6 Ways Gratitude Helps Entrepreneurs Grow Their Companies

Eight out of 10 employees say feeling appreciated motivates them to work harder.

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By Murray Newlands


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It turns out you don't need a huge budget to retain top talent in your company. What you need is to take more time out of your day to sincerely appreciate your employees. A recent survey conducted by Glassdoor found that over 53 percent of the 2,044 participants said they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciated by their boss. In addition, 81 percent of employees said they would work harder if they felt more appreciation.

When your employees are appreciated regularly, they feel valued which gives them purpose, self-worth, and a sense of self-efficacy. Beyond that, according to Psychology Today, gratitude affects our hypothalamus, which regulates dopamine production, our "feel-good" brain chemical. Dopamine helps us sleep better, lessens stress, and increases metabolism and wellness.

What this means is that the gratitude that you show as a leader directly affects your employee's health, wellness, and motivation. Of course, your business is built on the backs of your employees, so the more robust and motivated your team is, the more your company can grow towards greatness.

Take the time today to start growing a culture of gratitude within your company, and you'll see just how quickly it will benefit you and everyone around you. Here are six ways to get started:

1. Say "please" and "thank you" with sincerity.

Basic manners cannot be overstated, especially as the leader of your company -- you set the tone that everyone else will follow. However, expressing gratitude for every small task or completion can make your appreciation seem insincere. So, find the balance; the trick is to find specific things to acknowledge, showing that you are paying close attention and not just going through the motions. Acknowledge the personal effort that your team member put in and how that effort benefited the company -- and you.

Related: Sincerity and Transparency Are the Keys to Genuine Customer Loyalty

2. Drive a team mentality.

Gratitude may have evolved from tribal society, when we found out it was useful to care for our relatives as helping our families helped our shared genes survive. We may not share genes with our co-workers, but we do share common goals of promoting a successful business and helping it thrive. Promoting mutual success and gratitude for the team creates spillover where employees trust each other more and work more smoothly as a team, which benefits morale and improves workplace success.

3. Be generous with your recognition.

Of course your employees want to hear they're doing a good job, and hear it often. But more than just hearing, employees respond best to being shown: give a raise or a bonus, paid days off, gift cards to a favorite restaurant, team building dinners and trips, public awards, or a spa day after a long project.

These are all wonderful ways to recognize someone, but keep in mind that the greatest way you can recognize someone is to help them grow their career. Can you offer them new responsibilities to match their pay raise, or inclusion in decision that affect the company? A spa day goes a long way, but believing in your employee's abilities, even before they do, can be life changing.

Related: Thriving Cultures Are Built With Recognition and Praise

4. Be humble.

If you're any leader at all, you know your success rests on the shoulders of the myriad people who came before you and who help you daily, even though you may be the one gaining recognition in public. Withholding credit where it's due can be incredibly disheartening to those who expend their blood, sweat, and tears for your company. Stay humble and acknowledge the many people in thankless jobs and doing less than glamorous tasks that have held you aloft as you achieved your role as leader.

5. Build gratitude into your company culture.

It will have to start with you, as captain of the ship, to create a culture of gratitude. But gratitude from you will boost morale everywhere once you make it safe and normal. A culture of gratitude is made by allowing time and space for thanks. Acknowledge employees in your company newsletter. Set aside time in staff meetings and reviews for thanks, from you and from others. Throw welcome and goodbye parties to acknowledge team members. Once you make the space, gratitude in your company will only grow.

6. Show trust.

A wonderful way to show gratitude is to trust your employees. Monetary or gift compensation is appreciated but should be a given. Back your employees up when they make a questionable call, and check in later if you need to. Trust them to work from home if they're producing at a high rate, take a sick day if they need it, or take long lunches -- let them handle their personal life in accordance to their needs. Work comes first, but tight reins will only choke your employees. Ease up and show your immense gratitude by letting go a little.

Related: 3 Tips for Embedding Social Responsibility Into Your Company

Murray Newlands

Entrepreneur, business advisor and online-marketing professional

Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor and speaker. He is the founder of ChattyPeople.com chatbot builder tool and Sighted.com. Read his blog MurrayNewlands.com.

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