Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation

Any Day of the Year Can Be Employee Appreciation Day

This Friday, March 6th, 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 to the recipient, in a way that is personal and individualized, and in a manner that is... Continue reading...

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March 2, 2020 9:00 am
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Dealing with the “Weirdness Factor” in Appreciation

Feeling “weird” about communicating appreciation among team members is normal (especially if the group has just gone through training together on the 5 languages of appreciation). This “weirdness factor” is a common reaction when the appreciation languages are first introduced and teams begin to implement the concepts. What are common signs of people feeling “weird” about the appreciation process? Fear. Fear that others will think you are communicating appreciation “just because we are supposed to.” Fear that people will think your communication is not authentic or genuine. Fear that your encouragement won’t go well or be received positively. Awkwardness. We... Continue reading...

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February 24, 2020 9:00 am
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Neutralizing Negativity in the Workplace

At Appreciation at Work, our focus is on building positive, healthy relationships in the workplace, and we largely do this by helping people learn how to communicate authentic appreciation, build trusting relationships, and relate to others in a respectful way. But we also have to deal with life as it exists, and another avenue to building positive relationships is to address the issues that interfere with that process. Negativity is one of the most common, and deeply ingrained, obstacles to a healthy work environment. When working with front-line employees, supervisors and mid-level managers in a variety of industries, a frequent question... Continue reading...

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February 17, 2020 9:00 am
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When Should You NOT Communicate Appreciation?

While we obviously encourage leaders and colleagues to show appreciation to their coworkers, and seek to train teams to do so effectively, there are times and situations when we recommend not communicating appreciation (or, at least, to wait). That is, communicating encouragement to your colleagues is sometimes not the best course of action to take. In fact, doing so can actually backfire and create more problems relationally. Here are some circumstances when you should reconsider whether or not to proactively communicate appreciation to those with whom you work: When a relationship is tense. If you are in a work relationship... Continue reading...

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February 10, 2020 9:00 am
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Avoiding Mistakes: How Others Don’t Want to Be Shown Appreciation

While the primary focus of our work with the 5 languages of appreciation has been to help individuals learn how to communicate authentic appreciation in the ways meaningful to one another, we’ve learned that the ‘flip side’ is also important. That is, how do you avoid inadvertently using actions to show appreciation that your coworker clearly doesn’t want? The goal is to communicate positively with one’s colleagues, so making them uncomfortable or even offending them is not what anyone really intends. Since, as an organization, we are committed to learning, growing, and improving, we undertook the process to explore the... Continue reading...

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January 13, 2020 8:50 am
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Getting the Most Out of the MBA Inventory – How Appreciation Varies Across Work Settings

An important characteristic of Appreciation at Work is that we are a learning organization – we strive to gain insights from our prior experiences, incorporate the feedback provided by our clients, and apply relevant lessons from other leaders. The result? We are continually working to improve our products and processes. We want to provide the best quality and most practical help possible to improve workplace relationships. One recent, major outcome of this continual learning process was the launch of the Expanded version of the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory this past year. In development for over three years, we invested tens... Continue reading...

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January 6, 2020 8:55 am
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Sync or Swim: A Fable about Workplace Communication and Coming Together in a Crisis

Since earliest times, fables have been passed on from generation to generation. Humans are ‘hard-wired for a story’ and fables cut through complexity to reveal simple wisdom. In them we see our own predicaments and reactions, both wise and foolish. Our book, Sync or Swim, helps us solve the frustrating contradiction of morale-building programs that end up hurting morale and of recognition programs resulting in cynicism. The story is written to be a fun, quick read, illustrating ways to communicate appreciation that generate productivity and effective teamwork. Each character responds in different ways to the same situation – as each... Continue reading...

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December 9, 2019 9:00 am
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Happy Thanksgiving from Appreciation at Work

Dr. Paul White and the staff at Appreciation at Work would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. As we draw nearer the holiday this year, we wanted to share an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. ********** “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to... Continue reading...

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November 25, 2019 9:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Show Appreciation at Work 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 “Who is this person impersonating our supervisor?” card. The... Continue reading...

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November 18, 2019 9:00 am
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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 emphasize giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about... Continue reading...

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November 4, 2019 9:00 am
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Authenticity: A Closer Look

The past few years there has been an increased focus in our culture on genuineness, authenticity, and vulnerability – for people in general, but specifically for leaders in the workplace. Like most movements, the call for a return to being truly ourselves in our interactions with others is a needed one. For far too long, we have focused more on image and looking good rather than building substance, true character and competence in our lives. While the pursuit of looking like we have it together is not new, the intensity has been magnified through social media (“likes” on Facebook, becoming... Continue reading...

