Start Your Thanksgiving in the Office

By Afzal, Sara | The Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Start Your Thanksgiving in the Office


Afzal, Sara, The Christian Science Monitor


Thanksgiving in the workplace: Thanking employees and fellow workers isn't just polite, it can boost morale and productivity.

Before the feast - before the frenzied airline travel or family gatherings on Thursday - suppose Thanksgiving began at the office.

It could be Thankful Tuesday or Gratitude Wednesday. Bosses could close early and use the time to thank employees. Employees could thank their bosses, too.

What would happen in the workplace? If the thanks were sincere, it could go a long way toward improve the working atmosphere and, quite possibly, boosting productivity, workplace experts say.

"Gratitude expressions from managers can help employees feel valued, strengthening their relationships," says Adam Grant, a management professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "When employees feel socially valued, they work harder and longer, achieving higher performance and productivity."

In one of his experiments, 41 fundraisers soliciting alumni donations were divided into two groups: the thanked and the un- thanked. One group heard the director say, "I am very grateful for your hard work. We sincerely appreciate your contributions to the university." The other group received daily feedback on their effectiveness, but no gratitude from their director.

The result? Fundraisers in the thanked group increased their weekly call volume an average 50 percent, according to a recent study by Mr. Grant and Francesca Gino, a professor at the Harvard Business School in Boston.

It's one piece of evidence that getting thanks raises self- esteem and confidence. "When employees feel confident in their capabilities to complete a task effectively, they are more likely to invest their time and energy in it," Grant says.

Thankful workplaces appear to be the exception, not the rule. For instance: Only 30 percent of employees said they felt valued by their supervisors, according to a Cornerstone OnDemand online study conducted in March.

The majority of the 584 respondents weren't "feeling appreciated or engaged in the workplace," says Charles Coy, director of product marketing for Cornerstone OnDemand, a management and learning software provider in Santa Monica, Calif. …

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