In this week, when our entire country pauses to give thanks for what we have (at least, I hope that's what we're doing, and not just stuffing our faces and running out the door to save on the latest toys), now is the perfect time to share the importance of expressing thanks to others. Look around your world today and see who might be due for a "Thank You"...or two. Whether in the workplace, among family or with total strangers, don't underestimate the powerful influence of a little appreciation. Or more accurately...a lot!
Appreciation is Good for your Bottom Line!
As a certified Happiness expert who has worked with companies and organizations of all sizes on how to lower costs and maximize profit by making happiness a priority in the workplace, I cannot stress strongly enough how important gratitude is. It is especially important if you are asking an employee to do more than was originally agreed, or pulling someone off one task and putting them on another, even though they were doing a good job on the first one (because we all face the "Tyranny of the Urgent" now and then). Want to save money on turnover, absenteeism and even theft? Lead with appreciation.
"Thanks for the work you're doing on this. I'm very grateful that you've been able to handle it so well. Now, the scope has changed and there's actually going to be more to do, and I'm happy to know I can count on you for that."
According to all of the major studies on Happiness in the Workplace (Gallup, Harvard Business School, U.C., Riverside), the number one factor in an employee's engagement and workplace satisfaction is a sense of accomplishment, the feeling of doing a job well, of making progress on work that matters. As a leader, you increase that exponentially by simply acknowledging and appreciating what they've done.
Put Appreciation on Steroids
You don't have to limit "Thanks!" to just words you remember to say now and then. If you make a full commitment to expressing gratitude to those who work for you or help you out in other ways, you can have a lot of fun with it. Amp up the results! All it costs is your creativity and a little time.
I'm running a Kickstarter campaign right now to launch my tech company's first product, the Happy Couples Bot. We got a bit of a blow due of the timing of our campaign, but the one thing we've stayed committed to from the start is expressing our thanks for anyone and everyone who backed us -- often and publicly!
Our first ten backers were all sent this video (either by email or on their Facebook pages):
It didn't matter that we were making fools of ourselves -- in fact, that was part of the message. We are so committed to showing our thanks that we'll go this far outside our comfort zones.
The next wave of backers got even more appreciation, as we went all-out with one of two videos, depending on which we thought the recipient would enjoy more:
The sincerely foolish:
Or the foolishly sincere:
Our primary goal was to make sure the people who supported us got something fun and heartfelt in return, instantly. The secondary goal was to give them something they could not only laugh at, but share with friends, which several of them did. Again, appreciation is just good business.
So, this week, as you gather around a table overflowing with food and family and love (and hopefully not too much political discord), start thinking of ways to express how thankful you are to everyone who makes your life a little easier, a little better and a little (or a lot) richer.
(and if you want to get our next video sent straight to you, go ahead and back the Happy Couples Bot Kickstarter campaign!)
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Valerie Alexander is the CEO of Goalkeeper Media, builder of communication bots to amplify happiness. She is a keynote speaker and corporate trainer, and a former securities lawyer, investment banker and Internet executive. She works with companies and organizations seeking to retain their top talent by making happiness in the workplace a priority and ensuring that female professionals are recognized and rewarded for their work. Her many books on Happiness, Success, and Success for Women can be found on Amazon.com, and she can be reached directly through her website, SpeakHappiness.com.