Strategies for growth and employee retention are often centered around tangible action items such as compensation, hiring, team building, and benefits. But the intangible aspects of leadership play an important role as well. The concept of gratitude, in particular, yields valuable results, yet rarely makes the cut.
Ben Wright, Velocity Global founder and CEO, recently interviewed Chris Schembra, the founder of the 7:47 Gratitude Experience™, which helps companies foster authentic connections by cultivating meaningful group experiences centered around gratitude.
Chris finds that gratitude, while undervalued in the business world, is vital for employee retention, engagement, productivity, and peer-to-peer relationships.
The following are a few ways you can implement a mindset of gratitude to help your company and employees thrive.
Create a Sense of Belonging
In a world of Zoom calls and social isolation, people need belonging now more than ever.
According to Schembra, the “loneliness epidemic” has impacted more than half of working professionals, with 52 percent of the American workforce reporting feelings of loneliness on a consistent basis.
Knowing this, how can leaders create a sense of belonging in their organizations to help employees feel more connected?
Authentic connections are created, Chris says, by opening up and sharing your own personal experiences. These simple moments help employees feel connected to you as a leader, and in turn, create empathy within your team: “Peer-to-peer gratitude is the greatest tool for retention known to mankind.”
Whether you share a story about someone you are grateful for in your life, or simply offer a listening ear, make space for gratitude and empathy to create a sense of belonging.
Establish a Psychological Safe Space
Loyalty is earned when you give employees an emotional and psychological safe space. If your employees feel comfortable having hard conversations with management, or even with their peers, they are more likely to stay for the long haul.
For instance, Chris says when employees feel safe, they are more willing to ask for a raise, rather than seek a higher wage elsewhere: “In order to have a compensation conversation with a manager or even on a peer-to-peer level, you need psychological safety and trust. And so if you can develop that through these experiences, you’ll allow people to have the hard conversations they need to have in order to stay at your company.”
It is more valuable to give a hardworking employee a raise as a sign of gratitude than to pay the cost of hiring and training someone simply because they didn’t feel comfortable asking for higher compensation.
Institute Time for Reflection
Schembra says leaders must create blocks of time for employees’ emotional well-being to increase innovation and productivity.
With the wide usage of Zoom as a stand-in for traditional, in-person meetings, it’s easy to skip over the chit chat and get straight to business. But in the long term, people need those interactions to create loyal connections.
Instead of back-to-back meetings and hours of busywork, allow time for your employees to connect, reflect, and rest. They will come back to work rejuvenated and inspired.
While time is a valuable resource, it is important to spend it wisely—both in productivity and in rest.
How Gratitude-Conscious Employees Help Your Business Flourish
When your employees feel valued, safe, and cared for, you create loyalty and trust.
Chris puts it this way: “When you can create a safe space, even with your clients, to share their life stories, you’ve created empathy and connection. And the studies show that one in three employees will take equal pay and position at your competitor if they were more empathetic.”
Empathy and gratitude are key factors for employee retention. In a world hungry for human connection, your business has the opportunity to be that place of belonging.Listen to the Episode