The value of gratitude in the workplace

Feature Employeeappreciation Panel

Employee sentiment increases dramatically when companies focus on creating a culture of gratitude, a new study reveals.

Gratitude-centric cultures are present when people express appreciation not only top-down but also from a peer-to-peer level.

The study of 254 companies and roughly 100,000 employees examined the vital role gratitude and appreciation play in the workplace.

When surveyed year over year for five years, employees working in a gratitude-centric environment reported the most significant increases in feeling appreciated at work (182%), company loyalty (134%), and positive workplace relationships (106%).

The study was conducted by Motivosity, an employee recognition platform, and took a deeper look at how gratitude affects different aspects of employee satisfaction, including internal relationships with managers and co-workers, company culture, and brand outlook.

When introduced to a gratitude-centric workplace, employees reported feeling recognized at work 182% more often.

This positive effect on culture and interaction between employees led to improved workplace relationships, with employees being twice as likely to have a best friend at work and a 96% increase in employees that felt they had a stronger relationship with their manager.

Companies that focused on a culture of gratitude saw increased employee loyalty, brand outlook, and even long-term retention, with employees reporting they were 134% more willing to stay with their company, even when offered a 10% raise.

Employees were also 196% more willing to recommend their company to a friend.

In addition, employees in a gratitude-centric environment reported an 82% increase in company values regularly demonstrated at work.

“Gratitude makes people happier at work — our research shows it,” notes Dr. Bobby Low, human performance and organizational psychologist for Motivosity. “Gratitude has a meaningful impact, and the benefits are pretty far-reaching. It strengthens relationships at work, causes people to want to stay longer in their job, and invite all their peers to be a part of it.

“Additionally, the neurochemicals released in the brain like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine all help in reducing cortisol, which reduces stress and anxiety and improves mental health,” Dr. Low continues. “From the bonding and strengthening relationships and human connection all the way to improving mental health in the workplace, it is hard to miss the benefits of flooding your organization with gratitude.”

“Gratitude is the competency that makes a job worth having,” says Scott Johnson, CEO and founder of Motivosity. “Gratitude is a virtuous cycle. The more gratitude there is, the better things are. Grateful people bring more energy to life, they solve problems better, they have fewer health-related outages, they have fewer HR complaints, less stress, and more customer satisfaction.

“The great news is that helping people become more gratitude-centric isn’t an expensive and enigmatic problem to solve,” adds Johnson. “You can hack into the cycle with a small but consistent effort focused in the right direction.”

Remote workers don’t feel the love

A separate study of 2,000 Americans revealed over half of employed respondents working from home said they haven’t felt much gratitude from their job since they stopped commuting in early 2020. It seems the lack of appreciation has added to an already strained workforce as 70% are working harder than ever before. Two-thirds (68%) of those working from home say they feel unmotivated to work since everything they do seems to go unnoticed.

Three-quarters of the remote workers said their mental health would likely improve if they had more appreciation and recognition. And seven in 10 confessed the appreciation meant the most from a manager or executive. When respondents working from home were asked what they would love to hear more at work, a simple “thank you” topped the list. “I appreciate you doing that” and “that was helpful” came in second and third place. “Your time is valuable” and “you went above expectations on this” rounded out the top five. Four in five (79%) said knowing they were appreciated would be a big boost for their mental health on a daily basis.

Without thanks, employees won’t be going above and beyond for long since two-thirds (68%) of those working from home said they feel unmotivated to work since everything they do seems to go unnoticed. Of those ready to cut back, 29% will only do what’s expected of them, and a quarter (26%) will just take their time completing assignments.

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