Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

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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How Do You “Appreciate” Difficult People at Work?*

 Let’s be honest, some people are more difficult to work with than others.  There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; and people we just don’t understand.  And appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Let me share a few tips on how to communicate 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... Continue reading...

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April 11, 2017 10:00 am
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The Vibrant Workplace: How to Build a Positive Workplace Culture

I am excited to let you know about the release of my new book, The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation, which came out in bookstores this week. The Vibrant Workplace is a summary of the lessons learned over the past 7+ years while helping organizations and leaders implement authentic appreciation in their workplaces.  Since creating a positive workplace culture is not the easiest thing to do, I identify the 10 most common challenges experienced, the underlying issues creating the obstacles faced, and give practical steps to overcome them. The issues addressed in the book, and... Continue reading...

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April 6, 2017 12:38 pm
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7 Tips to Not Screw Up Employee Appreciation Day (March 3)

In honor of employee appreciation day, we thought we’d share some tips from my new e-book that will help with showing appreciation on Friday, March 3, and every day. You can receive the e-book free by purchasing a copy of my new book, The Vibrant Workplace, available for pre-order now. There are now so many different types of Employee Appreciation Days (weeks and months), it is virtually impossible to keep up with them. Given the amazing number of appreciation days, ones in your industry are likely not far away. If you don’t want to look stupid (or feel foolish), it... Continue reading...

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February 28, 2017 12:21 pm
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Traditional Recognition Programs and Why They Don’t Work

Building a vibrant workplace requires a foundation of trust, respect, and honest communication. But many managers and employees are well aware of the problems with traditional recognition programs, how they breed cynicism and apathy and come across as a one-size-fits- all approach. I hear this over and over. When I talk with employees, front-line supervisors, and mid level managers about their companies’ efforts to improve staff morale, usually through employee recognition programs, the most common responses I get are negative. “They don’t care about us; they just do this recognition stuff to make themselves look good,” said one employee. “It’s... Continue reading...

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February 16, 2017 1:03 pm
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The Differences Between The 5 Languages of Appreciation and The 5 Love Languages

      (The following is an excerpt from Dr. White’s upcoming book, The Vibrant Workplace.) The foundation for the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory is based on the work done by Dr. Gary Chapman and his book The 5 Love Languages, which focuses on personal relationships. While the languages discussed in both books are the same (in name), the application and expression of the languages in the work environment is often quite different than in personal relationships. When an individual knows their preferred love language, they shouldn’t assume that their primary love language in... Continue reading...

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February 3, 2017 8:00 am
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Virtual Employees & Appreciation: Practical Tips

How do you communicate appreciation to a colleague who works virtually? This is a growing challenge for supervisors and colleagues in today’s world of work.  The following statistics have been discovered about remote worker trends: 53% of companies in the U.S. continue to have standard workplaces, with nearly every employee coming into the office 4 or more days each week. 37% have a main office with some people working remotely. 10% have no office space at all. Increasing numbers of employees work in locations separate from their colleagues and supervisor, with “virtual teams” occurring across cities, states and countries. This... Continue reading...

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January 18, 2017 1:37 pm
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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 15, 2016 8:00 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss (Boss’s Day is coming up!)

Boss’s Day is coming up soon, in two weeks, on Monday, October 17.  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, if you want to know.) 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... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2016 7:30 am
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Be Careful about Trying to Show Appreciation During Unstable Times

While we know that good things happen when employees feel appreciated, communicating appreciation to staff is not a miracle salve that cures all wounds. Sometimes well-meaning supervisors (and sometimes leaders who don’t want to do the hard work of dealing with problems) try to use appreciation as a “quick fix” for deeper issues that need to be addressed. Here are five sets of circumstances when appreciation should not be the first action taken: Employees are not getting paid regularly. One time I was asked to train staff of a non-profit organization in how to show appreciation to one another. Throughout... Continue reading...

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September 26, 2016 2:05 pm
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How to Find Good Employees: 3 Ways Communicating Appreciation Can Help

The news is repetitive and blaring:  employers are complaining about the inability to find qualified applicants for positions that need to be filled.  The discussion is rather ironic — having 10+ million workers who can’t find work, while employers report they can’t find potential employees who meet the needs they have. The issue impacts multiple industries.  The key term to understand: qualified applicants.  “Qualified” does not just mean educated or trained; it also involves character. As one employer told me, they can’t find workers who can meet all three conditions necessary to work there:  a) they have the training necessary... Continue reading...

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August 31, 2016 2:01 pm
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Practical Suggestions for Showing Appreciation in Day to Day Work Life

One of the most common questions we receive is: “How do you keep the concept of communicating appreciation going in the workplace?” We have found the following action steps to be extremely helpful in helping appreciation and encouragement become part of a workplace culture: Start your staff meetings with reports of examples of appreciation & encouragement being given.  Reinforce the importance of appreciation by starting meetings with team members sharing examples of receiving appreciation or observing someone else encouraging a colleague.  (If you wait until the end of the meeting, you’re at risk of “running out of time.”)  At the beginning, share... Continue reading...

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August 25, 2016 1:00 pm
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Why Cynicism is Good for The Workplace

It seems counterintuitive, but cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How? When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment. Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said,... Continue reading...

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August 22, 2016 12:16 pm
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The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Languages of Appreciation

Many who are familiar with The 5 Love Languages as described in Gary Chapman’s bestselling book have found them helpful in their personal relationships. Some may wonder if there is really any difference between the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. While the languages discussed in both books are the same in name, the application and expression of the languages in the work environment is quite different than in personal relationships. You shouldn’t assume that your primary love language in personal relationships is the same as your most important language of appreciation in the workplace. We have... Continue reading...

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August 17, 2016 4:23 pm
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