In current times, employee recognition is more important than ever. In the fourth and final episode of “Measures of Gratitude,” host Mike Lovett, senior content marketing specialist at Workhuman®, welcomes Sharon Epperson, CNBC’s senior personal finance correspondent. In a moving, personal account, Sharon shares how she overcame personal challenges – and how gratitude, communication, and the interplay between the two all came together to redefine her work and personal life and give her an action plan for moving forward.
Sharon’s powerful story follows the series’ debut episode when Emiliana Simon-Thomas took us on a deep dive into the meaning and positive impact gratitude has on company culture and our personal lives. In week two, Elizabeth Stokoe explored the pivotal role communication plays in infusing gratitude into our day-to-day interactions. And in last week’s episode three, Emily Heaphy examined the impact gratitude and positive feedback have on today’s dynamic workplace environment and employee retention.
Here are some of the interview highlights as the mini-series concludes – just in time for Thanksgiving – with the renowned CNBC journalist:
1. Burnout is real and a significant mental health challenge for many and contributes greatly to employee turnover. Sharon points out that – while not necessarily diagnosed as a medical issue – burnout is real, affecting employee morale and having an impact on engagement. When employees feel they’re doing the best job they can, yet their efforts are not being seen or appreciated, they often just give up. The antidote to burnout? “What is really critical is being able to have a communication at work with colleagues and with your supervisor,” notes Sharon. “I think that would go a long, long way to alleviating burnout.”
2. Gratitude and employee appreciation are essential to positive company culture, but don't happen often enough. “A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way because – all too often – no one ever says it,” noted Sharon. She observed that in her career, feedback is often given only when an employee makes a mistake or “messed something up.”
3. Yes, the entire team should be thanked – just for doing their jobs. To those senior level leaders who question why their company values should include thanking employees for doing what’s in their job description, Sharon has a message: Your employees are people who may be dealing with a sick child, a fender bender, or a flooded basement – yet they still continue to do their work. That’s why a “thank you” for doing a good job can go a long way.
4. Your personal life should be a part of your professional life. Sharon rejects the notion that employees should hide their personal life from the workplace. “Part of what got me through some of those very long work days covering the commodity markets was a picture of my daughter on my mouse pad,” she recalled. She reminds employers to “keep in mind what people are leaving behind as they come to work.”
5. Gratitude enabled her return to work following a brain aneurysm. “I was very nervous about coming back to work,” Sharon recalled. But the gratitude and public recognition her company showed her enabled her to return “in a way that allowed me to do my job, but at the pace and the level” she could handle in the first days, weeks, and years back.
6. Be your true, authentic self at work. “I needed to go to work,” recalled Sharon. “But I also needed to be honest at work and share my vulnerability. Just be authentic. It’s important to be who you are. And be proud of that.”
7. It’s important to put in extra effort to connect with co-workers on a “real level” and promote employee engagement. When Sharon learned that a co-worker had also been impacted by the effects of Hurricane Ida, she reached out to provide peer recognition, comfort, and share their common experience. “Everyone is going through something,” noted Sharon. “That is what I have learned from my own experience. So a form of recognition such as saying ‘thank you’ goes such a long way.”
Want to learn more?
Here are some additional resources that explore how you can put the power of gratitude into action for your entire team:
Workhuman evangelist Lynne Levy draws on extensive psychology research as she explores how gratitude is a “secret ingredient” that contributes to company values such as employee happiness, healing, and well-being.
Renowned speaker, trainer, and author Jason Lauritsen lays out his roadmap for creating a human organization where people can thrive and unleash the enormous potential each of them has within.
A series that explores the real-world steps you can take to build a company culture of gratitude, employee satisfaction, well-being, and diversity, equity, and inclusion at your organization.