Gratitude and Staff Retention

Gratitude and Staff Retention

Working in social care is often seen as a job rather than a career. People often enter the social care sector as a stop gap rather than a definitive career choice. Often though, once they are embroiled in the day-to-day activities, they fall in love with the sector.

Encouraging people to join the sector is one challenge, however keeping them there is an even greater challenge. As individuals and the sector as a whole often feel undervalued. The social care sector is often in the shadow of healthcare, even though there are more people employed in social care rather than healthcare!

Despite working in social care being a rewarding job, care workers often feel a lack of job satisfaction. Their colleagues are often so busy that they often don't have time to show appreciation for the efforts of their co-workers.

This issue can be addressed by creating a culture of gratitude from the top down. A simple thank you can go a long way towards creating a comfortable and positive work environment.

There is a direct correlation between employee retention and an employee's perception of being valued in the workplace. Studies show that 3 out of 4 employees who don't feel their contributions are valued in the workplace look for greener pastures. Employees don't just want a paycheck; they also want appreciation.

In a recent study, David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, examined the impact praise, pride and gratitude have on our lives, His study indicates that feeling pride or compassion increases perseverance on difficult tasks by over 30 percent. According to Dr. DeSteno, when we make people feel grateful, they'll spend more time helping anyone who asks for assistance, they show greater loyalty, they are more willing to take on leadership roles in groups and work longer and harder to help a team solve a difficult problem.

Employees who work in an organisation that regularly shows gratitude are inspired to form connections to the company's culture, are more integrated, engaged and have a willingness to roll up their sleeves on even the most challenging projects. Organisations that focus on showing gratitude reap long-term benefits of improved employee retention and greater overall employee well-being.

Dr DeSteno notes that emotions like gratitude and compassion reduce stress. These positive emotions slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of anxiety; they ease the way to patience and perseverance. Imagine a workplace where patience, perseverance and compassion are cultural norms.

We can improve staff wellbeing by making gratitude a corporate state of mind.

As Dean Morgan from Pineshield said:

We try to change the attitude internally, because a lot of the time in social care we get caught up with the day to day, in the firefight, we just focus on the negative, as a way of improving, we think we could do that better, we don't always focus on the positive. We can make a more conscious effort. At Pineshield we send a little postcard to our deserving staff, we put it in the post and share it on social media as well. It's those little things that make our staff feel valued.

Pineshield is also an active supporter of TAP's free-to-use social thanking platform and use it to collate and share messages of thanks they receive for their staff.

Organisations dedicated to delivering gratitude reap the benefits of deeper workforce engagement. We can increase our levels of camaraderie and decrease staff turnover by making gratitude an intrinsic part of our daily routine.

You can hear more from Dean Morgan at Pineshield on TAP's Social Care Radio Show: