Gratitude in the workplace
When it comes to manners, one of the first lessons parents teach their children is to always say thank you. We do our best to instil the virtue of gratitude before we even teach the alphabet – it’s that important. We ask our kids, “What do you say?” when receiving something. We sign off with this expression in our email signatures. We consider it proper etiquette to send a thank-you card when someone goes out of their way for us.
This is because gratitude is not only polite but also powerful – though most entrepreneurs and business owners know the positive effect a thank you can have on their employees and clients, a strong focus on gratitude is also good for your brain, important for your relationships and crucial for your business.
Gratitude is Good For Your Brain
It’s not a secret that being thankful can affect your mood in a positive way (it’s difficult to express gratitude and be grumpy!). But studies have seen an association between gratitude and a person's well-being. Essentially, the more you appreciate and are thankful for, the more attuned you are to your feelings of well-being and gratefulness. If you think about it, it makes sense. The more frequently we give and practice appreciation, the more it becomes a habit and way of living.
There are a number of ways to show gratitude as a leader. First, remember you couldn't do what you do every day if you were on your own. For example, I am surrounded by an outstanding team of individuals who excel in their respective fields, which ultimately strengthens my business – so I make sure to let them know.
When clients thank you for a job well done, pass the gratitude to your team.
Happy Employees Means Happy Clients
It’s a well-known fact that people like to be valued at their jobs, with appreciation being one of the most sought-after forms of praise in the workplace. It’s motivating and encouraging, and it creates job satisfaction, thus resulting in better performance and less turnover. It builds trust and promotes employee engagement.
Nurturing a positive, gratitude-filled environment - through more than just a bump in salary or a bonus - in your business should be a priority. Recognizing an employee’s hard work with a small thank-you gift, handwritten note or other token tailored to fit the recipient can translate into a huge lift in employee engagement. When you have happy, engaged employees, you have happy, engaged customers.
Customers Need Appreciation Too
A study published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services found that when businesses practice gratitude, they are more likely to earn customer loyalty.
This shows that finding ways to show your gratitude to your customers is key. This means thinking outside of the “loyalty program” box, many loyalty programs are not personalized; everyone included in the program is treated the same, which doesn’t necessarily make each customer feel appreciated.
Showing your gratitude to your customers is about the extra step - something unexpected - that your business can take to go above and beyond a normal interaction and ensure that customer remains loyal. For example, consider keeping your store open late so clients can shop after work, or send personalized “we miss you” emails and deliver small client gifts as tokens of your appreciation.
In a retail environment where brick-and-mortar stores are being undercut and being put out of business by e-commerce websites, it’s that extra level of personal service that will ensure you are building a loyal, supportive customer base. It’s imperative to thank them for their loyalty with shows of gratitude and appreciation.