The Five Languages Of Appreciation In The Workplace
Few things fascinate me as much as personality tests. You know the typical ones Myers-Briggs, CliftonStrengths, and becoming more and more popular, the Enneagram. However, one of my favorite tests is understanding peoples love languages and how they prefer to receive love and express their love for others. Its clear how this translates into your personal life, but I often bring up to my Bohlsen Group team how relevant love languages are in a workplace setting as well.
Recently, our team completed a test covering our five languages of appreciation in the workplace. These are similar in name to the original love languages: acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, gifts and physical touch. Hearing our results gave me new perspective on how I can best help my teammates and how to be a better manager. And, learning these insights about your team members is crucial, with a third of all U.S. workers feeling undervalued and unappreciated at work. Below, I touch on the different languages of appreciation in the workplace and how to best apply those in a way thats meaningful and effective.
1. Words of Affirmation
Its also important to note that words of affirmation dont need to only come from your manager or the president of a company. To foster a healthy workplace environment, compliment and acknowledge the hard work of everyone on your team, even if youre not the manager, encouraging peer-to-peer appreciation.
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
How To Speak The 5 Languages Of Appreciation In The Workplace
Appreciating your employees leads to higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover rates
The idea of five love languages has been known to enhance communication and trust between partners in romantic relationships since the book, The Five Love Languages, written by Gary Chapman coined the idea in 1995. The premise of using this tool is that each person in a relationship has at least one primary way in which he or she receives love. In order for a person to feel loved, his or her partner must learn to speak the language of love that the person most accepts as signs of affection.
You can also apply the five love languages to relationships in the workplace, but well refer to them as the Five Languages of Appreciation in this setting. It is important to understand that one method of employee recognition isnt universally accepted for all employees. Employees require affirmation in many different ways and knowing their languages of appreciation can help your company keep employees motivated by offering the right type of encouragement as well as the rewards that theyll appreciate most.
The Five Languages of Appreciation
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Appreciation Isn’t Just A Top
While manager-driven employee recognition is powerful and necessary, itâs also important to acknowledge that itâs everyoneâs responsibility to create a culture of appreciation at work. Rather relying solely on your company leaders to power employee appreciation, your organization should create opportunities for peer-to-peer appreciation.
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How To Implement The 5 Languages Of Appreciation Within Your Team
First, just considering these 5 languages, and how you can use the languages in your appreciation, can have a positive benefit. Just recognizing that different people have different languages of appreciation, and tuning into that, can help make your appreciation more effective.
To take a step further, you can identify your own primary language. Do this by using the free, languages of appreciation quiz or the more complete MBA Inventory.
Assess for yourself whether the findings seem accurate and make sense to you. Draw on your own experiences to see what language of appreciation works best for yourself. Maybe work with this for a while, observing examples and experiences so that youre more aware of the 5 languages.
Then, discuss the 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace with your team, perhaps using a team meeting to raise the topic. Give your team the opportunity to complete the languages of appreciation quiz or take the MBA Inventory. Follow-up in your 1-1 meetings, or consider facilitating a simple workshop on the topic.
The desired outcome? You become more aware of the 5 languages, and how to use them. You develop a better understanding of which language makes the right impact with each of your team members. As a manager, and as a team, you learn a useful skill. Youre all better able to give appreciation more effectively, with all the team and business benefits.
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The Importance Of Workplace Appreciation
Job satisfaction, in turn, is greatly affected by whether we feel our work is valued and appreciated. Most employees also want to express and receive appreciation with their coworkers, and have an encouraging work environment and good relationships with their colleagues. Thus, effective expression of appreciation is not just for supervisors and managers, but for any level in the organization.
In short, organizations are increasingly budget-strapped, and are unable to rely on financial rewards as a key form of encouragement or reward. Appreciation can greatly improve workplace satisfaction without large amounts of financial resources, to: Reduce employee turnover Improve attendance, productivity and commitment and Increase customer satisfaction
Use The 5 Languages Of Appreciation To Give Your Team A Boost
We all want a pat on the back sometimes, right? Well, apparently not. It turns out there are 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace.
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People is a best-selling book, written by Gary Chapman and Paul White. It has sold over 450,000 copies and has been translated into 16 languages.
The reason for its popularity? Showing appreciation is an important part of your role as a manager. The research highlights the importance of appreciation in engaging and motivating employees.
What the book provides is a simple framework, the 5 languages, that helps ensure appreciation hits the mark and has the desired impact.
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Language : Appropriate Physical Touch
Recently many cultures have grown increasingly cautious about physical touch in the workplace, in order to avoid doing anything that might be perceived as inappropriate. While you should, of course, remain conscious about whats appropriate in the workplace, its encouraged to use appropriate kinds of physical touch to demonstrate that you value and appreciate the contributions of another person.
Physical touch positively affects a persons sense of acceptance, establishes trust, conveys connectedness, and demonstrates caring. Some generally safe and acceptable forms of physical touch in the workplace include the following:
- High-fives or fist bumps
- A pat on the back or shoulder
Quality Time = Bonding
In a world of hybrid and remote working, quality time which translates to workplace bonding, can become even more crucial. If you or your employees thrive from interacting and sharing experiences, then this may be your primary approach to express your appreciation in the workplace. And it can be fulfilled in more ways than one, from collaborative projects to after-work drinks.
Workplace bonding as a love language falls into the non-work category, as it suggests slowing down a bit, getting to know a coworker, and giving that person your undivided attention. But that doesnt necessarily mean you have to be face-to-face. This works perfectly well remotely and can be performed as a check-in over Zoom, providing a lot of value too.
This language of appreciation can also lead to employees becoming more grounded and help with anxiety and other mental health challenges.
