Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

The Languages of Appreciation: A Tool for Growing Soft Skills

Historically, high level business and organizational leaders have been taught to focus on the “hard” metrics of business – financial statements, market share, increasing productivity and reducing expenses to maximize profits and shareholder value. These all are important aspects to monitor, to ensure the business is profitable and sustainable. Similarly, engineers, computer programmers and others who work in high-tech industries most often associated with Silicon Valley are trained, focused on, and rewarded for producing results. And these high-tech companies are known to offer competitive financial rewards and recognition programs to motivate and encourage employees to keep delivering high quality work.... Continue reading...

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February 25, 2019 8:55 am
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Boost Employee Morale: 3 Simple Steps YOU Can Take

‘Low Staff Morale’ is one of the most common issues leaders report that they struggle with. “We need help,” one manager told me. “People are negative, complaining, and don’t feel like the management cares about anything but getting the work done. And, to be honest, that’s how they have been treated. We need to turn things around.” PRACTICAL STEPS TO TAKE Here are three action steps you can take to improve (your own and) others’ morale: #1: Conduct a Self-Assessment   Ask yourself: What am I doing that isn’t helpful in creating a positive workplace? This could include both actions (complaining about a... Continue reading...

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February 11, 2019 9:00 am
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The Changing Workplace: The Importance of Peer to Peer Appreciation

When we first started applying the 5 languages to work-based relationships, out initial focus of communicating appreciation within the workplace was on managers and supervisors. In the past, an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor was found to be one of the most influential factors on whether or not the employee enjoyed their job. So, our early focus was on training supervisors and managers in how to communicate appreciation effectively to their team members. While this was a good starting point, we quickly learned that to focus solely on managers and supervisors was to narrow and was not all that... Continue reading...

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January 28, 2019 9:00 am
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The Changing Workplace: Appreciation and Remote Workers

The culture that we live and work in is subject to constant change over time. And in recent years, that change has occurred at a highly accelerated rate. Rows of desks filled with stenographers and secretaries are well in the past.  In the 70’s, offices looked like cubicle farms, and these, in turn, transformed back up to open office plans, attempting to encourage communication and collaboration. Additionally, rapid technological changes (from the phone, to faxes, to emails, texting and videoconferencing) have created an entirely new category of employee, the remote worker. And their ranks are growing. In 1995, 9% of... Continue reading...

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January 14, 2019 9:00 am
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Is Appreciation in the Workplace Changing?

Is appreciation in the workplace changing? Is it the same as it was 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Does the way we communicate appreciation change over time? Yes, it does. But, in many ways, no it doesn’t. Last week, a new revised and updated version of The 5 Language of Appreciation in the Workplace was released.                           The first edition was published in 2011 and some may think, ok, that’s great for those who haven’t read it already, but the topic couldn’t have really changed that much. I would ‘beg... Continue reading...

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January 7, 2019 8:58 am
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What to Do When You Don’t Appreciate Your Colleague

Let’s be honest, some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; people with a lousy work ethic, and people we just don’t understand. And appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Let me share a few tips on communicating appreciation to a “difficult” colleague: Don’t try to fake it. Whatever you do, don’t try to “act like” you appreciate someone if you really don’t. Most people have very sensitive “radar” when they believe others aren’t being genuine. You risk undermining any trust you may have with your colleague if they don’t think what you are saying or... Continue reading...

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November 5, 2018 9:00 am
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Do Remote Employees Want to Be Shown Appreciation Differently Than Employees in Face-to-Face Settings?

    More and more American employees are working remotely. In 1995 only 9% percent of American workers telecommuted, but in 2015 off-site workers increased to 37% In 2016, 43% of American workers reported they spend at least part of their week working remotely. It has been estimated that 50% of the U.S. workforce has job responsibilities that are compatible with working off-site at least occasionally and between 80% and 90% of the U.S. workforce reports it would like to work remotely at least part-time. The Importance of Appreciation in the Workplace Despite the evidence that appreciation is both desired and... Continue reading...

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October 22, 2018 9:00 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss on Boss’s Day

Tuesday, October 16th is Boss’s Day.  And no, it isn’t one of those appreciation days that was created recently by Hallmark, the National Association of Employers, or some other group with a potential secondary gain. (Boss’s Day was first instituted in 1958, by a secretary for an insurance company.) The key questions, if you are an employee, are:  1) Should I do something for my boss?  2) If so, what?  3) How do I keep from looking like I am just “sucking up” to her or him?  Let us give you a quick way to think through the decisions. It would... Continue reading...

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October 15, 2018 8:55 am
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Celebrate with Us!!