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October 28, 2019 9:00 am
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Should Appreciation Be Performance Based?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I’m conducting training for a business is: Should you show appreciation to someone who isn’t performing well? Tension exists in the world of recognition, employee engagement, and appreciation. There are differences of opinion on the relationship between an employee’s performance and recognizing them. Should you recognize an employee if they aren’t doing well in all areas of performance? Is appreciation independent of performance? To address the issue, I think we need to keep two foundational principles in mind: The purpose of work is to provide goods or services to customers... Continue reading...

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October 21, 2019 8:57 am
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Characteristics of Successful Teams

Although working with a team of very talented, capable and successful professionals can be fun and exciting, these teams can be challenging as well. But there are factors, when built into the team effort, that can make these “All-Star” teams incredibly impactful. Examples can be taken from many areas of life: music groups, sports teams, legal and political teams, strategic business partnerships. Unfortunately, many examples of “Super Teams” that failed also exist – which leads to the question: What are the necessary ingredients for success? Ingredients for Highly Successful Teams *Team members voluntarily submit to a selected leader (or leaders).... Continue reading...

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October 14, 2019 9:00 am
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How Millennials Lead: 4 Steps To Prepare Them For Leadership Today

How will the next generation lead?  The answer to this question will shape your business and your legacy. Three factors determine your leadership style: How you were parented. How you learn. And perhaps the most consequential, your generation. We are in the most significant generational power hand-off in history. Today 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 years old. Baby Boomers are delaying retirement an average of five years. But the real problem is Generation X. Generation X (born 1965-1981) is about one-third the size of the Baby Boomer population (born 1946-1964). Translation: there are not enough Gen Xers to fill... Continue reading...

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October 7, 2019 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Acts of Service

For someone whose preferred language of appreciation is Acts of Service, actions speak louder than words. Their motto is, “Don’t tell me you care; show me.” This week we want 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 applying 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 members will feel valued when appreciation is communicated: regularly, through the language and actions important to... Continue reading...

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September 23, 2019 8:57 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 – 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 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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September 2, 2019 9:00 am
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The Ways People Don’t Want to Be Appreciated

Have you ever: seen a colleague become extremely uncomfortable in the midst of receiving appreciation from their supervisor or manager? tried to show appreciation to one of your co-workers, and it really didn’t go well? been at a company recognition ceremony and watched with discomfort as an award recipient seemed to be in agony while in front of everyone? The focus of our mission at Appreciation at Work is to help colleagues and supervisors learn how to show appreciation to one another in the ways that are meaningful to that person. But we’ve found that people also want to identify... Continue reading...

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July 8, 2019 9:00 am
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The Strange World of Appreciation at Work: Kevin Durant Not Feeling Appreciated

Here is an example of how individualized and personal feeling appreciation at work is. Kevin Durant, the NBA star, has won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two NBA Championship Finals MVP Awards, been selected to 10 NBA All-Star teams, helped lead his team to two NBA championships, and is paid over $100 million. And yet this week he is reported to have left the Golden State Warriors to play with the Brooklyn Nets because he didn’t feel appreciated by his fans. To most of us this seems incredulous — how can someone not feel appreciated when they repeatedly receive awards from their... Continue reading...

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July 3, 2019 8:51 am
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Introducing the Expanded Motivating By Appreciation Inventory

Almost 200,000 individuals across the world have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. This inspired us to look for ways to improve the results the inventory provides. Over the past two years we have deliberated, explored, and analyzed in order to create a new, expanded version which provides a fuller picture of how each person prefers to be shown appreciation and how they don’t want others to express appreciation to them. The Expanded MBA Inventory builds off of the foundation laid by the Basic MBA Inventory report (which is still available) by identifying each individual’s Primary, Secondary and Least Valued... Continue reading...

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June 17, 2019 9:00 am
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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace: Creating Harmony and a Positive Work Environment

“Vibrant”: full of energy and enthusiasm. Spirited, lively, energetic, full of life. The vibrant workplace connotes energy, positivity, and growth – characteristics we desire for the environment where we spend the majority of our waking hours. A vibrant workplace draws people to it – quality, talented employees want to work in a healthy context and become a part of the life-exuding process. Employees bring their own gifts and unique personalities to add to the synergy in a dynamic work setting. A vibrant workplace is the antithesis of how many work environments are described: negative, energy-sapping, and toxic to growth. Employees... Continue reading...

