With Thanksgiving round the corner, gratitude, thankfulness (and maybe even fullness in general) is in the air. At work, we often focus on ‘improvement’ – getting that improved customer experience, working through that list of complaints, turning around the tight deliverables, adding in those key features. But it turns out, that taking a step back to thank our extended team, customers, team and the often unappreciated vendors may do us a world of good.
According to the American Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, research from UC Davis and University of Miami, suggests that ‘a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits’ and increase overall well being.
Similarly, according to Harvard Medical School, gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
So what are some best ways to demonstrate gratitude to customers, teams and the often forgotten vendors?
From the study mentioned above – being conscious of reasons to be thankful for is what drives well-being. So while its tempt to send an email to all with a generic though heartfelt thanks – don’t!
Identify colleagues, customers and vendors you would like to thank and make a specific list of the good. One way to do this is to sort your emails by sender and quickly glance through old email headlines, digging for the positive. You will likely uncover more good than you expect, even in tough client or vendor situations. For example, your vendor set up a meeting to get your feedback around some complaints. Or, your customer gave you a second chance for an error. List down what you find related to the ones you want to thank.
Just say it….and start a chain reaction
Research from Allen Burton and others at University of Georgia suggests expressing gratitude has tremendous positive effect on relationships. So after you actually have a list of the good stuff from the past year, actually say it – via email or text or whatever medium suits you.
Similarly, research from Prof Adam Grant at Wharton and Francesca Gino from UNC Chapel Hill suggest that ‘receiving a brief written expression of gratitude motivated helpers to assist both the beneficiary who expressed gratitude and a different beneficiary’. So expressing gratitude promotes pro-social behavior and might even prompt a chain reaction.
Avoid the ‘Trivialization Effect’
And if you are worrying about having ‘no budget for thanks’ – don’t!
A fascinating study mentioned from the Journal in Marketing talks about the ‘trivialization effect’ – that small financial acknowledgments along with thanks actually made receivers or customers feel more underappreciated than did verbal acknowledgments or ‘thank you’ s without the financial component.
And in case you do need to show appreciation through a small financial gift, a similar study suggests that donating the same amount to a charity actually made the customers feel more appreciated than receiving the gift themselves.
What are some ways you say thanks to your extended team? I would love to hear your ideas.
Many thanks for reading this article! If you enjoyed this article, I would appreciate a click on the ‘like’ button or a share with your network and of course your comment below.
About the Author: Tiyash Bandyopadhyay is the Founder and CEO of Buyer Blueprints, a boutique consulting firm that helps companies develop practical strategies for real life business opportunities through customer, market and employee insights.
“When you practice Gratefulness there is a sense of respect towards others” – Dalai Lama
Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life – American Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 377–89.