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  • Writer's pictureSusan Robertson

Gratitude: A case study on how caring changes culture

There are two powerful gifts you can give to others. The gift and the quality of your attention, which means you are listening, and the gift of gratitude. Acknowledging others and expressing gratitude demonstrates deep caring. We are listening with our hearts and sharing from our hearts.


A study, Predicting Job Satisfaction: Contributions of Individual Gratitude and Institutionalized Gratitude, conducted at the University of Melbourne by researcher Lea Waters, examined the role, employee perceptions of dispositional gratitude, and state gratitude (gratitude happens because of help someone received). State gratitude is the appreciation given as a result of receiving help and support and institutionalized gratitude (gratitude happens as a result of policies, procedures, and institutional values). The study looked at how dispositional, state, and institutional gratitude impacted job satisfaction.


How job satisfaction is impacted

The research showed that state gratitude and institutional gratitude uniquely predict job satisfaction. The implications suggest that workplaces aiming to increase job satisfaction achieve this through organizationally-based gratitude interventions and institutionalizing gratitude into workplace culture. Additionally, this study showed some causal linkages between institutionalized gratitude and employee well-being.


Definition of Gratitude

Research showed that state gratitude and institutional gratitude uniquely predict job satisfaction. The implications suggest that workplaces aiming to increase job satisfaction achieve this through organizationally-based gratitude interventions and institutionalizing gratitude into workplace culture. Additionally, this study showed some causal linkages between institutionalized gratitude and employee well-being.



We asked questions such as:

  1. Do employees feel valued as part of this organization?

  2. Does leadership focus on the greater good?

We did our baseline assessment in January 2020 before COVID hit, and we did a pulse assessment in July as COVID is re-emerging. While a 3.5% drop is not significant, what was significant was the employee voice and employee sentiment.


Employee sentiment

The 3.5% drop in caring is impacting the bottom line. People are leaving, and it is harder to find skilled workers for replacement.


What you can do to make a difference



First: Recognize others. Remember, as a leader, you don't accomplish anything without the help of others.


Second: Reinforce gratitude. Create and reinforce gratitude through corporate policies and practices. There is nothing wrong with institutionalized gratitude and making the expression of gratitude a goal. Generate excitement and recognize, reward, and thank people for the impact they are having.


Third: Express thanks. Here is what you can do: share gratitude, express sincere thanks, catch people doing things right instead of feedback for what is wrong. When you catch people doing things right they will do more right things.


Fourth: Thank yourself. Give yourself thanks. You probably don't give yourself enough credit for everything you do. Give yourself positive reinforcement for the time, effort, and energy you provide to others.


Today, take a moment and express your thanks to someone. Go out of your way to let someone know that what they did was meaningful and important to you. If you do, both your hearts will smile.


Roby T. Bennett's quote

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