The Workforce Institute Thanksgiving 2020 Edition

Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It seems to have somehow escaped the commercialism of so many other yearly celebrations and continues instead to revolve around the simple pleasures of good food, family and friends. And, of course, being thankful.

The writer Charles Dickens is credited as having said, “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” While good advice to live by any year, it’s perhaps never been more relevant than this year, 2020, a year in which so many people around the world have faced hardships both large and small, catastrophic and mundane.

When it comes to our working lives, it’s just as important to have gratitude. Not every day at work is a walk in the park (as the old line goes, “that’s why they call it ‘work’”) but upon reflection, there are often many blessings to be found: supportive colleagues who make each day better, the satisfaction that comes with knowing you have put forth your best effort and created something worthwhile, even the failures, which always seem to be our best teachers and help us grow.

The role of gratitude in creating a great workplace is something we have always focused on at The Workforce Institute, and in preparation for Thanksgiving, I wanted to highlight some recent and not so recent articles that touch on this topic:

Nurses on the Front Line

Workforce Institute board member Nanne Finis, Chief Nurse Executive at UKG, had one of my favorite posts this year where she reflected on the bravery, knowledge and skills of nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finding a Cure for The Summer Scaries

Our “Summer Scaries” survey looked at how working parents, and working people in general, were feeling as Fall approached and the global pandemic showed no signs of slowing down. It’s been such a stressful year, and this survey served as a reminder to all employers and managers to recognize this stress and find ways to thank employees for all they are doing to get us through this time: “Make time to celebrate your employees’ wins and get creative about how you do it. Practice gratitude and see how it transforms your working life. Recognize the magic in a ‘thank you.’ People need appreciation and simple kindness perhaps most of all right now.”

Frontline Workforce Management During the Pandemic

In this post, three UKG Technology Partners shared some of the lessons they have learned about frontline workforce management during the pandemic. Among other great insight, “Acknowledgment and recognition goes a long way, whether it be from a manager or someone very senior within the organization. Humility and appreciation from leadership can help make coming into work every day—and possibly putting themselves at risk—feel more worth it.”

Want Your Stars to Stay? Say Thank You

This post is a bit older than the others highlighted here, but its lesson is timeless. Focused on a survey we conducted about appreciation at work in 2015, we noted at the time, “The most interesting results of this survey are those concerning what it takes to make employees feel appreciated. It’s not just about the Benjamins. When asked what gives them a high sense of satisfaction at work, employees say receiving a “Thank you” from their direct manager (55 percent) is important to them. For employees who feel somewhat or not at all appreciated, not being recognized for the work they do was the top reason cited by nearly half (48 percent) as something that makes them not feel appreciated at work.”

Saying Thanks

So, take the opportunity this week to thank someone (or even better, more than just one someone) for their efforts this year.  At work, at home, in any aspect of life, expressing appreciation makes everyone feel better and truly does make the world a little better.

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