Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When comparing the various Languages of Appreciation, it’s easy to see that employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation. Only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation. And they also choose tangible gifts as their least valued language almost 70% of the time. This is important to consider because most employee recognition programs emphasize giving gifts. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about this, companies end up wasting millions of dollars giving gifts to employees that aren’t wanted and do little to improve performance. This is especially... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Quality Time

Many people assume that appreciation is always communicated verbally. While using words is one way to show staff members that you value them, many employees prefer appreciation shown through the language of Quality Time. In fact, Quality Time is the preferred appreciation language for 26% of employees in the U.S. (or, one of every four of your colleagues.) By Quality Time, we mean spending time with a colleague either by giving the person your focused attention, working collaboratively with them, or (for some people) just “hanging out.” You are showing that you value them by giving them your most precious resource:... Continue reading...

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May 2, 2022 9:00 am
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6 Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Say Thank You Enough (or Ever)

Words of Affirmation is just one of the five ways employees like to be shown appreciation. And business and organizational leaders are constantly reminded how important it is to communicate appreciation to their staff — and it is. But sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ isn’t said often enough. When employees feel truly valued and appreciated, good things follow. Team members are less likely to leave for another job, complain and grumble, steal from the organization, or get hurt on the job. Conversely, they are more likely to show up for work (and on time), follow established policies and procedures, and... Continue reading...

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April 18, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Acts of Service

“Don’t tell me you care; show me.” This is a phrase often heard from those whose preferred language of appreciation is Acts of Service. For them, actions will always speak louder than words and they feel appreciated when others reach out to help. Over 1 in 5 employees (22%) have Acts of Service as their primary language of appreciation (with another 15% having it as their secondary language). So over one third of your coworkers value appreciation shown through practical actions that will help them do their work more effectively. How you help out a colleague really is situation specific.... Continue reading...

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April 11, 2022 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

How to Use Words of Appreciation Effectively While Words of Affirmation is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple thank you, praise in front of others – are all examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more effective in showing appreciation and encouragement to colleagues (and help you avoid some common errors, as well). To be most... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2022 9:00 am
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How to Get Past the Most Common Challenges to Creating a Culture of Appreciation

While creating a workplace culture of appreciation is fairly straightforward, a number of practical challenges also exist. Research has shown that teaching leaders and colleagues how to communicate authentic appreciation to one another can make their workplaces more positive. And the impact has been demonstrated in medical settings, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, multinational corporations, financial institutions and manufacturing firms. (Read the recent New York Times business section article* on the 5 languages of appreciation.) But, like trying to implement any change, obstacles can arise. After working with numerous organizations to implement the 5 languages of appreciation, we noticed some... Continue reading...

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March 14, 2022 5:35 pm
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Does the Conflict at Your Workplace Give You a Headache?

Understanding where conflict comes from Conflict at work happens – a lot. And it is a major source of stress for both employees and supervisors.  It shouldn’t take you but a few seconds to recall a tense moment in your workplace — to remember the discomfort of watching a not-so-friendly disagreement in a meeting. Or to relive the sting of a critical comment made in front of your colleagues. One study found that, on average, each employee spends 2.1 hours every week (or one day per month) dealing with conflict in some way. Either being directly involved in a disagreement,... Continue reading...

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January 31, 2022 9:00 am
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Tips for Developing a Culture of Appreciation: How to Get Past Being ‘Stuck’

Many of us have good intentions. We want to help improve our workplace culture, become more positive and supportive, and less combative and stressful. And many of us have tried, but have gotten stuck in their endeavors. Our efforts in introducing the 5 languages of appreciation to leaders and colleagues have either been met with a lukewarm response or started out well, but fizzled before getting off the ground (partly due to all of the challenges the COVID pandemic has created). But I would encourage you: Take heart! Steps can be taken to get you ‘unstuck.’ Remember: People Have Limited... Continue reading...

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January 24, 2022 11:20 am
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Appreciation Across Generations

How Preferences Among Different Age Groups Should Influence Your Recognition Strategies If you approach communicating appreciation and recognition to employees the same, regardless of their age group, you are at high risk for missing the mark – including wasting your time, energy and the organization’s money. Recent research with over 190,000 employees found that how they prefer to be shown appreciation varies significantly, especially for employees in the youngest and oldest generations. Utilizing the five languages of appreciation model, we found that while the pattern of preferred appreciation languages generally carries across age groups, a shift is occurring. Historically over... Continue reading...

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January 17, 2022 9:00 am
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We’ve Been Fact Checked (and We Were Right!)

