Most people have heard about the 5 Love Languages, a concept and book released by Dr. Gary Chapman. It goes into the different ways that people prefer to give and receive love in their relationships. It can be extremely beneficial to know how your partner best receives love, so that you can focus on showing your love in a way that resonates with them. Can we apply this to work, though? Yes! In fact, we definitely should.
Approximately 60% of workers feel that they are unappreciated at work. It’s important that we let our employees know that their hard work is being noticed! So what can we do? Well, Dr. Paul White (co-author of the 5 Love Languages) has helped us identify that there are also 5 languages of appreciation at work: Acts of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Tangible Gifts, and Appropriate Physical Touch. (Sound familiar…?)
Acts of Service
Bringing in donuts on Friday mornings is a great way to show your team that you care. Order dinner for late-night board meetings. You can even simply offer to take on one of the menial tasks that everyone hates (yet has to be done).
This can be anything that shows one-on-one attention. One way to present quality time is through mentorship. If you don’t have a mentorship program, you can always schedule check in times with your employees. Bring them into your office, close the door, and offer focused communication.
Words of Affirmation
Get specific. Saying “good job” may feel good to you, but it may sound like a platitude to someone else. Let them know what you have specifically noticed – “You did fantastic in that presentation! You really kept everyone engaged, which can be tough to do.”
Many people love getting gifts. Consider branded gifts for a team who went above and beyond. Bonuses are also a way that a worker can have something in hand that says “I am appreciated.” Tangible items can be for exceeding expectations, meeting milestones, or even just random recognition that you know who be appreciated. (You can also give the gift of time off!)
Appropriate Physical Touch
Physical touch is the least likely to be requested at the office. However, it’s important to know that it can be used, and how to use it. Some people love hugs, while others prefer handshakes or high-fives. Two key points: do not assume and respect boundaries. Always make sure the other person consents before touching anyone.
Find out in what ways your employees best receive appreciation, and make sure to utilize that information! Give gifts, provide quality time, and renew their loyalty to your company.