Jenn McColly was formerly Vice President of Employee Experience at SAP Concur
Today, September 21, is world Gratitude Day. What does this mean? World Gratitude Day is a day to celebrate the impact of showing appreciation towards others. It affords us the opportunity to pause and recognize the transformative power gratitude has to energize individuals, positively influence people’s lives, and drive cultural change in the workplace. While many of you are active gratitude practitioners, today serves as a reminder of the importance of expressing gratitude towards others.
“Gratitude binds people together and creates a symbiotic relationship. There are lessons for leadership that a little piece of positive reinforcement can change a life. … The gratitude movement is taking over,” - Eric Mosley, CEO, WorkHuman.
Gratitude lifts us up, rejuvenates our spirit, and gives us a renewed resolve to meet many of the challenges we face today. The pandemic has forced companies, like SAP, from their offices and into a remote environment. Feelings of anxiety and disconnection may continue to linger but our ability to find joy and gratitude in everyday moments positively impacts our mental and physical health.
So, why does showing gratitude matter?
- When you express authentic gratitude to another person, the sentiment creates a multiplier effect.
- When you share gratitude, you give someone the gift of feeling valued.
- When people feel valued, they are more motivated to unleash their potential and with a greater sense of enthusiasm.
- Gratitude leads to greater emotional resilience.
- Overall motivation increases tremendously when people feel appreciated.
As a leader, I make an intentional effort to show gratitude to my team members on a daily basis. I practice small things that can make a big impact by bringing gratitude to the front lines, such as starting a meeting with a round robin of what we’re grateful for, creating programs and campaigns around why appreciation and gratitude matters, taking the time to send emails, texts or picking up the phone to share my real-time appreciation and gratitude for individuals on the team –- whatever it is, small or big, these moments matter and can make a huge impact.
I’ve seen firsthand the impact gratitude has on those around me, but there’s data and science that states the same thing. According to a worldwide study from Towers Watson, workers report that appreciation is the most significant driver of engagement. In a survey from Glassdoor, more than half of all respondents revealed feeling more appreciation from their boss would help them stay longer at their company. Research from Harvard Medical School suggests appreciation improves employee health, lowers stress, and cuts absenteeism.
As you can see, practicing gratitude not only creates positive business results, but it also has an amazing amount of health benefits that affect our whole being. A core human need is feeling valued: having a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose. We cannot bring our best, whole selves to work without seeing, hearing, receiving, and expressing gratitude. I encourage you to find ways to organically infuse opportunities to incorporate appreciation and gratitude into your teams. Join me in celebrating World Gratitude Day by expressing gratitude to those around you – small gestures of appreciation can make big impacts.