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May 13, 2019 7:26 pm
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How the 5 Languages of Appreciation Can Be Used in Coaching

In honor of International Coaching Week – which takes place from April 29th to May 5th this year – we are using this week’s blog to talk about Appreciation at Work’s coaching resources. Professional coaches can transform an organization and empower employees and leaders. They work with staff at all levels, developing leaders, management teams, and individuals who need to shore up their interpersonal skills. Whether you are an “external” coach (hired by an organization to work with their members) or an “internal” trainer (working within the HR or Talent Development department), you need practical, effective tools to use with... Continue reading...

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April 29, 2019 8:57 am
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How Do Most People Want to Be Shown Appreciation? Update from 175,000 Employees

Not long ago (2017), we published a research study on how 100,000 employees preferred to be shown appreciation by their colleagues and supervisors.  Based on the concepts presented in The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, the foundational principle that not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways was affirmed. Recently, we have had inquiries if the frequencies of desired appreciation languages have remained the same or if the additional individuals taking the inventory more recently prefer different ways to be shown appreciation.  So we did a quick update on the data from those who have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. Here is... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2019 5:57 pm
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The Employees You Should Worry About Losing: The Average Ones

Disturbing research was released recently by The Gallup Group, indicating that 87% of the workforce is either not engaged (read: they are there physically but not mentally or emotionally), or totally disengaged (they actually undermine the success of an organization.) This is the highest rate of disengagement ever measured, and is in spite of the fact that over 85% of organizations have an employee recognition program (which obviously aren’t working). Don’t Focus So Much on Tope & Low Performers A basic challenge in working together with others is that not everyone performs at the same level with regard to the... Continue reading...

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March 11, 2019 9:00 am
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How Personality Type and Languages of Appreciation Interrelate

People often comment, “I wonder how the Myers-Briggs and the 5 Languages of Appreciation might be related?”  We wondered about this, too, and so we conducted a research study to discover the answer. Categorizing people into distinct personality types has been an area of interest for millennia and numerous approaches to finding various dimensions of personality characteristics have been utilized. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® is a well-known approach to assessing personality which divides personality characteristics into four continua: Extroversion / Introversion Extroversion (E) – people oriented, talkative, outgoing Introversion (I) – inward focus, reflective, pensive, task oriented Sensing / Intuition... Continue reading...

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March 4, 2019 12:34 pm
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Overcome the Two Main Obstacles to Reaching Your Goals

Most of us don’t need new goals for the year.  Really, we don’t. But we do need to continue to progress toward our current goals (and, hopefully even reach some).  Additionally, we need to make some adjustments from the feedback we are receiving from “real life”. In working with highly successful leaders for over two decades and interviewing them about what they believe contributed to their success, two principles rose to the top: Persevering in the face of difficulties, and Responding to the feedback they received from the marketplace. Most often, people don’t reach their goals because they give up... Continue reading...

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December 31, 2018 8:55 am
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Thanksgiving Is Actually Healthy For You: The Benefits of Gratitude

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, there are numerous columns and articles discussing various aspects of the holiday (almost too many!)  But we would like to take the opportunity to bring attention to the overall benefits to our lives of having a thankful attitude.  (This information may be some you want to share with others.) In his bestselling book, What Happy People Know¹, Dr. Dan Baker (who is the director of the well-known wellness program at Canyon Ranch in Arizona) states that appreciation is the single most important tool in developing an enjoyable life. Additionally, social scientists who have studied the impact... Continue reading...

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November 19, 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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Employees May Not Love Their Work, But They Can Still Be Engaged: 4 Categories of Work Experience

Employee engagement differs from employee satisfaction. A Gallup poll found that only 32 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs, for instance. Yet employees who don’t love their jobs can and should still be engaged. Custom Insight distinguishes employee engagement from employee satisfaction. Engagement is defined as “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.” Satisfaction relates to “love”—or how happy employees are.  The Purpose and Nature of Work  We must remind ourselves that the primary purpose of work is to provide for our needs—food, shelter, clothing.... Continue reading...

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September 24, 2018 3:14 am
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Do millennials want to be shown appreciation differently?

The workforce is changing rapidly, with the number of millennial employees expected to surpass baby boomers (individuals in their late 50s and older) by 2019 and they will comprise nearly half of the total working population by 2020. Organizational leaders and HR professionals affirm knowing and understanding your employees is critical in order to have (and keep) an effective workforce, thus, distinguishing and addressing the differences between employees of different age groups is important. Adjusting to the characteristics and desires of younger employees has been the source of much research.  The Gallup Group found that the majority of millennials (55%)... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2018 6:36 pm
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