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December 12, 2019

‘Tis the season…

Elevating employee engagement with an attitude of gratitude

‘Tis the season to be…busy. We’re hustling and bustling at home and in the office in an effort to tie things up for the year, prepare for the holidays, and be with the people who matter to us the most.  We’ll write emails and wish lists and holiday cards while we decorate and get glammed up to gather and toast to a remarkable year full of amazing accomplishments. 

But in all of our hustle and bustle, we can’t forget to be thankful. Not just for turkey or presents or football. But for our co-workers. Don’t forget to be grateful for your colleagues and take the time to say thank you, deliberately.

It sounds so very simple, but it’s also so very impactful. You see, being grateful requires mindful practice. You don’t thank someone accidentally. It requires you to take note of noteworthy acts. It benefits from empathy and thinking about the busy life of the person who has gone above and beyond to do something valuable for a client, another co-worker, you or the company in general. It requires extra effort on your part. 

Recently, scientists have researched the positive impact of gratitude using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning technology and have found interesting connections with many aspects of well-being.

“The Brain and Creativity Institute at USC’s Department of Psychology conducted an experiment exploring how gratitude affects the brain. As subjects experienced the feeling of gratitude, their brains were being monitored through MRI technology. A feeling of gratitude stimulated parts of the brain associated with positive emotion and moral thinking; gratitude stimulated patterns in the brain that reinforce positivity.”

At the University of California, San Diego researchers found that feeling gratitude was associated with better sleep, decreased depression, decreased fatigue and a more positive outlook.

Further, a team of researchers from the Institute for Visual History and Education found through MRI technology that when the brain feels gratitude, it activates areas responsible for feelings of reward, moral cognition, subjective value judgments, fairness, economic decision-making and self-reference. 

There are numerous studies confirming the benefits of gratitude not only to the recipient but to the person expressing the sentiment.

Research conducted on gratitude by Michael McCullough (University of Miami) and Robert Emmons (UC Davis) has shown that people who frequently experience gratitude are happier, less depressed or anxious, more emphatic, and more helpful than people who do not have a grateful disposition.

Thanks. The Foundation for A Culture of Appreciation.

We’ve shared our thinking on this topic before in our Sustainable Six. There’s nothing that says, “thank you” like simply saying “thank you”. Literally, walking up to someone and just saying “thank you”. It’s sweeter if there’s a note, a small gift or a few redeemable award points that go along with it. But the gesture itself can go a very, very long way in making someone feel appreciated.

As the holiday season fast approaches, how are you elevating your “culture of gratitude”?  With a little more appreciation, you might see greater positivity, higher levels of job satisfaction, a boost in productivity and a general positive shift in morale. Those focused on greatness for your company will be most appreciative.  

You’re not only wrapping up 2019 in a nice package, but you’re setting up your organization for success in the year ahead.