Misperceptions of Gratitude

When it comes to expressing gratitude to employees, the majority of CEOs not only feel this leadership strategy is important, they believe they excel at it. But do their employees agree? Not so much.

A recent survey by Thnks, a New York-based relationship building management system, found that 90 percent of CEOs believe leading with gratitude is important, and 88 percent were patting themselves on the back, firm in the belief that their employees would rate them highly in terms of expressing appreciation. However, even as the vast majority of employees agreed with their leaders that expressing gratitude from the top down is important, only 37 percent of surveyed employees reported they were satisfied with the level of appreciation shown in their workplaces.

“The divide between the way CEOs and their employees view gratitude in the workplace is striking, and it is clearly something business leaders need to address,” said Larry Rubin, executive chairman and founder of Thnks. “ … employees want to be shown gratitude, and CEOs want to express gratitude as both feel it’s highly important. Despite this, 55 percent of employees say that they are thanked either a few times a year, once a year or never.”

Business leaders may benefit from expressing gratitude more routinely, survey results suggested. This is underscored by the fact that nearly 50 percent of employees surveyed said they’d leave a job if their employers didn’t show them enough appreciation.

“In a time of drastically low unemployment, it is more important than ever for business leaders to retain talent,” said Brendan Kamm, Thnks CEO and co-founder. “While a summer outing or a year-end gift is nice, more frequent expressions of gratitude and individual recognition can be more impactful, especially in establishing a company-wide culture of appreciation.”

Thnks, which provides businesses with assistance in extending gestures of appreciation that are timely and thoughtful, suggests that a CEO might send a bottle of wine to an account executive who created the perfect sales deck or boost the morale of a tired employee whose baby cried all night by presenting him/her with a cup of coffee.

The good news is that while CEOs may not fully grasp what their employees need when it comes to expressing gratitude, 80 percent reported they plan to improve their expressions of appreciation and use 2019 to advance a culture of gratitude as an important aspect of their businesses.

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