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How happy are your employees? Do they like their work? Do they feel recognized and appreciated? Perhaps not altogether surprising, feeling valued in a company can have a dramatic effect on how much a staff member enjoys his or her job. However, what might be surprising is that happiness in one’s professional life could impact productivity. If you have an unhappy worker, they may be 10% less productive than other personnel. Knowing this, how can you make your team happy?

Smart managers know that expressing gratitude to their employees is a powerful way to keep them engaged. Research reveals that workers thrive when they know they are appreciated. In fact, the feeling of gratitude is connected with a number of health benefits.

In one study, college students were divided into three groups. One group listed five things they were grateful for that week; another wrote about five hassles; and the third listed five events (positive or negative) that had happened. After ten weeks, researchers found that the students who had listed things for which they were grateful felt healthier, more optimistic and more positive about their lives. They even exercised more and slept better than the other participants.

These benefits do not apply only to students. Other research shows that people who feel appreciated at work tend to be more productive and willing to work harder than those who do not feel valued. Furthermore, they may be more optimistic and better able to cope with stress, ultimately leading to higher job satisfaction.

For example, in one study, fundraisers who were thanked for their efforts made 50% more fundraising calls than those who received no such messages of gratitude. Other research shows that employees who felt grateful were more likely to help co-workers and participate in “prosocial” behaviors. In your workplace, this could mean an increase in collaboration and output.

In a similar vein, expressing appreciation at work could improve employee engagement. Studies show that seven in 10 workers whose bosses recognized their efforts described themselves as happy with their jobs. Other research agrees that providing team members with specific, positive feedback could improve motivation, productivity and participation.

For more information about the importance of employee appreciation, check out the accompanying resource. It describes how companies and managers might incorporate more displays of recognition and gratitude into the workplace, which could benefit both employees and the organization.

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Infographic on Why You Should Express Appreciation to Employees