“Americans are less likely to say Thank You on the job than anywhere else, that hurts productivity and happiness“– Paul Ebeling
Elsewhere in American life, people say “thank you” to acknowledge the good things we get from other people, especially when they give out of goodness from their hearts. We say “thank you” at home and in school, in stores and at church.
But not at work.
According to a survey of 2,000 Americans released earlier this year by the John Templeton Foundation, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anyplace else. And they are not thankful for their current jobs, ranking it last in a list of things they are grateful for.
This is the interesting part
Almost all respondents reported that saying “thank you” to colleagues “makes me feel happier and more fulfilled”, but on a given day, just 10% acted on that impulse. A 60% said they “either never express gratitude at work or do so perhaps once a year.”
In short, Americans actively suppress gratitude on the job, even to the point of robbing themselves of happiness. NutZ!
Tellingly, just those who earned $150,000 or more were likely to express any gratitude for their jobs, according to the Templeton survey.
This hints at one of the factors that undermines gratitude at work: power and pay imbalances. Most people do not like what they do, and are resentful and jealous of the people who do.
The Templeton survey found that 35% of respondents believed that expressing any gratitude could lead coworkers to take advantage of them. And that when workers acknowledge their interdependency, they make themselves vulnerable. NutZ again!
The result is a vicious, culturally ingrained circle of ingratitude, which can have a terrible effect on workplace morale and cohesion.
The Big Q: Why should this be the case?
The Big A: Because the need for a paycheck is only 1 of the motivations we bring to work. People do not just work for money, they work for respect, for a sense of accomplishment, for a feeling of purpose. They invest themselves and their emotions into their jobs, and work affects their emotions.
Building a culture of gratitude at work is not easy, but the science says it is worth it.
But, when people are thanked and thankful for their work, they are more likely to increase their helping behavior and to provide help to others. But not everyone likes to be thanked or likes to say “thank you” in public.
The Key is to create many different kinds of opportunities for gratitude.
Cultivating a culture of gratitude is a super way to help a workplace prepare for stresses that come with change, conflict, and failure.
Making gratitude a policy and a practice builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we falter. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals.
Gratitude helps employees to see beyond disaster and recognize their gains. And it gives them a tool to transform an obstacle into an opportunity.
“One of the first words my parents demanded of me was appreciation – the simple word of thank you, whether it was at home, on the job or just expressing a favor. Powerful words full of meaning which everyone likes to hear but many refuse to use.
“What a shame for it is just another loss of tradition values that should always be thought in the family and in our learning process. However, most people are afraid, as we all know, to express our feelings of appreciation.
“To me, I have always felt that the words, thank you, go a long way and whether you agree or not, most people will respond with a gentle or a hidden smile in their eyes. They just like to hear those words of gratitude and respect.
“So, the next time someone does something for you at work, revisit the words of thank you and just watch their reaction. The one thing you will probably not get is an angry response, only the please words of your welcome – I hope. Remember work should be a happy environment and not a place of non-appreciative values,” says economist/businessman Bruce WD Barren.
Have a healthy day, say Thank You and Keep the Faith!