How a gratitude process can improve employee retention (feat. Chris Schembra)

Dec 1, 2021

Wellness is so much more than physical and mental health.  


For decades, physical health was the number one conversation happening in the wellness space. Food and exercise were the primary focus.


Over time, the conversation started expanding to mental health. Meditation, going to therapy and prioritizing mindfulness became more common.


Now, a shift is happening. Chris Schembra, USA Today’s gratitude guru, believes there’s a new frontier in health and well-being: social health. Emotional, interpersonal relationships are the next step in the wellness journey. Gratitude, Chris says, is the key to deepening relationships.


With a massive lack of connection in the workplace, executives and entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to build lasting community within their companies.  


Chris Schembra is the bestselling author of Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection, ranked by Forbes as the #2 Book of 2020 to Create Human Connections. He’s used the principles of gratitude to spark over 500,000 relationships around the dinner table serving fortune 50 CEOs, Olympians, Academy Award winners, Grammy-winning artists and even Super Bowl champions. He founded 747 with a mission to create meaningful connection through his 7:47 gratitude experience.


In the latest episode of The Enlightened Executive podcast, Chris shares the transformational power of gratitude and how to foster a sense of community in the virtual and in-person workplace.



How leaders can lead their teams with a transformational practice of gratitude 


Executives and entrepreneurs constantly face challenges and setbacks. Chris and I talked about the importance of finding a way to be grateful, even in difficult circumstances.


Instead of feeling weighed down by past experiences, grateful processing helps leaders to reframe negative experiences as growth opportunities. 


“Giving gratitude to ways that you’ve overcome adversity is how you build resilience,” Chris says.


Here’s how to process your setbacks through a grateful lens:  


  • Reflect on unprocessed negative emotions. Think of a time you were left disappointed or someone failed you in some way. Write down how you felt, or share the experience with someone you trust.
  • Reframe the story. What were the lessons you learned from the experience? What was the gift in it? Are there any other stories you can reframe?
  • Give your teams the space to do the same. Create team-building time (offsite or virtually) so your team can follow this gratitude process, or use 7:47 or another facilitator to help you.



Why gratitude is the key to employee retention and social health  


Motivating employees to stay requires more than a strong company mission. Work becomes transactional when there isn’t a sense of belonging and caring for colleagues.


Even pre-pandemic, 51% of the American workforce reported being lonely on a consistent basis, which is equivalent to the reduction of lifespan from smoking 15 cigarettes a day (or seven years off your life).


Preventing loneliness not only promotes health but also promotes employee retention.


“Connection to others, a sense of belonging, is what makes talent stay at a company more than connection to the product, or connection to leadership,” Chris said.


Chris advocates for practicing gratitude because it helps employees feel more connected to one another. His company facilitates virtual and in-person experiences to help employees find gratitude in the hard times and share their reflections with colleagues.


The truth is we have more in common than we realize. Executives and entrepreneurs are well positioned to lead the way in fostering true human connections across their teams.


Listen to this episode to hear how Chris leads teams to find gratitude and build stronger relationships.


“It’s not the perfect moments that create the greatest amount of connection between peers and colleagues. It’s when we share our vulnerabilities that we realize we have more in common than we know.” —Chris Schembra



Chris also talks about…


  • Why gratitude journals aren’t the answer to happiness
  • The role of belonging in supporting diversity and inclusion
  • How a trip to Italy changed the course of his life and career


If you liked this episode, you may also benefit from hearing:


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