3 Ways Gratitude Can Set You Up for Business Success Gratitude can have tangible effects on your employees, customers and leadership skills.

By Michelle Van Slyke

Key Takeaways

  • Expressing thanks improves your psychological well-being by increasing self-esteem and optimism.
  • As a business leader, these are critical traits for success.
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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, meaning now is the time of year when gratitude is on many of our minds. While we often tend to focus on gratitude in our personal lives while enjoying a Thanksgiving feast, we should also not forget about gratitude in our professional lives. Just like giving thanks can positively impact our personal lives, gratitude in business can be an important practice. Especially for corporate leaders, gratitude can have tangible business benefits. From improving your performance to creating a better work environment, here are three ways creating a culture of gratitude can set your business up for success.

1. Create a cohesive work environment

Cultivating a culture of gratitude at work is one of the most effective ways to build a respectful, cohesive and productive business environment. Expressing gratitude can improve employee engagement and further build positive relationships with coworkers. It can often drive employees to be more productive as they feel more personally connected to the results of their work.

Despite all the benefits for gratitude in work culture, expressing thanks outwardly can be uncomfortable for some people – especially if they are used to a less personal workplace culture. Breaking down these walls and working to create this culture can be a simple process in all workplaces, but it starts with business leaders. Set the tone and show appreciation to colleagues for their contributions to the company. One example is the former CEO of Campbell's, who wrote 30,000 thank you notes to his employees over his career to celebrate accomplishments. Authenticity is key when expressing gratitude, so don't be afraid to start with small ways to show your appreciation and work your way up to larger actions. By setting the tone for employees, you'll be creating a culture of gratitude that will lead to happier employees and a more cohesive work environment.

Related: 3 Gratitude Habits for Business Leaders to Motivate Your Teams — and Yourself.

2. Improved customer experience

Creating a culture of gratitude at work won't just have internal benefits. It can also have tangible effects on your customers. The impact it can have on your customer experience can be twofold.

First, a culture of gratitude will lead to more engaged employees who are better equipped to handle customer service. There is a direct correlation between employee engagement and customer service. Engaged and optimistic employees tend to be more invested in the company, which can make them more passionate about customer service. In addition, positive employees are more likely to deliver positive customer interaction. Furthermore, employees who understand their work is valued by their workplace are more likely to trust their managers if they need help, which can improve the customer experience.

Gratitude can also be extended directly to customers. By showing thanks for choosing your business, you can make customers feel valued and important. This could be an operational play, such as instituting a loyalty program or simply training employees to be more empathetic and thankful during customer touchpoints. Expressing gratitude toward customers will improve their experience and make them more likely to continue using your business and even more likely to recommend it to others.

Related: We Need a Real Commitment to Mental Health at Work. Here's How (and Why).

3. Create a happier, more confident you

Did you know gratitude is scientifically proven to positively impact our well-being? Gratitude is a primary source of happiness. That's because it can center us around positivity even amid chaos. Much like how showing gratitude and appreciation can create a more cohesive workplace, it can also improve your mindset and help you become a healthier, more confident version of yourself for business. In fact, studies show that a continued practice of gratitude can improve well-being even to the point of reducing the number of sick days workers take.

Gratitude may have an even larger impact on mental well-being. Expressing thanks improves your psychological well-being by increasing self-esteem and optimism. As a business leader, these are critical traits for success. In the modern workplace, chaos can be constant, and setbacks are common. You need to be the best version of you to navigate it. Leaders with high self-esteem and a centered attitude are more likely to be confident when facing a challenge and make an informed decision rather than one steeped in fear of failure.

Creating a culture of gratitude in your business can improve your operation in multiple ways. Gratitude can make you a more positive, confident business leader and boost your employee and customer experience. As we approach Thanksgiving – and the end of the fiscal year for many businesses – now is an ideal time to consider the benefits of a culture of gratitude.

Michelle Van Slyke

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, The UPS Store

Michelle Van Slyke is the senior vice president of marketing and sales for The UPS Store, Inc., which provides print and small business solutions to entrepreneurs and small-business owners at 5,000 franchise locations across the U.S.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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