The Workplace is Full of Missed Opportunities to Thank Others

By Steve Bent
A new study finds many workers across various job sectors feel underappreciated, especially by their bosses, and roughly half of employees say they are thanked less than once per week by their supervisors. The authors say their study generally shows that the workplace is full of missed opportunities for thanking others.

Researchers with the USC Marshall School of Business also found employees value written thanks over spoken expressions of gratitude and prefer their managers to deliver the message one-on-one instead of in front of larger groups. The study’s authors first asked 58 professionals to journal for one month about their experiences with gratitude and expressions of thanks in the workplace. Next, they conducted an online survey of a national panel of 1,200 American professionals about their preferences for written and spoken thanks in the workplace.

Respondents reported being thanked by colleagues more frequently than by bosses. Three-quarters (75.1%) say they are thanked by colleagues on at least a weekly basis compared to about half (52.9%) who say they are thanked at least weekly by their supervisors. The results were published in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly. The study showed employees value expressions of thanks in writing because of the time and effort it takes, the specificity of the gratitude expressions and the ability to use it as a record of their performance.

Another top-ranked reason is that employees enjoy re-reading thank-you notes when they need a morale boost, said study author Peter Cardon, professor of clinical business communication and academic director for the MBA for Professionals & Managers program at USC Marshall.

“We wondered if handwritten thanks had gone out of style, but for one-quarter to a third of our respondents, handwritten thanks were right at the top of the list,” he said. Within the group that participated in the one month of gratitude journaling, respondents described in great detail handwritten notes they’d received years earlier: “They described pulling them out on a rainy day, and the handwritten form really made a big difference.”

Cardon and study co-authors Janna Wong and Cole Christie were surprised that this preference for handwritten thanks was consistent across age groups, with millennials enjoying handwritten notes as much as those from older generations. Prior research overwhelmingly shows that when employees feel appreciated and thanked, they are happier, more engaged with their work and more committed to their colleagues and organizations, the researchers noted.

Based on the new study, the authors suggest that managers should learn to give thanks more often and in a variety of forms. They should also understand that one-on-one expressions of thanks to their employees are often preferred to an expression of gratitude in front of others.

Other key findings of the study:
– Employees value expressions of thanks in spoken form because they are spontaneous and allow for more verbal and nonverbal expressiveness.
– Spoken thanks is sometimes perceived as more appropriate for public recognition and smaller efforts.
– Workers generally prefer being thanked in person as opposed to in front of others.
– Men are more likely to prefer being thanked in front of others than women.


Millennials are most likely to want both written and spoken thanks, while older employees increasingly prefer spoken thanks.

The study authors point out that management consultants often suggest that leaders and other professionals should express thanks more often in the workplace, but that research about gratitude in the workplace is limited. With millions of Americans working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are yearning for connection and the feeling of being appreciated, Cardon noted.

“We’re learning from public polling that people are more grateful for what they have in their personal lives, but at the same time there’s a lot of anxiety in their professional lives,” he said. “That’s when hearing that ‘thanks’ could be particularly meaningful.”


Tomorrow’s “What’s Hot and What’s Not” In the Job Market

It is no surprise that technology is changing the workforce. However, according to a recent report certain customer-facing service jobs will disappear at a stunning rate in as few as 8 years.

Fear not, though. Many of those disappearing jobs will be replaced by higher paying careers in these specific fields: medical research, mental health and information security. These 3 fields are anticipated to increase by well over 20% in the same period.

Many of these trends already existed, but researchers learned COVID and the dangers of personal interactions greatly accelerated them. With that in mind, the team analyzed data from several sources including the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Statista and Pew Research Center, to come up with this report:
“Top Jobs That Are About to Disappear and Jobs About to Emerge Due to COVID”.

7 Jobs That Are About to Disappear Due to COVID:
Travel Agents – Projected change 2019-2029: -25.9%
Hotel Clerks – Projected change 2019-2029: -22.0%
News Vendors – Projected change 2019-2029: -20.0%
Cashiers – Projected change 2019-2029: -19.8%
Restaurants Hosts & Hostesses – Projected change 2019-2029: -18.0%
Fast Food Cooks – Projected change 2019-2029: -13.4%
Movie Projectionists – Projected change 2019-2029: -11.2%

3 Jobs That Are About to Emerge Because of COVID:
Information Security Analysts – Projected change 2019-2029: +43%
The 43% projected increase is based on data that accounts for COVID’s impact on cybersecurity, which saw more hacking opportunities abound. According to a survey released by the Information Systems Security Association and Enterprise Strategy Group, information security professionals saw a 63% increase in cyber-attacks due to COVID.
Medical Scientists – Projected change 2019-2029: +30.7%
This +30.7 percentage represents roughly 40,000 new jobs. The increase is due to COVID because the data expects more attention will be given to pandemic preparedness in the future. Medical scientists are being tapped to provide governments and individuals with advice on how to best survive the pandemic.
Mental Health Counselors – Projected change 2019-2029: +24.7%
Not a surprise that the emotional stresses of quarantining and lockdowns affected many people’s mental states. Enter the need for mental health counselors. Per a January 2021 survey, 41% of surveyed adults reported experiencing anxiety and/or depression. Kaiser Family Foundation found that number compares drastically to the 11% who responded the same before COVID.


Surprise Things That are Bad for Your Eyes

You’re protecting your eyes from the sun, but do you know about these other things? Many causes of vision loss can be avoided by taking simple precautions.
Eating Too Much Junk Food – Good nutrition matters for all of us. Eating foods high on the glycemic index (like refined starches and sugars) could contribute to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in adults over 60.
Not Cleaning Your Contact Lenses – Dirty contacts can cause severe eye infections, like Acanthamoeba or fungal keratitis, or other chronic damage. That’s why you should always rub your lenses, even if you use a “no-rub” solution to clean and disinfect. This helps clear them of proteins from your tears, dust, pollen and other particles.
Honoring Flashers or Floaters – Almost everyone has the occasional floater, which is not the sign of a problem. These specks, transparent threads or cobeb-like images that drift across the line of vision are usually caused by age-related changes or conditions such as diabetes, inflammation in the back of your eye or bleeding in your eye. Though painless, they’re not always harmless. A sudden increase in floaters and/or blurry vision, or flashers usually seen in your peripheral vision (and more noticeable in the dark) could indicate a retinal tear or detachment, which can threaten your sight and cause permanent vision loss. Retinal tears or detachments are treated with surgery or lasers, but your vision will stand a better chance of recovery if you act fast.