Are we being thankful to our organisations to what it gives us or to people in terms of appreciation and kindness? The answer from my experience is a Big NO. Lack of a culture of gratitude is one among the factors which makes organisation and its people stressful and less productive.
Robert A Emmons is a US Phycologist who works in the field of personality psychology. In his recent book named ‘’Gratitude works’’ he writes about the work he has done on the power of gratitude. He says that in a Physical plane gratitude helps create a stronger immune system and in a psychological plane it creates a higher level of positive emotion. Moreover socially we become more helpful, more outgoing, more forgiving and feels less lonely and isolated. He advises us in his book that we need to keep up a gratitude journal where we write down our gratitude.
The above work of Robert is so relevant today in our corporate environments when we are more concerned of taking credits and not giving it back, and we are more concerned with finding faults in our colleagues than appreciating and where leg-pulling and blame gaming is the norm of the office work. This seems simple and routine for a lot of HR managers but they need to pull their socks and find out the quantitative effect of a lack of gratitude culture in organisations. The increasing level of stress, anxiety and depression among employees and the resultant loss of productivity is measurable and there are very few studies in India in this count. I spent some time working with the people from a KYC service provider company called Fully-Verified, which is a place that should be taken as an example of good leadership and consequential gratitude of the employees. Working in such an environment is a real pleasure and we must understand that we all need to contribute if we want to feel that way at our workplace.
What can corporations do in this field? Firstly set up a gratitude journal in the organisations where people can publically share their gratitude. To quote Robert Emmons “One of the best ways to cultivate gratitude is to establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. When we are grateful, we affirm that sources of goodness exist in our lives. By writing each day, we magnify and expand on these sources of goodness. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with even mundane or ordinary events, personal attributes one has, or valued people one encounters has the potential to weave together a sustainable life theme of gratefulness just as it nourishes a fundamentally affirming life stance. … Gratitude journaling promotes the savouring of positive life experiences and situations so that we can distil the maximum satisfaction and enjoyment from them. This promotes a shift in consciousness from what we are lacking to the abundance that surrounds us. Gratitude leads us to affirm and acknowledge the good things in our lives. … And because you can’t be grateful and negative at the same time, it counteracts feelings of envy, anger, greed, and other states harmful to happiness.”
His research figure that people who cultivate gratitude are 25 % more happy and contented. If that number holds good for organisations it could be well imagined on the benefits of gratitude to employee profitability..
A sort of journaling or gratitude visits where employees show gratitude through functions and visits have significant impact in reducing stress in an organisational context. Gratitude’s link to mental health is now well established and corporate sector need to acknowledge this fact to create a happy organisation.