HBR reports research demonstrating appreciation improves productivity The Harvard Business Review recently published an intriguing article, “5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently” based on research findings by Dr. Ron Friedman.   “New research suggests that the highest-performing teams have found subtle ways of leveraging social connections during the pandemic to fuel their success. The findings offer important clues on ways any organization can foster greater connectedness — even within a remote or hybrid work setting — to engineer higher-performing teams.” And (surprise!) three of the five key characteristic actions they cited are core principles we teach in our Appreciation at... Continue reading...

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November 1, 2021 9:00 am
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A Survival Guide for Managing Discussions about COVID at Work

Well, here we are, 18+ months into dealing with COVID-19 and, unfortunately, the challenges remain. And additional challenges have developed – not only dealing with the actual physical repercussions of the virus – but now having to manage a wide range (and varying intensities) of opinions about COVID-related issues: masks, the vaccine, mandates, safety of our children, new virus variants. The tension is thick in the air – within the culture at large, on the airwaves and internet, within families, and within workplaces.  A number of factors combine to create a significant sense of uneasiness for most of us:  ... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2021 7:00 am
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The Expanded MBAI & Introducing the Senior Care Version

Identifying how each person wants to be shown appreciation is critical to be effective in encouraging and supporting one’s colleagues. Otherwise, team members wind up guessing or taking a shot in the dark, which can obviously lead to missing the mark. Over 285,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory which has helped them identify their Primary, Secondary and Least Valued Languages of Appreciation, along with the specific actions they value most within their Primary Language of Appreciation and from whom they desire those actions. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation of the... Continue reading...

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September 13, 2021 9:00 am
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Making Appreciation Stick

A common question I am asked by those trying to help create a culture of appreciation in the workplace is: “How do we continue the efforts over time so that a real change occurs?” This is always an encouraging question to be asked because it points to the individual’s desire to really make a difference in their workplace rather than just “go through the motions” or do a “one and done” training event. Let me share five guiding principles that can help appreciation “stick” in your workplace: Utilize small actions over time. As a friend once mentioned to me, “Most... Continue reading...

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August 16, 2021 9:00 am
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How to Show Appreciation to a Large Team Without Burning Out

Each workplace setting and group of employees is unique, which is why the Appreciation at Work materials are designed to provide turn-key, practical resources to assist leaders and organizations in building healthy workplace cultures. But sometimes there are challenges based on the structure of the industry, limited budgets, or the size of a work group that need special attention. Overseeing large teams is one of those unique circumstances. One example comes from Jack, a manager at a senior care living center, asked: “I ‘get’ the concept of communicating appreciation to my team and the need to make it personal and individualized.... Continue reading...

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August 2, 2021 9:00 am
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Getting Leadership Onboard for Appreciation at Work

Whenever I speak to a group of employees, supervisors, or HR managers, inevitably I hear something like the following: “What am I supposed to do if our management team isn’t interested in appreciation? They are focused on achieving goals and the bottom line – they think communicating appreciation is stupid and a waste of time.” Many leaders aren’t opposed to appreciation. They just don’t understand what communicating appreciation really looks like in daily work life, what it isn’t, and what they can realistically expect appreciation to accomplish in their organization. In recent years, the emphasis has been more on employee... Continue reading...

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May 17, 2021 9:00 am
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How Authentic Appreciation Can Make You Less Busy

Busyness, especially unnecessary and unproductive busyness, is similar to the unhealthy rapid growth that can happen in plants – sending out new shoots (known as suckers) not related to the core growth of the organism. Busyness eats up resources (time, energy, money) for activity that may not be healthy for the organization or its members. As a psychologist, I’m supposed to know something about behavior change, and how to help people change patterns of behavior and habits. One of the factors that we know improves the likelihood of changing behavior is if the new behavior is closely related to an... Continue reading...

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May 3, 2021 9:00 am
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Appreciation is Making a Difference: Here’s Where

Over the past 10+ years, we have been diligent in investigating the concept of appreciation in the workplace from a variety of perspectives. Our goal is always to provide accurate, helpful and practical information and insights for applying appreciation to our daily work lives.  We strive to conduct high quality research and present valuable findings, but we realize if the information obtained isn’t understandable and applicable to the challenges of daily life, the results have limited value. As a result, we have written and published numerous articles (and created videos) exploring a wide range of topics, questions, and differences in... Continue reading...

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January 19, 2021 9:00 am
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How To Give Thoughtful Employee Gifts This Holiday Season

One of the more anxiety-inducing activities around the holiday season is trying to determine if you should give a gift to those with whom you work—colleagues, supervisors, managers, and direct reports. If you do decide that you want to give an employee gift, the practical issue becomes: “What should I give them?”  While some may think giving employees’ gifts isn’t valued in the workplace, many find these small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Businesses spend billions of dollars on recognition rewards every year in hopes of creating a better employee experience and even increasing their bottom line, but... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2020 9:00 am
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Sync or Swim: A light read about working together during a crisis

Holidays are a great time to enjoy some light reading. But we are also in the midst of difficult circumstances – working from home, team members spread out, and financial challenges. Sync or Swim fits into both these categories. Through a fun, story format, you’ll read about various personality types and how they often respond to stress, and you’ll learn practical ways to “pull your team together.” (And it is a great way to introduce friends, family and colleagues to the 5 languages of appreciation.) Humans are hard-wired for a story and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom.... Continue reading...