Other examples of workplace bonding include ending a project with a team social, celebrating workplace highlights and anniversaries, and taking the time to support colleagues in need of a good chat.
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The Definition Of Appreciation
There is a need for the definition of this phrase in order to comprehend workplace appreciation. In this respect, the meaning of appreciation in any organization is that an operative work is prearranged in an appropriate value via distinguishing the influences rendered to the business through efficiency that augments from authentic self, spirit, and humanity . Actually, this delineation is based on personal experiences attached to theory and literature.
A significant role by theory helps in accepting the practice of an optimistic scheme on the review to effect change inside an organization. In performing this research, the employment of affirmative activities and behaviors within a work team was stimulating. This involved figuring out affirmative actions and behaviors in generating an encouraging organizational milieu packed with appreciation.
The model of appreciation also influenced the review project. The model explains the co-evolutionary exploration of the preeminent individuals, their administrations, and the pertinent world surrounding the workplace. Conversely, this definition is based on the academic and humanistic viewpoint of the administrative development concept. The theme is entrenched on the ability and inquiry on the personnel to cooperate with one other and utilize the existing optimistic executives.
Appreciation At Work Certified Facilitator Course
Learn how to effectively lead teams in applying 5 Languages of Appreciation to their work setting. This online course is designed to give leaders, trainers and HR professionals the resources necessary to effectively train individuals and groups in the proven principles of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.
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Acts Of Service = Support
Acts of service can translate into support and care for coworkers. This language of appreciation suggests that actions speak louder than words, whether thats checking in with someone over Zoom, sharing documents or resources that youve also found helpful, or even taking on extra work to free up someone elses time.
When it comes to this approach, its also helpful to consider these tips. First off, ask before spontaneously helping, so as to not step on anyones toes. Make sure its clear youre volunteering a favor is better when someones actually happy to do it. Be sure to clarify how your coworker would like the said task done. Finally, make sure you finish what you started. Definitely dont bite off more than you can chew.
A few more examples of this workplace love language include supporting others at work with a check-in email or even making them a cup of tea, picking up lunch, or bringing them a treat when everything feels a little hectic.
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Physical Touch = Encouragement
Finally, the last of the five love languages on the list is physical touch the least to categorically apply at work. The language of physical touch should definitely NOT be explored here. At the very most, a fist bump, nod or handshake will do.
And so this has been replaced with the work appreciation language of encouraging touchpoints. We can sometimes gloss over accomplishments, especially when work gets busy, but its essential for boosting morale.
Make sure you inspire and motivate employees with words of advice or praise
If youve noticed that an employee responds well to encouragement, make sure you inspire and motivate them with words of advice or praise. Other ways of demonstrating this approach involve acknowledging people with eye contact or a smile, sending a virtual high-five over Zoom, setting up regular 1-to-1s, and cheering on your team as you approach milestones.
Is your language of appreciation in the workplace employee gifting? Say no more. These customizable gifts say thank you like no other.
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What Makes You Feel Appreciated Learn The 5 Languages Of Appreciation At The Workplace
Appreciation is a cornerstone of company culture and the main source of employee engagement. Plus, by learning the five languages of appreciation, you can improve employee productivity.
Have you ever felt underappreciated at work? You put in your best effort only to feel like it didnt matter. Feeling unappreciated is more common than most people realize. In fact, some studies suggest that a whopping 80% of employees in the US think theyre not shown enough appreciation at work.
As recognized by Mazlow and many researchers after him, appreciation is a basic human need. When people lack appreciation, they suffer and seek fulfillment elsewhere. Conversely, when people do feel appreciated, they are much more likely to thrive. Its clear that feeling appreciated at work leads to higher levels of commitment, increased motivation, and enhanced performance.
Appreciation is also the cornerstone of employee engagement which is critical when it comes to increasing productivity. Therefore, companies have every reason to ensure their employees feel appreciated, and investments in this area have been proven to pay off. But how can employers help employees feel appreciated?
The Five Languages Of Appreciation At Work
Find out your workplace love language here.
When it comes to romantic relationships and even friendships, weve learned that compatibility is quite important. Whether that comes down to shared interests, similar beliefs and values, or even how we express our emotions and love toward one another. But can the same apply to the office?
Gary Chapman outlined just that in his book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. Twenty years after his bestselling book series on The Five Love Languages, which discussed the general ways in which romantic partners express and experience love, he adapted his theory to workplace relationships.
Its important for us all to feel seen, heard, secure, and valued
However, just like understanding your partners preferred love language is crucial, its important to understand how different people approach work interactions in the office and beyond. Good news: the five languages can be reworked to fit into an office environment. Obviously, we knew right off the bat that some worked better than others physical touch definitely doesnt belong there.
Nevertheless, its important for us all to feel seen, heard, secure, and valued. So perhaps we should pay more attention to picking the right languages to make work relationships easier and more positive. Heres some tips to adapt love languages to workplace communication.
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Words Of Affirmation = Feedback
The first love language slots perfectly into the workplace for the most part anyway. Dishing out praise in the workplace should only be given when its genuinely deserved. It can also translate into mentoring and offering all that youve learned to those in a more junior role. Alternatively, words of affirmation can relate to critical feedback. Whether its hard to hear or not well-meaning advice is crucial to learning and doing better at your job.
If you think this could be your teammates workplace love language, you may also want to offer verbal acknowledgments of their good work. Alternatively, if it sounds more like yours, you may want to discuss setting up more 1-to-1s with your manager to let them know your desire to strengthen your skills and aspirations of progressing into a leadership role.
Other ways of executing words of affirmation would be to tell someone what a great job theyre doing, share positive feedback publicly during meetings or in a group email or create an email folder for yourself of all the positive feedback youve received.