The Power of Gratitude

Generally speaking, the simple act of appreciation is not given the importance it deserves. Experts suggest that its value is underestimated, and that companies don’t understand how truly impactful it can be.

Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino conducted a study, referenced in her book Sidetracked, in which she looked at the science of gratitude, analyzing how emotions can influence our decisions. Her findings about the power of thankfulness were fascinating.

In one of many experiments conducted, a group of students was asked to complete a questionnaire. That group was then divided into two subsections. The first subgroup was asked to complete a second questionnaire without ever being thanked. The other subgroup was first thanked for their time, and only then asked to complete the additional questionnaire.

The results found that, out of all the students who went on to complete the second questionnaire, almost two thirds were from the group that had been thanked for their time and effort.

In the employer/employee relationship, it is important for both parties to acknowledge work that has been done. Those in a supervisory position would be well advised to acknowledge the time and effort their employees dedicate to their work. Employees in turn should thank their supervisors for the help they provide. These behaviors build stronger relationships, and even improve productivity in the workplace by fostering a supportive work environment.

Such positive reinforcement boost morale as well. Words of appreciation for a job well done can give employees greater self-confidence, while a lack of appreciation often leads to low morale, low self-esteem and loss of confidence in their work.

And don’t forget to show appreciation for your customers as well. After all, they are the source of your revenue. Chances are they will remember those positive words when the time comes to renew contracts and partnerships.

But when is the right time, and what is the right way to say thank you? The truth is – it’s always a good time! The important thing is sincerity – appreciation should never come across as rote or planned. If the appreciation is genuine and spontaneous, the recipient will feel valued.

So don’t underestimate the impact of a few words or a small gesture of thanks – they can make all the difference, directly translating into increased profits, a more productive work environment, and a significantly more positive attitude among employees.

This article was originally published in Eureka.


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