When was the last time you genuinely thanked an employee for their work?
I’m not talking about one of those obligatory niceties (“Thanks for sending that email!”). Rather, when was the last time you took a moment out of your day to pause, observe your employees, recognize that they are doing really great work, and then personally express your gratitude?
An article by Fast Company suggests that all of us suffer from “gratitude deficit disorder.”
“We are hungry for genuine appreciation and thanks,” the article states. “We want to know that we matter, that our efforts are making the world a better place.”
Unfortunately, many people are not getting that reassurance. In one poll, nearly half of those surveyed reported that they never feel appreciated at work.
Do your employees feel appreciated? What about your clients? And how much does gratitude really matter?
Why gratitude matters
There’s the obvious reason, of course. Gratitude matters because it’s the decent thing to do. Failing to saying “thank you” when someone helps you out is a total jerk move.
But gratitude has also been proven to have a tremendous impact on employee productivity. An article by Harvard Business Review says “when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals.“
Gratitude also plays an important role in client retention, and failure to express appreciation can have detrimental consequences. According to an article by Bloomberg, “studies show that 68% of customers leave a business relationship because of a perceived attitude of indifference on the part of the company. It's not that the associates are actually indifferent—it's the perception that they are.”
These insights lead to the conclusion that cultivating a “culture of gratitude” within your real estate business (in other words, ensuring everyone you interact with feels valued and appreciated) is crucial to motivating your employees and maintaining great client relationships.
How to create a “culture of gratitude” within your real estate business
How can you ensure that your employees feel valued? Here are some tips for thanking your employees...and encouraging them to do the same.
Be specific. Instead of a vague, “Thanks for your hard work,” make sure to recognize exactly what your employee contributed. “Thank you for coming in early every day this week to help us get caught up on paperwork” is a more genuine expression of gratitude that shows you really are paying attention.
Be timely. Thanking someone as soon as you notice her good work is another way to be authentic in your gratitude. If you wait until the end of the week, it might feel forced and insincere, as if you’re just checking off a box on your “be a good boss” list.
Don’t have an ulterior motive. (I know, that’s hard to do when I just told you gratitude leads to improved employee productivity. Forget I said that!) Make it about the person you’re thanking, not how great it will make you look when you’re rewarding him with those movie tickets. Harvey Deutschendorf (in an article for Fast Company) nailed it when he wrote, “sincere praise happens even when no one is looking.”
Incorporate gratitude into your daily procedures. To truly create a “culture of gratitude” within your real estate business, you have to get the entire team involved. Make it clear that gratitude is one of your company’s core values. Then put procedures in place to practice gratitude on a daily basis. A couple of ideas from EOS Worldwide:
- In staff meetings, set aside a 5-minute segment for employees to recognize colleagues who went above and beyond.
- Create a "gratitude board" where staff can write notes of thanks to their colleagues. This could be a bulletin board with note cards, a whiteboard, or even an online message board.
When thanking clients, focus on your “shared purpose”
There are endless ways to thank your clients—handwritten notes, gift cards, taking them out to lunch, etc. But the way you phrase your appreciation could give your “thank you” even more impact.
An article by Harvard Business Review encourages companies to build a gratitude program based on a shared purpose you have with your client:
“Identify the shared purpose that you can work on together with your customer. See where you can express appreciation for their accomplishments toward that shared purpose. Cultivate gratitude and loyalty will naturally follow.”
Rather than thanking your client for the transaction—choosing to work with your real estate company—express your gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the shared purpose, i.e. helping them find their dream home.
Make gratitude a personal habit
So far in this blog post, I’ve only discussed gratitude as a business strategy. But practicing gratitude has some pretty incredible personal benefits, too.
Research has shown that writing in a gratitude journal each day contributes to:
- Better sleep
- Improved health
- Increased self-esteem
Here’s how you do it—once a day, write 1-3 sentences about something you are grateful for. You can do it first thing in the morning, while you’re eating breakfast, after you arrive in the office, or before you go to bed—whatever works for you. Bad at keeping a journal? Use a Google Doc, or the Notes app in your iPhone.
We talk a lot about habits here at Realvolve. Consider making gratitude one of yours.
How do you express gratitude to your employees? To your clients?
If you have any strategies for thanking your employees or showing client appreciation that you’d like to share, please comment below!