Choosing to be grateful for what you have makes it easier to reframe your perspective of an impending crisis and come up with more options to survive and move forward.

    It also helps to reduce the pain and negative emotions associated with loss and tragedy while facilitating appropriate change.

    Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving providing leaders the opportunity to develop greater insight into the positive impact of trust, loyalty and collegiality on reducing potential burnout, loss of talent and wasted human potential.

    If engagement matters in your workplace, can your organisation afford NOT to be focused on gratitude?

Leave a Reply