When was the last time you expressed gratitude to your team? What about your customers? Your business partners?  

And I mean really expressed gratitude by going beyond a simple thank you 

Although it’s critically important to say thank you, what people really need is to have their unique contributions recognized. When people feel valued, they also feel empowered to do their best work. 

Better Business Bureau® serving Greater Maryland offers these four reasons to practice sincere gratitude in your business.  

When you’re mentally and physically healthy, you can be a better leader. 

Your health matters to your business. Research shows that people who focus their energy on gratitude are healthier both physically and mentally. They show fewer signs of stress, feel optimistic and have strong personal relationships.  

Those same benefits can help tremendously in a business setting. Healthy leaders are resilient amidst challenges, conscious of growth opportunities and better able to resolve conflicts.  

A positive work environment motivates employees to work at a higher level. 

Gratitude doesn’t just make people feel good. In fact, it has real, tangible benefits.  

Most notably, when employees feel their contributions are truly appreciated by the organization, they gain the motivation to work smarter and get results.  

Gratitude actually pushes people to work more effectively. A University of Oxford study found that happy employees achieved 13 percent higher sales than unhappy employees, and they achieved those results in the same window of time.  

The reason? Happier employees simply worked faster. 

Grateful leaders hold onto valuable employees. 

Happy and appreciated employees don’t just produce better results, they’re also more likely to stick around – meaning you get to keep your top performers.  

Keeping valuable employees on the team is one of the most important things a business can do. Skilled and loyal employees can educate new team members and they’re more prepared to take on or develop creative projects.  

Customers will exhibit greater loyalty and make positive recommendations of your business.  

Just like employees, customers can feel your positive attitude and they’ll respond to it in kind. 

Loyalty programs, referral promotions and even a sincere thank you can motivate them to come back, leave a review or tell their friends.  

Research published in Harvard Business Review shows customer retention saves businesses money since it costs roughly 5 to 25 times less than new client acquisition. You can save money just by showing gratitude to your customers, because loyal customers do some of your advertising work for you.  

Gratitude contributes to a stronger workplace, healthy camaraderie and overall, it makes people happier. Happy people treat each other with respect, motivate one another and they help push your business to greater success.  

There are a few simple ways you can practice gratitude. Even taking the time to merely think about the things you’re grateful for can have a positive effect on your outlook but don’t forget to articulate your gratitude as well.  

Find lessons on topics like practicing gratitude and motivating employees with the BBB® serving Greater Maryland webinar series.  

View the BBB Business Education Series archive online, or register for an upcoming webinar at BBB.org/md-events.  

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland.