How businesses can bring an attitude of gratitude

How businesses can bring an attitude of gratitude

Generous benefit schemes and reward-based incentives certainly have their place in the workplace, but sometimes going back to basics when it comes to

Generous benefit schemes and reward-based incentives certainly have their place in the workplace, but sometimes going back to basics when it comes to making your employees feel valued can go a long way. We caught up with Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage to get his views.

“It would seem that somewhere along the line, we have forgotten the art of simply saying thank you. A recent report showed that the phrase ‘thank you’ was only witnessed in 14.5% of exchanges studied.  When was the last time you sent a thank you card after receiving a gift? Or left a review for a restaurant you enjoyed? The same is true when it comes to employee recognition.

Research has stated the top reasons why employers struggle with saying thank you including that everyone is simply too busy, it’s not the nature of the business and ‘it feels a bit cheesy’. But with UK unemployment at an all-time low, talent retention is more important than ever, so there’s no excuse for not showing gratitude at work.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate more gratitude into your corporate culture.

Praise publicly

Public praise is just as important as a ‘well done’ said in private. But whatever you do, pitch to the individual’s personality and strengths. Step away from the blanket email and approach people face to face to make it as human as possible.

It can be tempting to try and strike a balance by including some constructive feedback whilst giving praise, but this can take the shine off a compliment. Save performance improvement opportunities for a weekly meeting or appraisal instead.

Demonstrate appreciation

As a business leader, it’s your job to set an example to your workforce. The best thanks you can give is to demonstrate a supportive and appreciative nature towards your employees. As Matt Dawson, former England Rugby captain, says “take time to understand what makes people tick. It creates more empathy around the relationships, and that gives you faith and trust from the people around you.”

Organise a big team feast and encourage everyone to sit together and chat once in a while. Or take an employee out for a spontaneous lunch. Get to know your people, and you’ll find that nice bosses definitely don’t finish last.

Get creative with staff events

The sky’s the limit when it comes to celebrating staff achievements. From cards, presents and social events to celebrate everything from good performances and business milestones to birthdays, weddings, new babies and service anniversaries. Avoid the usual uninspiring corporate events and get creative. Team building in the form of a fun event like a trip to the races or an escape room is a great way to show your workforce you care – plus, if you get stuck in rather than just arranging it from afar, it’ll show you actively want to spend time getting to know them too.

Events can also extend further to experiences abroad in return for great results, including fully managed trips, group excursions and more chilled-out holidays. Travel incentives can be an unforgettable way of saying thank you for hard work, as well as broadening horizons which can help with progression and new idea generation.

Increase responsibilities

It’s common for employees to feel they could handle many of the duties of their seniors. This creates a feeling of mistrust between managers and their juniors, which can be demoralising. Empower employees by giving them more ownership on important decisions. Building your teams confidence like this is a great way to make them feel recognised.

When you increase a staff member’s responsibilities, it’s more important than ever to affirm the progress they make, both through public praise as mentioned, but also by resisting supervision of every little task at hand. Expect excellence when increasing responsibilities and don’t micromanage.

Be open to feedback from workers

There’s little less heartening for employees than when negative feedback is a one-way street. All forms of feedback in a workplace should be reciprocal, or you risk your workers being demotivated to act on comments you give them. As a business leader, welcome ideas on how the business could be improved for everybody. Do this both through the usage of anonymous feedback forms as well as in regular face-to-face feedback meetings, so that there is constant open and fluid communication on making things better.

Make it clear you accept and act on constructive feedback. Again this adds volumes to a culture of recognition, where you’re not only grateful for your workers’ hard work but thankful for the unique viewpoints they bring.

Though it’s easy to do so, don’t overlook giving thanks to your employees, who are your greatest asset. ‘Thank you’ can come in a variety of different forms, and the bottom line is people thrive at work when they know their contributions are meaningful. The attitude of gratitude starts at the top.”