A new survey by relationship building management system Thnks quizzed more than 250 CEOs and employees on the idea of gratitude in the workplace.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on January 31, 2019

The CEOs surveyed overwhelmingly believed that it was important to lead with gratitude; 90% agreed with this proposition. 88% of the CEOs also felt their employees would give them high marks for leading with gratitude.

The employees in the survey weren’t so convinced by the level of gratitude shown to them, however. Only 37% indicated they were satisfied with the level of gratitude expressed to them at work. 96% of employees responded that it is either ‘somewhat important’ or ‘very important’ to feel appreciated at work.

The survey found employees were generally more positive on how their company showed appreciation for its customers; 70% felt their company does a good job on this front.

CEOs not as good at showing gratitude as they believed

“The divide between the way CEOs and their employees view gratitude in the workplace is striking and it is clearly something business leaders need to address,” said Larry Rubin, Executive Chairman and Founder of Thnks.

“This survey clearly demonstrates that employees want to be shown gratitude and CEOs want to express gratitude as both feel it’s highly important. Despite this, 55% of employees say that they are thanked either a few times a year, once a year, or never.”

Brendan Kamm, CEO and Co-Founder of Thnks, said business leaders showing gratitude for employees was doubly important in an era of low unemployment and strong competition for top talent. “While a summer outing or a year-end gift is nice, smaller, more frequent expressions of gratitude and individual recognition can be more impactful, especially in establishing a company-wide culture of appreciation.”

There is now a body of evidence showing the value of gratitude in the workplace

The new findings support the conclusions of previous studies on the impact of gratitude at work. One study by University of Pennsylvania researchers divided fundraising staff into two groups. One group had its managers express appreciation for their work, including a ‘thank you’ talk before they started their tasks. The group that received the gratitude made 50% more fundraising calls than their peers.

Similarly, an employee appreciation survey conducted by employee rating website Glassdoor also found that 81% of employees feel motivated to work harder when leadership staff give them receive appreciation for their work.

A large-scale survey conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that many managerial staff avoid giving their direct reports feedback, even when it is positive. 37% of leadership staff admitted they avoid giving positive reinforcement.

Gratitude is also strongly linked with job satisfaction and employee retention. Almost 50% of employees in the Thnks survey said they would quit a job if the company’s leaders didn’t sufficiently appreciate their efforts. 80% of CEOs who participate in the survey said they intend to improve on the way gratitude is expressed in their workplace.

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Gratitude in the work environment

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