The Power of Gratitude in Business

The Thanksgiving season brings family and friends together in the spirit of gratitude, but being grateful does not just apply to our personal lives. Gratitude goes a long way in business too.

Not only can expressing gratitude lead to happier and more productive employees, but it also helps strengthen your culture, brand reputation, and public relationships. Even small tokens of gratitude can make a difference in optimizing team performance.

The psychological impact of gratitude

According to research, “practicing gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction.”

Gratitude is usually tied to positive reinforcement which naturally makes us feel good. Both giving and receiving gratitude are furthermore proven to decrease anxiety and stress, strengthen self-confidence, and increase personal motivation.

These health benefits of gratitude carry over to the workplace, as the ripple effect of feeling appreciated triggers drive and promotes better performance among employees. 92% of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it. The truth is that all team players, even your top workers, need consistent encouragement to deliver good results.

Let’s dive into some of the ways that leaders can increase business performance with a sample act of “thank you.”

Show gratitude to your team

Perhaps the most obvious way to show employee appreciation is to give them a pat on the back for a job well done. There is nothing more motivating to your team than to be recognized for their achievements. You can do this effectively by:

  • giving public acknowledgment in front of the whole team
  • sending a personalized “thank you” note
  • awarding good work with a raise, promotion, or other material benefit

Another way to show gratitude is by being thankful for feedback, no matter how negative it may be. Thanking someone for pointing out a mistake or offering constructive criticism lets that person know their opinion is important. It also helps balance out the hierarchal structure by allowing managers to show vulnerability in front of their team members, building better relationships. This kind of honest feedback loop promotes better communication between team leads and team members leading to higher productivity across the board.

Psychologists and business leaders agree that gratitude is more powerful than we may think – as one act starts a cycle that goes a long way. The domino effect we explained is backed by psychology – when people feel good, they want to pay it forward. This can have a hugely positive impact on your company culture by creating a safe environment where feedback is appreciated and hard work does not go unnoticed.

In his book, Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being, New York Times bestselling author Shawn Achor discusses how we can expand our potential by using positive interactions with the people around us.

“Praise creates what I call a ‘virtuous cycle’ – the more you give, the more you enhance your own supply. When done right, praise primes the brain for higher performance, which means that the more we praise, the more success we create. And the more successes there are, the more there is to praise.”

Build customer loyalty

Good business leaders know that showing gratitude to customers (and future customers) is critical to establishing and maintaining good relationships. Thank your customers regularly for their business, whether it is through a personalized email or an acknowledgement at the end of a call. Customers will be more likely to return if they know that they are appreciated.

This positive communication helps create opportunities to be transparent with your customers. Transparency instills a sense of trust in your customers and helps nurture these relationships. It’s important to show gratitude by being open and upfront about the business decisions you make and let customers know you appreciate their support.

There are countless success stories of businesses who excelled by leading with transparency. A recent example of business transparency is with the current most popular short-term home rental company. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted on November 7, 2022:

“I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain. That’s why we’re making 4 changes…”

He went on in a thread to describe significant changes that will be made to Airbnb in 2023 that will help make the customer experience better through a more transparent pricing structure. For Airbnb, acknowledging the public disappointment and letting customers know that their feedback does not go unheard. It also shows that the company cares about the customer experience enough to publicly promise necessary changes based on that feedback.

Transparency also means acknowledging when you make a mistake and letting customers know you appreciate their patience and understanding. Consider offering amends to make up for errors on your part with free gifts, refunds, or other special offers. Owning up to errors is important to your business reputation, not just for maintaining good relationships with customers, but for creating a positive representation of your company for potential new customers.

Strengthen your business partnerships

Maintaining mutually beneficial business partnerships is critical to keep your business running efficiently, especially during times of economic uncertainty.

A recession may be looming, and it’s critical for all businesses to take precautionary measures to prepare for harder financial times. Strengthening existing relationships can be beneficial the long term by ensuring a dedicated partnership in case of disruptions.

It’s also helpful to show gratitude by creating opportunities for win-win scenarios with your vendors and partners. For example, if you are a business that sells products online, offer discounts to your partner’s customers or collaborate on a special promotion. Not only will this help attract more people to purchase from your partner, but also provides an opportunity for them to benefit from the partnership as well.

Being grateful will never get old

Showing gratitude to your team, customers, and partners will always be a key ingredient for business success. From fostering and reinforcing relationships to inspiring better performance, gratitude can be the difference between good and great in business.

Here are some ideas to consider this Thanksgiving:

– Use gratitude as an appreciation tool when onboarding new team members
– Bend as much as you can for vendors to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership
– Let customers know their feedback is heard and appreciated through positive communication
– Offer discounts or promotional deals for partners’ customers when applicable
– Own up to mistakes, apologize, and offer amends. Show the public your gratitude for their understanding.

Start cultivating gratitude in your business today!

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