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November 30, 2020 9:00 am
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Building and Rebuilding Trust at Work

The issue of trust – and lack of it – is a common topic in our current culture. Comments can be found in any news medium and frequently in personal conversations. “I don’t trust him.” “They aren’t trustworthy.” “Big organizations can’t be trusted.” The reasons why there seems to be an epidemic of lack of trust is a complicated discussion, in and of itself. Partly, because many people and organizations have shown themselves not to be trustworthy. First, we must understand what trust really is, then we can consider and respond correctly to relevant situations. It is Not as Simple... Continue reading...

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October 26, 2020 9:00 am
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Resources for Building Healthy Teams

Dr. Paul White and the Appreciation at Work team have been creating and publishing some new resources to help create healthy workplaces, especially for use in the midst of this difficult time of having team members working remotely (and from home), some working on-site, and others working in a hybrid model (some from home, some at the workplace).  This creates challenges in developing and maintaining healthy work relationships. Dr. White recently completed research with a national sample of remote employees and the results were summarized in an interview with Psychology Today‘s Hope and Resilience writer, Dr. Jamie D. Aten. The... Continue reading...

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October 12, 2020 9:30 am
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The Easiest Way to Encourage and Support Others: Use Your Words

The easiest way to positively impact your colleagues is to tell them what you value and appreciate about them. While supervisors and managers often try to use words to encourage their team members, their efforts often don’t “hit the mark.” Fortunately, using our words to communicate encouragement is easily done – whether you (or your coworkers) are working from home or onsite. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more effective in showing appreciation and encouragement to colleagues (and help you avoid some common errors, as well). To be most effective, words... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2020 9:00 am
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Building a Strong Team Culture: Valuing & Appreciating Differences in the Workplace

To build a successful and sustainable business, you need a team of employees who bring their unique abilities, strengths and perspectives to the challenges you will face. But to draw and keep talented individuals who have a variety of skills and personality types, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. Many books on leadership provide valuable insights into key skills and abilities needed to effectively lead others. But one concept that is not stressed enough is: to lead a successful team, you have to understand those who are... Continue reading...

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August 3, 2020 9:00 am
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Do You Need Virtual Training Resources to Keep Your Remote Employees Connected?

A core value to us at Appreciation at Work is to provide practical, low-cost resources to address the needs of our clients.  We are proud to announce the official launch of our new Virtual Appreciation at Work™ Training Kit — a brand-new feature to our Appreciation at Work resources. This year has seen dramatic changes in how and where people work. The past few months we have worked hard to adapt our Appreciation at Work training assets to make sure we are offering workable solutions to new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now you can be among the first... Continue reading...

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June 1, 2020 9:20 am
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Communicating Appreciation without Breaking the Bank

The reality is, all companies and organizations have limited financial resources. So, accomplishing the organization’s goals and building a healthy culture must happen within these limitations. Fortunately, building a positive culture with appreciation doesn’t take a lot of money. Rather what is needed is a plan with appropriate tools and the commitment to implement that plan. Communicating Meaningful & Impactful Appreciation Taking the time to show team members that you appreciate their efforts and value them as people (not just ‘work units’) can provide a much-needed boost in encouragement. Research has shown us effective ways to communicate appreciation and encouragement... Continue reading...

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January 27, 2020 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Quality Time

Many people assume that appreciation is communicated verbally. While using words is one way to show staff members that you value them, many employees prefer appreciation shown through the language of Quality Time. By Quality Time, we mean spending time with a colleague either by giving the person your focused attention, or working collaboratively with them. You are showing them that you value their contribution by giving them your most precious resource: your time. We are not talking about simply being in physical proximity to another person. Many of us work closely with colleagues all day long, but at the end of... Continue reading...

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January 20, 2020 9:00 am
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The Power of Using Stories to Lead

How Effective Leaders Grab the Hearts of their Team Members Most leaders tend to focus on data and factual information. And accurate data is important for making good management decisions. But throughout history, communicating through facts has not been the most utilized method for sharing and developing leadership qualities. Rather, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression. For evidence, look to Greek philosophers, wisdom literature from Asia, and the wide range of stories from multiple cultures across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius and Jesus all used stories grounded in daily... Continue reading...

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December 2, 2019 9:00 am
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