The Psychological Benefits Of Gratitude And Appreciation At The Workplace

Even a simple

A Simple ‘Thank You’ Can Work Wonders

It is often said that people leave their managers, and not their company. Most people don’t like the environment the company provides, and a large part of how the environment works depends on the bosses and managers. There are thousands of books out there that illustrate the difference between a leader and a great leader, and while they can be wonderfully detailed, one can follow some simple principles to lay the right groundwork. One of the main principles is the ability to show appreciation and gratitude for the employees at the workplace. It could be as simple as saying “thank you”, but it can leave a good impact on all employees.

On the surface, it is common knowledge that appreciation and gratitude can make a person feel like their efforts are recognized. If we think back to the last time we felt appreciated, we know that the positive feelings can push us to do better. Gratitude from bosses leads to better motivation and higher self-esteem among workers, which in turn leads to better quality of work. Moreover, a manager is also able to establish a good relationship with their subordinate, and opens up a line of healthy communication for employees to approach them. Researchers have also studied the positive effects of appreciation in the workplace.



What We Can Glean From Studies

A study was conducted at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania which looked at how one message of gratitude could affect the way volunteers worked. The researchers randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group was asked to proceed with their work normally, which involved placing calls to solicit alumni donations. The other group was assigned to work on a different day, and received a pep talk by the director who told the group that she was grateful for their efforts. In the following week, the results showed the group that received the pep talk placed 50% more calls than the group that did not.


A survey conducted by Make Their Day, an employee motivation foundation, reported that motivation and appreciation at the workplace was more meaningful than how much they earned. 83% of the respondents said that recognition for their contributions meant more than rewards or gifts, 76% found praise from managers very motivating, and 90% said that the right work environment played a big part in how satisfied they felt with their job. The CEO of the company stated that workers of all ages, especially millennials are motivated by real-time feedback and status based recognition over tangible rewards.



The Science Of It All

When we are appreciated, the hypothalamus in our brain is one of the main areas affected. The hypothalamus controls the basic bodily functions such as hunger and sleep, as well as the “reward neurotransmitter”, or dopamine. Dopamine is a powerful chemical, and is implicated in maintaining addiction because of the euphoria that comes with it. When we express gratitude, not only do we feel good because of the dopamine release, but it also motivates your employees to work harder and better. Moreover, you also set a good example for other employees to follow suit, which can help in building a good environment in your company. Gratitude has shown to build better connections and social relations, reduce stress, raise self-esteem, and fight depression and anxiety. Overall, incorporating gratitude and appreciation into the corporate setting can be beneficial individually, as part of a team, and in the long run, for the company too.

Some ways you can show your gratitude and appreciation are:

  • Include your employees in making decisions about the company as much as you see fit.
  • Say thank you when an employee works hard.
  • Show an interest in how team members work and their thought processes.
  • Put some time aside for a casual and fun evening, such as a pizza party one Friday evening a month.
  • Create holiday traditions that make employees feel like they’re in a fun environment.
  • Create personalized gifts for employees.
  • Give flexible work timings during important holidays.
  • Make way of important opportunities for your employees. 3