Showing Gratitude in Business
November 11, 2022 | Showing Gratitude in Business
Entering November, many of our collective thoughts begin to focus on celebrating food, family and giving thanks. Thanksgiving is the prime time for doling out heaping helpings of gratitude, but it doesn’t have to start and end there. During this month of giving thanks, companies are taking the time to acknowledge the hard work their employees contribute, too. And while the gesture may seem small, a little appreciation can go a long way for any business.
Many studies have linked gratitude and happiness levels by now. If you’re into the meditation scene, you have probably come across some form of daily gratitude practice meant to uplift your mood and reignite the joy in something taken for granted. It’s true, acknowledging all the things we have to appreciate can make us happier for them, including our jobs. Flipped around, a business showing appreciation for their employees leads to a stronger workforce, happy employees and a better workplace culture overall.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, area business leaders share why they value gratitude in their business, and how they show appreciation for their company, employees and clients.
Stephen Anderson, president of Merrill Manufacturing Co., believes in the power of family values. “Merrill has been a successful family-run business for over 73 years. We try to incorporate the same principles and core values that make a strong family into our business,” he said.
Merrill Manufacturing is a global provider of water well products based out of Storm Lake. Although the company has grown widely from its one-car garage roots in 1949, Anderson said maintaining family values provides an easy framework to guide decisions, even during challenging, hectic or uncertain times. He is grateful for the loyalty and teamwork of everyone at Merrill.
“God has blessed us with great individuals who drive our business. We value their contributions, as they have made a tremendous impact. The average tenure of our employees is roughly 15 years. We are grateful to have them,” he said.
To keep the family tightknit, Merrill hosts quarterly meetings with the entire organization to touch on wins and give awards to team members. “We are really working to build a culture of appreciation with our team members, as they are the backbone of our business,” Anderson said.
For Matt Bemrich, president of Bemrich Electric and Telephone, showing gratitude also means taking action. Providing good wages and benefits that help employees is one way Bemrich ensures his team feels appreciated.
“Being able to impact the lives of our employees and their families makes me grateful for the business we do,” Bemrich said. Bemrich Electric and Telephone is a residential, commercial and industrial electrician company that has serviced Fort Dodge and the surrounding areas since 1984. As the third generation to take over the family business, Bemrich is proud “knowing that the work provides a quality of life that helps the employee be able to raise and provide for their family.”
On the other side, Bemrich said his clients and business relationships are also important to him. Without the customers, there would be no business, after all.
“I’m thankful for the customers and many vendors that we get to interact with on a daily basis. It’s often that a business relationship will grow into friendships that create long-lasting ties beyond the work,” he said.
At Growmark, a regional agricultural supply cooperative, gratitude is important to the company culture. With business facilities and operations spreading across states, the company seeks to keep teams connected. One way they do this is by providing employees with small, preprinted cards for each of the attributes of “The Growmark Way” (trust, excellence, responsiveness, expertise and solutions-focused) to recognize and encourage each other’s contributions, and show gratitude to their colleagues.
“Gratitude is a characteristic of business that cannot be overlooked and taken for granted. By recognizing positive things, employees will be more engaged, with stronger relationships and higher selfesteem. It can be one of the easiest and least expensive efforts to build a positive culture,” said Liz Hobart, a government relations manager at Growmark.
Another way Growmark shows appreciation for its employees is by offering two internal programs that reward and recognize employees who exhibit outstanding performance in categories like coaching and leadership, innovation and change, or diversity and inclusion. Recognizing people’s efforts not only shows gratitude, it encourages the person to succeed further.
“I’m thankful for the relationships I experience on a personal and professional level through my career,” Hobart said. “It’s within these relationships with employees, industry colleagues, customers and associations that I have developed friendships, and have the ability to grow professionally.”
If you’re looking to implement more ways to show gratitude at work, there’s no better time to start than right now. Hobart said she encourages everyone to seek opportunities to express gratitude each day, even if it’s small gestures.
“Think through how you would like to receive gratitude and implement that in your toolbox to express gratitude to others. It can be as simple as a smile or a short thank-you. Or it could be a more formal recognition program,” she said.
Everyday connections with colleagues or employees can add up fast, so make each one count. Anderson said connecting with his teams regularly and authentically is one way he reminds employees he appreciates them.
“Give balanced feedback. This is the key to helping employees feel seen and valued, and know that there's a clear direction and room for growth in the future. Appreciation needs to be specific and genuine, making it clear that you’re interested and invested in your team as people,” he said.
People can work better and collaborate more effectively under a culture of appreciation and respect. The holidays are an easy reminder to give thanks and spread kindness, but carrying this ethos year-round can separate a good place to work from a great place to work.
“Organizations and companies that prioritize efforts to show sincere appreciation and express gratitude toward their employees and customers will reap many benefits,” Hobart said.