5 Ways To Have More Grateful Employees

Salary, benefits, reward and recognition. We give and give. Granted, our employees often give a lot back to the company too, but sometimes being a manager or in HR can feel like a pretty thankless job. Here are a few ways to inspire a little gratitude within your company:

1. Earn it. Before we start patting ourselves on the back for being so magnanimous to our employees, we’d better make sure we deserve the kudos. We are able to impact employee lives in a very real way, and with that power comes responsibility. Ask around and see if employees have any suggestions for improving their work experience. I’m sure you’d rather gather this information now, rather than finding out salaries are below market or insurance benefits aren’t well suited for your employee demographic during exit interviews. It’s not unreasonable to expect your employees to be grateful for their jobs, but it’s also not unreasonable for them to expect to be treated well (and if you don’t do it, some other company probably will).

2. Give total compensation statements. Employees usually only see one compensation number: the one on their paycheck. But the reality is, employees are getting much more than what they see—30-40 percent of employee compensation comes from benefits. If you’re paying for some (or all) of employees’ medical benefits, that could add up to hundreds of dollars per month—that’s a pretty large increase in compensation. Also consider any contributions you make to 401Ks, commuting or health savings or flex spending accounts. Employees likely aren’t seeing the whole picture when it comes to their compensation. Helping them understand just how much the company is giving them will help them to be more grateful, and it will make them want to stick around longer. Seventy-eight percent of employees who receive total compensation statements are more likely to stay with their company.

3. Be grateful yourself. If you want to have grateful employees, you’d better be saying them too. Half of employees said they would switch jobs for one with more recognition. Thanking your employees will make them more satisfied with their jobs. Plus, when you say “thank you” people view you as a warmer person and want to engage with you socially (call me Captain Obvious, but someone actually did a study to prove it).

4. Company updates. If you’re going to do a lot of work to find out what your employees actually want, you should communicate those changes and updates often. Hold regular company updates and use them to embargo the new changes your employees will be excited about. For instance, if you decide that the company is going to increase their match on 401k contributions, bring someone from your investment firm in to the office for the next update to talk to employees about the big impact their contributions make toward their retirement. Or, if you’re switching to better health coverage, have your broker come in to answer questions. Better benefits are a big deal (and they aren’t always inexpensive) for employees, so make sure the way you communicate the changes portrays that.

5. Company culture. It’s so important to foster a culture of gratitude within the company. All of the things above will contribute to having a great company culture where employees are more grateful. The other details are up to you. You could adopt a company social site where employees can shout out to each other. You can do peer recognition and reward employees who go above and beyond. Another way to curate a culture of gratitude is to hire people who embody it. Look for positive and humble employees.