  Celebration #1 — 150,000 MBA Inventory Users We’re celebrating passing a significant milestone (earlier this month) with over 150,000 employees, supervisors, and managers (and volunteers!) having taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. To show that this hasn’t been just steady plodding, consider the following facts: The first 50,000 MBA Inventory users occurred within ~ 5+ years (60 months). The next 50,000 MBAI users took the inventory in 25 months. The most recent 50,000 took the inventory in the past 13 months! And if you weren’t aware, we have a number of different versions of the inventory that we have developed – versions for Government employees, School personnel, Medical settings, Military personnel,... Continue reading...

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July 30, 2018 1:22 pm
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When asked to compare the various Languages of Appreciation in importance to them, employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation.  In fact, only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation.  To look at the issue from the opposite perspective, employees choose tangible gifts as their least valued way to be shown appreciation almost 70% of the time. Why is this important to know?  For two reasons.  First, most employee recognition programs focus highly on giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals.  While there is obviously... Continue reading...

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July 23, 2018 9:00 am
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Is Appreciation Just an American Concept?

I have had the privilege of traveling internationally to numerous countries to introduce the concept of authentic appreciation in the workplace.  Fortunately, authentic appreciation and vibrant workplaces aren’t limited to certain cultures. They exist on every inhabited continent. And our book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has been translated into 17 languages. Lessons From a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the privilege of training the management and supervisors of an elite international organization in how to communicate authentic appreciation to their staff. Functioning within the tourism and hospitality industries, the staff (in one location) come... Continue reading...

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July 9, 2018 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.  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 the day will honestly say, “I did not have any quality time with any of my... Continue reading...

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June 18, 2018 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

Tips for Using Words of Appreciation Effectively In honor of June being National Effective Communication Month, we wanted to spotlight the most ‘popular’ language of appreciation, Words of Affirmation. While this 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 – all are 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... Continue reading...

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May 29, 2018 9:00 am
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Why we should stop ‘recognizing’ employees and start appreciating them

As I have traveled across the country working with businesses and organizations, I’ve had the privilege to interact with HR professionals and corporate trainers. Initially, I was surprised to hear reports from both professionals and front-line workers that the vast majority of employee recognition programs aren’t working. These activities generally are not having a positive impact on employees or workplace morale. In many cases, recognition programs actually are backfiring and creating negative reactions among team members. In fact, the three most common reactions I receive from employees when they talk about “employee recognition” are apathy, sarcasm, and cynicism. Why? As... Continue reading...

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May 14, 2018 8:27 am
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Faculty & Administrators Share Suggestions for Showing Appreciation in Schools

This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and while educators are sure to receive gifts and notes from grateful parents and students, it is important to remember that they also need to be appreciated by their peers and managers. When writing The Vibrant Workplace, we interviewed a number of individuals in a variety of work settings to gain their thoughts about the specific challenges of communicating appreciation in their workplace, and ways to overcome the obstacles. The following answers are compiled from individuals who work in school settings and are familiar with our Appreciation at Work resources. Their responses reflect... Continue reading...

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May 7, 2018 8:58 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Physical Touch

This Thursday, April 19, is National High Five Day, a great opportunity to discuss the most difficult love language to translate into a workplace setting – physical touch. When we first started investigating how best to apply the love languages to work-oriented relationships, we utilized all five of the languages, even though we knew it would be a challenge to translate the language of touch appropriately. We found that the number and variety of these actions are fairly limited (high fives, fist bumps, congratulatory handshakes, or a pat on the shoulder), but no less important. Many people ask, “Is there... Continue reading...

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April 16, 2018 9:12 am
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Two Major Misconceptions Leaders Hold About Appreciation

“Appreciation” has become a major buzz word in many workplaces — to the point that there have been numerous commercials in the media boasting “We Appreciate You” (often in the context of employees to customers). In the recent past, the emphasis has been more on employee recognition, with numerous books, articles, and seminars and even companies committed to helping leaders and managers recognizing their team members for work well done. In fact,experts in human resource management estimate 90% of all businesses and organizations in the U.S. have some form of employee recognition program. The problem is — in terms of... Continue reading...

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April 2, 2018 9:00 am
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Even the CEO Needs Appreciation

In honor of National Small Business Owner’s Day this Thursday, March 29th, we wanted to take a look at those whose job it is to lead their organizations – whether large or small, family owned or publicly traded. As an owner, CEO, or manager, it can be a challenge to show appreciation to others on your team when you don’t feel appreciated. Not feeling valued is not reserved only for “lower level” workers, which some people seem to assume. The fact remains that ultimately everyone wants to know that they are valued by those around them. One business owner and... Continue reading...

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March 26, 2018 9:00 am
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Your Blind Spot: Your Least Valued Language of Appreciation

By nature, we all tend to speak our own language of appreciation. If Acts of Service make me feel appreciated, then I will tend to pitch in and help my colleagues. If Quality Time makes me feel appreciated, then I may often go out of my way to stop by a teammate’s office and “check in” to see how they are doing. If Words of Affirmation make me feel appreciated, then you can expect that I will give use verbal praise to those with whom I work. If a high five energizes me and makes me feel appreciated, I will... Continue reading...

