November is National Gratitude month. Considering that it’s the month that we celebrate Thanksgiving, it seems right, doesn’t it? But as a business leader, don’t limit your gratitude to a national holiday. You can be thankful for the hard work and excellence of your team on a daily basis. Your focus on gratitude can shift your company culture, ushering in a year-round environment of thanks and well-being.
In a world of constant change and stress, gratitude is a de-stressor – it can lower blood pressure and increase hours of sleep. Who doesn’t want their team to be well-rested and less anxious?
The effects of gratitude on the brain are equally compelling. Brain Balance says, “Gratitude can activate the brain stem to produce dopamine. Dopamine is our brain’s pleasure chemical. The more we think positive, grateful thoughts, the healthier and happier we feel.”
Happy, healthy employees are just the kind of employees you want to have.
You may be thinking, “That’s awesome! But how exactly can I encourage my employees to incorporate thanksgiving into our best business practices?”
We’re so glad you asked!
The truth is – it starts with you! A gratitude survey completed by John Templeton foundations shows that 95% of employees believe that a grateful boss is a more successful boss. Studies also show that over 50% of employees would stay at their job longer if their bosses show them appreciation. You can shape the growth and well-being of your team by ushering in some heart-felt appreciation.
One company has taken those gratitude stats to heart. Since its inception, Southwest Airlines has leaned into gratitude. By connecting employee and customer practices to their vision – to be the most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline – they have cracked the gratitude code.
When it comes to being thankful, you can follow their lead.
Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. Voltaire
Code Cracker #1: Pay Attention to the Good Stuff
As a leader, you have a vision for what you can bring to the world. Whether you are providing a service or a product, your team is your greatest asset. Their hard work, creativity, and excellence in their field shines a light on your company. They enable you to grow and succeed. It is easy to be grateful for all that they are doing when you take time to notice it.
Southwest knows that the only way that they can achieve their company vision is by having amazing employees who embrace their company values. Southwest promises their employees that they will, “…provide a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.”
Their employees respond with an equally uplifting promise: “I will demonstrate my Warrior Spirit by striving to be my best and never giving up. I will show my Servant’s Heart by delivering Legendary Customer Service and treating others with respect. I will express my Fun-LUVing Attitude by not taking myself too seriously and embracing my Southwest Family.”
Southwest notices when their employees keep their promise. They are intentional about paying attention to the good stuff. Those in leadership look for situations in which they can praise the accomplishments of their employees.
They also encourage their team members to look out for the good work that their teammates are up to. They do this with Kick Tails (We Came. We Saw. We Kicked Tail.) This is peer-to-peer recognition. Team members call out the greatness in each other for moments of kindness and jobs well done.
You may not have over 55,000 team members on your payroll, but you can still notice the greatness in your team. You can call them out on it and encourage them to see it in each other.
Not only that, you can double down on the gratitude and reward the excellence you see in your team in a real palpable way.
Code Cracker #2: Show Your Appreciation
Southwest Airlines has tapped into the gratitude well-spring by offering SWAG (Southwest Airlines Gratitude) to their employees. Southwest says that, “(SWAG)—encompasses all the ways we recognize our Employees. It’s the place Employees go to see the recognition they receive, send recognition to others, and spend the SWAG Points they earn.”
Southwest shows their gratitude for their employees’ hard work, kindness, and ingenuity by sending them redeemable points. These points can be used for travel, gift cards, or even Visa debit cards. SWAG also ties in directly with Kick Tails. Each time an employee receives a Kick Tail, they are entered into a monthly drawing for SWAG points. How fun is that?
Gratitude can take on many forms in your business – it doesn’t have to be a points system. Handwritten notes to your team members, shout-outs in a team meeting for great work, and downloadable Starbucks cards can up the gratitude quotient. Get creative!
Just as your team follows your business lead, they will follow your lead in showing gratitude for each other. And don’t leave out your customers, they’ll want to get in on the action, too!
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. G.K. Chesterton
Code Cracker #3: Invite Your Customers to Get in On the Gratitude Action
Did you know that Southwest’s best customers are invited to be grateful for their favorite Southwest employees? They are “given Kick Tails to recognize and appreciate Employees for exceptional Customer Service.”
Not only are Southwest employees encouraged to be grateful for their peers, their customers are given a way to say thanks for the great service that they receive.
You may hear feedback from your customers about the great things that your team is doing. Don’t keep that feedback to yourself. Pass it on. Shout it from the rooftops at your next team huddle.
Let your team know that the customers they serve are taking notice. Even better add a Slack channel where you post all the good things your customers are saying about your team. Keep the love going.
Like Southwest, you can give your customers a way to say thanks, too. Let them know that their words of thanks count and that their appreciation hasn’t gone unnoticed.. Create a “High-Five” page on your website sharing glowing customer testimonials about your teams’ work and attitudes. (We can help you do this!)
The possibilities for gratitude are endless! Don’t be afraid to go overboard in your new practice of company gratitude. There is no such thing as too much thanks!
The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time. Douglas Wood
CCB Is Thankful
Lastly, we want to say that CCB is over-the-moon thankful for our own team. All across the world, CCB team members come together to support our clients in unique and powerful ways.
From New York to North Carolina, Florida to California, Idaho to Hyderabad India, and South Africa to Bahrain, our team coordinates daily to unleash great content, powerful marketing campaigns, and innovative ideas.
We are thankful for your relentless creativity, your let’s-do-this attitude, and your excellent care of our clients. We are who we are because of you. Each of you (you know who you are) brings your best to the table every day and for that…we are truly grateful!