Practicing Gratitude with Household Staff
No matter what field they work in, everyone wants to feel that they are valued at their job. As an employer of a nanny, butler, or other domestic staff, making them feel like a valued part of your household operations is more essential than you might think. Here’s why you should express your thanks regularly, as well as some helpful tips for becoming a master of gratitude.
Why Is Gratitude So Important?
In recent years, research into the effects of gratitude on human health, happiness, and workplace function has revealed some surprising positive effects. Those who regularly practice gratitude report feeling more alive, having more positive emotions, and even sleeping more soundly.¹ Even simply being thankful for little things—a smile from a stranger or a good song on the radio—could significantly boost your well-being.
Expressing gratitude on a regular basis may also be good for your heart in a literal, physical way. In a study published in 2016, researchers found that regular “gratitude journaling” may improve markers of heart health in heart failure patients.²
Of course, expressing gratitude to other people (like your employees) is also beneficial for the recipients. Getting feedback and being validated by other people is a natural human need and desire, and knowing that their efforts are appreciated keeps morale high and encourages them to keep up the good work. After all, no one wants to work a thankless job!
Tips for Showing Your Gratitude
Like so many things in life, gratitude is something you have to actively practice to reap its greatest rewards. The following are a few valuable tips to help you show gratitude to your staff in a way that will be earnest, impactful, and beneficial for everyone involved.
Be Proactive About It
All too often, we tend to wait until there’s a problem or a request for feedback to express our feelings about a person and their actions. Rather than waiting for review time or tacking it onto a discussion about something that went wrong, be proactive about showing your thanks. Ideally, your staff won’t have to ask you if they’re doing a good job; you’ll already have told them through your gratitude.
As an extreme example, don’t wait until a household employee tells you they’re interviewing for other jobs to tell them how valued they are. Show gratitude throughout their employment, and they might not feel the need to look elsewhere.
Make It Personal
Generic thanks are better than no thanks at all, but you’ll have the greatest impact if your expression of gratitude truly speaks to who they are. Consider who they are and what they value, and then craft your words or actions to meet their emotional needs.
When personalizing your gratitude, think of it as speaking to them in their own personal language. Someone who values precision and care in their job, for example, would likely feel bolstered by being thanked for the quality of their work. On the other hand, someone who highly values relationships with others might be happiest to hear that you’re grateful for their friendly demeanor and the way they interact with you and your family.
Foster an Overall Culture of Gratitude
Humans are naturally social, which means that we easily pick up on and mirror the behaviors of others around us. As an employer, you can use this to grow and maintain a culture of gratitude among your domestic staff and throughout the household. Especially if you have children, practicing gratitude and encouraging them to express it to staff can be an extremely valuable lesson and life skill.
If you have multiple household employees, encourage staff to show gratitude for one another as well. Because gratitude has benefits for both the giver and the recipient, gratitude among staff members naturally fosters positivity in the workplace. If necessary, you might even employ tools like a peer recognition board where staff can leave words of thanks for one another.
Celebrate Big Wins, but Don’t Forget About the Small Stuff
When a member of your household staff solves a big problem or goes above and beyond, you have a natural opportunity to show how grateful you are for their hard work. However, it’s important that you also show that you’re grateful for the little things along the way (the extra load of laundry, the snacks they made for the kids, etc.).
Make a habit of showing gratitude in the moment; people appreciate getting real-time feedback. If you’re not always present to thank your staff, however, jot down the reason(s) you’re grateful and bring it up to them when you have the chance.
Make Sure Everyone Feels Valued
Have you ever felt like you were being overlooked at work despite doing your absolute best? It’s not a great feeling, to say the least. By making an effort to express gratitude to everyone appropriately, you can ensure that they won’t end up feeling the same way. This doesn’t mean that you can’t recognize exceptional performance; it just means that you should feel grateful for the ordinary as much as the extraordinary.
For example, your nanny is constantly saving the day by handling various household needs when you’re stuck at work. Meanwhile, your maid continues cleaning as usual with no major occurrences. Your nanny absolutely deserves special praise and thanks for their efforts, but don’t forget to show gratitude to your maid for their own consistent contributions, as well.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Verbalizing your gratitude for your home staff is valuable, but don’t forget that there are other ways to show that you are thankful for everything they do. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to make gestures of gratitude that go beyond words—like giving them a small bonus or an extra day off.
Another way you can show gratitude is through pay. When it comes time to review their work for the year, giving a household staff member a raise can be a great way to show that you appreciate them and want to reward their efforts in a real and tangible way.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Practice makes perfect, they say, and it also makes habits. By actively working to be grateful in daily life, you can eventually make it a natural part of your behavior. In addition to showing gratitude regularly in staff interactions, consider practicing it elsewhere in your life.
You might, for example, start a gratitude journal in which you write down a few things you’re thankful for each day. When you learn to be a more grateful person overall, showing your household employees that you value them will eventually be something you do automatically.
With the Right Staff, It’s Easy to Be Grateful
Whether you’re looking for a butler, cook, household manager, or other domestic staff to help you keep your home running smoothly, our domestic staff agency will connect you with the very best candidates we can find. At Staffing at Tiffanie’s, we thoroughly screen and background check every applicant so that you can focus on the details.
In addition to providing pre-vetted candidates for interviews, we also make it easy to hire and manage your household staff with full employment packages that include work agreements, communication logs, payroll assistance and more. We’ll also continue to provide support and guidance throughout your staff members’ employment.