Have You Built a Thankful Company?
This time of year many of us pause in our personal lives and give thanks, but when it comes to American business, giving thanks is pretty alien concept. A recent study found that only 10 percent of Americans thanked a colleague on any given day, and just 60 percent reported they never or extremely rarely express gratitude at work.
Sure, it’s Thanksgiving week, you might say, but is work really the place for showing gratitude?
Yes, say scientists, who have found that creating a culture of gratitude at your workplace pays dividends all year round. The same survey found 93 percent of workers believe grateful bosses are more likely to succeed. Hearing 'thank you' at work, an array of studies have concluded, boosts happiness, reduces stress and generally improves satisfaction. That can’t hurt your bottom line.
The trouble is building a culture of gratitude at work isn’t easy. Bosses often worry that expressions of thanks are less than genuine (i.e. butt kissing in disguise), while workers a little lower down the food chain have told researchers they worry giving thanks could make them seem weak or invite colleagues to take advantage of them.
So how can you as the boss untie this knot of skepticism and fear and begin to encourage your team to start thanking each other? A good place to start is with a self-diagnosis. Just how grateful or ungrateful is your company? If you’re willing to take a hard look at this issue, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, which studies positive psychology, has the self-assessment for you.
The 25-question, multiple choice quiz produces a "gratitude score" for your business, giving you a baseline from which to improve and flagging up the kind of experiences and policies that encourage -- or discourage -- on the job thanksgiving. Expect questions that ask you to rate the truth of statements like:
My organization devotes time at meetings or provides other opportunities to enable us to explicitly thank other members for their work.
The people who get ahead in my organization are the people who claim all credit for themselves.
Take the complete quiz here. So what if your score leaves plenty to be improved upon? Greater Good has suggestions on how to cultivate a culture of gratitude, offering five tips in a separate article.
Were you happy with your gratitude score?
JESSICA STILLMAN | Columnist
Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.