The Incredible Value of Gratitude At Work

04/24/2015 05:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2015

When you're the boss or in a supervisory position at work, gratitude for your employees can make a real impact -- not only to your workers, but also to your bottom line.

Some businesses erroneously think they can make the most profits by squeezing everything they can from employees. Yet, it should come as no surprise that Fortune's "100 Best Companies To Work For" attract the best workers, have increased employee retention rates, and their more friendly work environment helps significantly increase employee productivity. It just makes sense. This is a bottom line issue -- unhappy workers, those who don't feel appreciated, impact profits.

How disgruntled are workers today? According to the 2014 Conference Board's "Employment Satisfaction Survey" that interviewed workers in Fall 2013, less than half (47.7 percent) were satisfied with their jobs. The last time the majority of American were happy at work was in 2005 (52.1 percent). Job satisfaction was 60.1 percent in 1987.

Even during an unsettled job market, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well over 2 million people quite their each month. Younger workers are most anxious to leave their current job if the opportunity arises. Why does this happen?

Typically, somewhere during the first four to six months the eagerness and desire of most employees wane. Employees will only self-sustain their enthusiasm for the work a limited amount of time. After that, in the absence of feeling appreciated by management -- that their work matters, that they matter -- employees adopt the "whatever" attitude. The job becomes "just a job."

Show Gratitude By Helping Workers Do Their Jobs Better

Bosses need to remember that success doesn't come without bloopers and failures. When an employee has a problem with their job, set your employee up for success by valuing their efforts to do better, not berating them for the failure.

Questions such as "Tell me what's troubling you here?" "What's getting in the way for you here?" "Where did you get stuck on this?" are all more effective than "Why can't you get it done?" "You're just too slow" or "You did it all backwards."

At all times, keep your focus on solving the problem, not blaming your employee. Blame never makes anyone feel appreciated, much less happy.

Here are other gratitude tips that help productivity:

1) Catch your employees in the act of doing something right. Acknowledging and appreciating employees doing something right is a far more successful path to work excellence, than continually pointing out what they are doing wrong.

2) Communicate employee duties and responsibilities clearly so workers know what is expected of them. You can't live up to what you don't know.

3) Make sure your employees have the tools, training and sufficient time to accomplish their tasks and meet company goals. Few things make employees feel more unappreciated, frustrated and unhappy as not having the appropriate resources for their job.

4) An employee should never be surprised by a year-end review. All along the year, employees should receive regular, frequent, targeted feedback on their work.

Unappreciated workers will give far less to their job than appreciated workers. Appreciation does not necessarily have to come in the form of higher pay. It can be the simple intangibles -- complimenting a worker on a job well done, genuinely asking for employee opinions, or giving an afternoon off to the team after a significant accomplishment.

Gratitude at work, works!