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March 12, 2018 9:00 am
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GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN THE 5 LANGUAGES OF APPRECIATION

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when I’m training groups is: “Are there generational differences related to the 5 languages of appreciation?” The simple answer is: Yes, there are. Just as there are individual preference differences in how employees want appreciation communicated, so we are finding some diversity across the generations of workers, as well. (As is true for any group comparison, these trends seem to be generally true but there are clearly individual differences within the generations.) (Dr. White discusses the declining importance of supervisor appreciation for Millennials in this video) Let me cite a few... Continue reading...

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March 5, 2018 12:20 pm
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Employee Appreciation Day: 365 Days a Year

Did you know that celebrating Employee Appreciation Day can actually create serious problems for bosses and supervisors? This Friday, March 2nd, is Employee Appreciation Day. And while the team at Appreciation at Work certainly applauds the thought, we want to encourage our readers to consider that authentic appreciation is something that can and should be practiced every day of the year, not just on a single, designated ‘holiday.’ At the core of the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is the knowledge that team members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated: regularly, through the language and actions important... Continue reading...

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February 26, 2018 3:40 pm
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5 Languages Spotlight: Acts of Service

Yesterday marked the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness Week. However, many of us work with someone who practices random acts of kindness all year round. Someone whose preferred language of appreciation is Acts of Service. In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Week, we wanted to focus on some of the best ways to show authentic appreciation to those who are encouraged by acts of service. As a reminder, to be successful in enacting the 5 Languages of Appreciation in your workplace, for staff to feel truly appreciated, there are four core conditions that need to be met. Team... Continue reading...

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February 12, 2018 8:38 am
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Inspire Your Employees by Creating a Culture of Appreciation

Great leaders understand the value of showing appreciation to those whom they are leading. They realize, by building a culture where all team members feel valued and actively support one another, the goals of the organization will be reached more efficiently and not at the expense of wearing out all who are involved. Misguided leaders believe supporting and encouraging employees is a waste of time. As a result, they wind up spending a lot of time and energy replacing key team members and trying to resolve innumerable petty conflicts and complaints which siphon off resources needed to accomplish their goals.... Continue reading...

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January 30, 2018 9:32 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. But in honor of January’s designation as National Thank You Month, I wanted to take a look at why sometimes even a simple thank you isn’t said often enough. Business and organizational leaders are constantly reminded how important it is to communicate appreciation to their staff — and it is. When employees truly feel 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,... Continue reading...

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January 8, 2018 8:30 am
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How to Improve Employee Engagement in Time for the New Year

by Teri Giannetti     Are you struggling to get your employees to engage and adopt a new process or strategy? Have you heard the complaints from employees who are not happy with a new initiative or system? Is your team not performing well? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, your problem is likely the result of poor employee adoption. The good news is that there is still time this year to set up your team for success in the New Year, but you’ll need to act quickly and start the process now. In my book,... Continue reading...

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November 20, 2017 10:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2017 10:16 am
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100,000+ Employees Share How They Want to Be Appreciated

Employee engagement is a major goal for many leaders (and most HR professionals).  But employee recognition has provided disappointing results.  Authentic appreciation is the key missing component – and knowing how employees want to be shown appreciation is critical. A core concept foundational to demonstrating authentic appreciation is that not everyone wants to be shown appreciation in the same ways.  Some people like verbal praise, but others feel valued when you spend time with them.  A number of employees feel supported by receiving some help when they are overwhelmed, while others are encouraged if you bring in their favorite cup... Continue reading...

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June 27, 2017 5:07 pm
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How to Ask for Encouragement

How do you know (or find out) what is encouraging to the people with whom you work? The topic of “How do you feel appreciated?” is not a common workplace conversation and this type of question can make individuals feel somewhat uncomfortable. Often, they respond:  “I don’t know. Just tell me ‘thanks’.” But people do tend to think in terms of “encouragement” and “discouragement”. So, the question to ask is: “When you are discouraged, what is something that someone can do or say that would encourage you?” (or, “What has encouraged you in the past?”) But sometimes, we need encouragement. ... Continue reading...

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May 3, 2017 8:00 am
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The Importance of Peer to Peer Appreciation

Our work is growing in scope and impact (for example, medical practices and hospitals, large corporations, banks, government agencies, public schools, universities, manufacturing firms, insurance agencies, the military.) But we also have been getting some interesting feedback as we listen to those with whom we work. One repeated message we are hearing is: Supervisors are not necessarily the individuals most concerned about supporting and encouraging those with whom they work. While we don’t want to disparage managers, employers, supervisors or team leaders; as a group, they often are not the ones who communicate the most excitement in finding out their colleagues’ preferred languages of appreciation and the... Continue reading...

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April 20, 2017 8:00 am
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