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Gratitude in the workplace

December 7, 2018

By Mary Corrado, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

According to a survey by the John Templeton Foundation, people are less likely to express gratitude at work than anyplace else.  Yet, 81% of employees report they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.
Gratitude is important in the workplace.  93% of the survey respondents felt that grateful bosses were more likely to be successful, and employees are more successful and engaged when they feel appreciated.  A Glassdoor Employee Appreciation survey found that appreciation is the most powerful driver of employee motivation, loyalty, and job satisfaction.  

There are several ways to show employees that they are appreciated, including giving praise regularly, offering a flexible work environment that suits their lifestyle, and supporting employees in their overall life and career goals.  There was another interesting study by psychologists Adam Grant and Francesca Gino that discovered that a simple “thank you” from a supervisor gave people a strong sense of both self-worth and self-efficacy. 

I was recently reading an article on, and I like this list I found of ways to recognize employees throughout the year:

  • Leave a personal, handwritten note on their desk

  • Post a compliment on a public, in-office gratitude board

  • Treat your team to lunch

  • Say thank-you during a team meeting

When employees were asked what types of things make them feel appreciated, they said:

  • Pay raises – 50%

  • Unexpected treats and rewards – 46%

  • Involved in making decisions – 40%

  • Career development opportunities – 37%

  • Company-wide recognition – 35%

  • Telecommuting options – 26%

  • Company sponsored social events – 24%

The Glassdoor survey also found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly. Comparatively, only 38% will work harder for a demanding boss or due to fear of losing their job.

Gratitude plays a large role in employee engagement, and it’s important for leadership to express gratitude for the work their team does.  I encourage all ASE leadership and employees to do this, and we offer several ASE events throughout the year to show our team they are appreciated. 

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