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  • Dr. Julie Olsen

Retention Challenges? Give Thanks a Try!



During November, my thoughts go to being thankful culminating in a nationally designated day to express our thanks. As soon as the turkey is consumed, the parade ends, and football rivalry weekend begins, my thoughts move towards the GA/Ga Tech game (I’m a UGA alum, my oldest daughter a Ga Tech grad) and life continues. Christmas trees go up, holiday parties begin, and the hunt for the perfect presents continues.


However, what if being grateful did not end on Thanksgiving? What if we continued to focus on the little and not so little things in life that bring us joy? What if we shared that grateful spirit with our friends, family, and work team? Would it make a difference?


According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 53% of employees admit they would stay longer with a company if they felt more appreciation from their boss. The same survey found that 81% of employees would work harder if they felt appreciated. Yet, only 68% felt as if their boss shows them enough appreciation.


In a recent Forbes article, Kevin Kruse states that feeling undervalued is one of the main reasons people leave their jobs. When people receive recognition or feel appreciated, it can create a higher level of motivation and satisfaction. A survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management found that 68% of HR professionals believed that employee recognition impacts retention positively.


Many studies have documented the positive impact of gratitude in the workplace as well as the personal impact. According to an article in Positive Psychology, when we express our gratitude, it can improve our health, happiness, fitness level, and relationships. Gratitude is a natural antidepressant releasing dopamine and serotonin, two natural chemicals that make us feel good and can improve our mood immediately. This year, experience the natural benefits of gratitude by not only expressing thanks to others but take time to consider your own successes. Recognize your accomplishments and celebrate!


5 Ways to Easily Include Gratitude Throughout the Year


1. Gratitude Jar. Over the past year, I took a glass jar and begin writing simple expressions of gratitude. Some days it was only one word, other days it included a few sentences, however, I’ve found the science is right! When I focus on gratitude, I do feel better instantly!


2. Show appreciation for the whole person. When people feel respected and valued as a person, they feel safe to share their ideas, information, and to support the team. Simply asking for their ideas and opinions and expressing authentic thanks can make a difference.


3. Surprise your team with something meaningful for no particular reason. Bring in breakfast, do something to enhance the environment like fresh flowers, give out chocolate, or simply start a meeting expressing true thanks for the team.


4. Provide a method for peers to share their gratitude. It may be a bulletin board, a webpage, or including a time of thanks in a team meeting.


5. Notice the small details. Often we consider thanks when we reach a huge goal not realizing that it took a lot of small successes to make it happen. Celebrate the small stuff!


As many organizations struggle with the turnover tsunami, focusing on recognition and gratitude throughout the year, not only at Thanksgiving, can have a positive impact. If you are interested in more ways to engage your team or show gratitude, contact us at www.workplaceadvancement.com


Happy Thanksgiving!


“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.”

Zig Ziglar