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January 21, 2022

Gratitude = Great Workplace Culture

Appreciation creates strong employee relationships

Gratitude — honest, frequent demonstrations of appreciation and recognition — has a direct impact on productivity at work and interactions between employees and management. According to a variety of sources, including Psychology Today, it also increases overall wellness, better sleep habits, metabolism and reduces stress.

A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that 93% of employees “who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88% reported feeling engaged.” 

There is more than enough evidence showing that gratitude towards employees is not “soft” and actually does result in measurable positive benefits in terms of engagement, morale, productivity, retention and more.

So, why don’t more companies practice gratitude and appreciation? And why don’t more do it correctly?

The difference between gratitude and appreciation

“Recognition” and “appreciation” are often used interchangeably. But there are substantial differences that have an impact on how you approach them. The former is positive feedback based on an employee’s performance or the results of a project; the latter is about appreciating the employee’s value to the organization and to others.

People will succeed and fail, so it’s important to acknowledge successes. If you focus attention completely on the successes, you miss the opportunities to show appreciation for employees primarily for who they are and what they bring every day to the job.

Show gratitude often, right away and directly

Say “thank you” often
Too many managers believe that saying “thank you” once is enough to demonstrate appreciation and gratitude. The attitude is either “that’s what they deserve” or “too much of a good thing will spoil the effect.” 

But the truth is, if you acknowledge an employee’s or a team’s accomplishments each time they’ve earned it, it has a cumulative, positive effect.

Say it right away
Waiting for a prescribed time to show appreciation frankly spoils the moment. The closer to the reason for the gratitude, the better.

Say it directly to the right person — and do it publicly
Sending an email to multiple employees, including those involved, is great. It lets everyone know who did what, well. But sending something directly to the person or persons who earned the congratulations and thank you should receive something directed specifically to her or him.

This works both ways, too
Urge employees to let their managers know when they’ve gone above and beyond or done something worthy of thanks. Managers need love too.

Make appreciation and gratitude “contagious.”
Make sure everyone in the company “catches” it. Demonstrate it. Promote it. Make sure everyone knows that it’s important to the company’s culture.

Ways to show appreciation beyond “thank you”

Writing personal thank you notes shows genuine appreciation and can be incredibly meaningful. For cumulative accomplishments you can offer flexibility in hours, paid time off, or cash. To reward teams, you can buy them lunch or give them all time off. Whatever works for the organization to show appreciation is going to be meaningful.

How MMA can help

At MMA, we believe a business culture that supports a healthy, safe work environment and delivers the right total reward strategy will create more productive employees—resulting in a healthy and engaged organization.

MMA demonstrates this daily through our THRIVE initiative. Key objectives include:

  • Supporting the career success of colleagues
  • Enable colleagues from across the organization to build relationships
  • Create a place and time to learn and grow personally and professionally, and to expose colleagues to new ideas and ways of thinking
  • Develop a safe environment to present and discuss professional challenges
  • Drive colleagues to facilitate individual events, yet keep groups and events owned by participants
  • Foster an environment for innovation: brainstorm new ideas and learn from colleagues across the organization

MMA aims to develop the full potential of its people. In turn, MMA is able to attract top talent, retain its employees and maintain high employee engagement which results in unprecedented value to our clients and unparalleled growth.

For more information about how Marsh McLennan Agency can help you promote employee engagement and a positive corporate culture, contact your local MMA representative.