The holiday season is upon us, with Thanksgiving only a few days away. It’s a time for us to reflect on the people and things we’re thankful for in our lives. As a business owner, some of the most important people in my life are the employees who give my company a pulse.
Gratitude is invaluable, regardless of the season. We all need to make a habit of saying “thank you” more often—not just for the benefit of those around us but also for ourselves. I’ll explain what I mean by that later.
But first, it’s important to note how crucial gratitude is in creating a positive work environment. It’s certainly something that I have instilled in my company’s culture.
At ICON, we have daily “Huddle” meetings, where the whole company comes together for just five minutes. Whoever leads Huddle for the day starts the meeting off by answering the question: “What am I grateful for today?”
After answering, they then ask others the same question. It’s a wonderful way to start the day. Oftentimes, employees will acknowledge their coworkers during this time, showing their appreciation for how much someone else had helped them on a project. Huddle is special for us because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate both the teamwork and individual accomplishments that enable our success.
What Money Can’t Buy
Companies have different ways of rewarding hard work. Some people think a paycheck every two weeks is enough show of appreciation. Of course, offering employees financial comfort and benefits is nice, but people need more than money to motivate them.
In fact, research shows that the most meaningful reward to employees doesn’t have a dollar sign. Some key findings from the study are:
1. 83% of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling than any rewards or gifts.
2. 76% found peer praise very or extremely motivating.
3. 88% found praise from managers very or extremely motivating.
4. 90% said a “fun work environment” was very or extremely motivating.
The best employees are happy ones, and I’m not just saying that for a sentimental kick. It’s scientifically proven. Happy employees are 22 percent more productive than unhappy ones.
Showing gratitude doesn’t just help your employees professionally though. It can help them in their personal lives too. Receiving appreciation gives people a higher sense of self-worth, increases helpful behaviors toward others, makes them feel more socially valued and much more.
The Power of ‘Thank You’
Clearly, gratitude has a powerful impact on the recipient, but giving thanks also has amazing benefits. For one, it’s a natural antidepressant because it activates higher dopamine and serotonin production.
Without getting too in-depth with the science of it, dopamine is the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, associated with the brain’s reward and pleasure center. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep and appetite, among other things. Research also shows that finding more reasons to be thankful reduces stress, boosts your immune system and can even help you live longer.
Who knew that two simple words could harness so much power? That’s why we all need to practice gratitude not just on Thanksgiving—but every single day of the year. It will help you, your family, friends, employees, all the people in your life. Never forget, the pursuit of happiness is paved with gratitude.
Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.