The benefits of gratitude

Too many to count.

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” – Charles Schwab

Around this time of year, it’s easy to become swept up in the endless to-do lists that come with the holidays.  The presents, the parties, the school events – it can all get a bit overwhelming at times. One thing that always helps me keep some perspective, however, is to take some advice from Bing Crosby in White Christmas. In the movie, Bing Crosby sings to Rosemary Clooney,

When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings. 

It’s a simple enough task, but taking the time to think about all the things I am grateful for always helps me center myself again. As it turns out, Bing (or composer Irving Berlin) was onto something here. Psychologists have found that exercising and focusing on gratitude has a number of scientifically proven benefits, including these: 

  • Relationship building
  • Improving physical health
  • Improving psychological health
  • Enhancing empathy
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Increasing mental strength and resilience

And did you know that gratitude also has tremendous benefits in the workplace? Studies have shown that workplaces where employees feel appreciated have higher job satisfaction and less negativity, absence, and burnout. Gratitude is also a powerful motivating force. According to one study, 80 percent of employees report being motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. In contrast, only 38 percent of employees reported that they would feel motivated to work harder when their boss was simply demanding. In another study, individuals making fundraising calls made 50 percent more calls when they started their shift by hearing a speech expressing gratitude for their efforts.

There are many ways to express gratitude at work. Personal notes, lunches, gift certificates, verbal recognition during a meeting, recognition in a company bulletin or on a board posted in the office, or even a simple heartfelt "thank you" are all effective ways to improve employee morale and performance and create a positive workplace culture. 

You don’t have to limit this practice to the holidays, either. Practice gratitude all year if you want to reap the most benefits for yourself and your workplace.

And thank you for reading FOCUS this year!

Diversity, equity, and inclusion has been the bedrock of our firm since we opened over 75 years ago. As we like to say, it is in our DNA. We believe that to foster diverse leadership and urge diversity of thought, we must do what we can to advance the conversation about diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging in the workplace and the communities in which our workplaces thrive. Through our blog, we share our insights from the perspective of both an employer and employee, regarding emerging issues that affect diverse leaders and workforces. We hope you enjoy our tidbits of legal and practical information, wisdom, and humor. Thanks for joining the conversation!


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