What is your employees workplace appreciation language?

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Most of us are familiar with the concept of a love language within our personal lives.  For those that are not, it is where people have different preferences for how they give and receive love. Author and therapist Gary Chapmans book describes the 5 love languages. He says, when you identify and express your love in a way that your partner prefers, you improve your relationship by not only understanding them, but giving them what they need and creating a happy relationship with them.  

But have you heard of an appreciation language in the workplace? It works in the same way and results in your employees improved workplace satisfaction.  It helps improve how you communicate to your team and demonstrate your appreciation in a way that will continue to motivate. 

Chapman and White identify 5 ways to keep staff engaged.   

Expressing gratitude through words:  There are various ways that team members can be praised verbally.  This can be a mention at a team meeting for work well done, an email praising their efforts or even a verbal thank you one on one when the work has been completed. 

Gifts or Employee Reward programs:   Team members may feel appreciated when companies have a reward program with discounted movie tickets or have benefits available such as an extra annual leave day or a day off for their birthday.  Some businesses even provide vouchers or cash as a reward for work well done on a particular project.

Acts of service: Offering to lend a hand to a team member on a time critical project or perhaps offering to do the coffee run if you know they are busy is also a form of appreciation that can go a long way for an employee.  The gesture may be small but it can go a long way and speaks to your leadership of valuing your team.

Quality time: Spending time with a team member can be achieved in many different ways.  This can be in the form of a regular one on one to update, collaborating on a project, spending your lunch break together, stopping by their desk to discuss what they have on or even leaving the office together at the end of the day.  Maybe even try a walking meeting for 30 minutes with no phones! Any time spent together can add a lot of value to the relationship. 

Lastly and perhaps not for everyone is physical contact.  This can be in the form of a handshake, a high five or since covid an elbow bump may be more socially acceptable.  There are many reasons why a team member may not appreciate any physical contact and it is extremely important to be aware of cultural differences amongst the team, however there may also be people that feel appreciated if they receive that pat on the back after a presentation. 

The 5 languages in the workplace can be a very effective tool for improving workplace culture and engagement.  Get it wrong however and it may work against you.  Make the time to get to know each and every team member so you are able to learn their language and what works for them.

We wish you well on your culture journey. Our team is here to support you! 😊

Nick Hedges is the founder of Resolve HR, a Sydney-based HR consultancy specialising in providing workplace advice to managers and business owners. He recently published his first book, “Is Your Team Failing Or Kicking Goals – Take control of your people and their performance”. It is a practical Response to the most pressing HR challenges, which can be found at https://resolvehr.com.au/.

Disclaimer: The contents do not constitute legal advice and does not cater for individual circumstances.   The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Reference: Chapman G & White P (2021) “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”

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