Categories for Appreciation

Can My Language of Appreciation Ever Change? Either in Different Work Circumstances or Over Time?

A question I am asked fairly frequently is whether a person’s preferred language of appreciation changes over time. We don’t currently have a definitive answer for that but we are in the midst of researching it. However, there are some helpful data points which provide some direction. As we work with companies and organizations across the world, we have the privilege to discuss a variety of specific issues with our clients, hear their questions, and receive feedback from them. Let’s explore some factors we have observed that affect the primary ways individuals like to be appreciated. Life Circumstances First, one’s... Continue reading...

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April 29, 2024 8:49 am
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Want to Build a Strong Team Culture? Learn to Value and Appreciate 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 need 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 not like... Continue reading...

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April 22, 2024 8:54 am
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Coping with Change Is Easier When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is inevitable. Previously, change largely stemmed from response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. But since the advent of the COVID pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and lead to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more, all of which can take their toll on employees. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if the change occurs... Continue reading...

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April 8, 2024 9:30 am
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Appreciation Preferences Across Cultures: What We’ve Learned from MBAI Results in 7 Languages

The importance of communicating appreciation in the workplace has become a common topic in the past few years – both in relation to combining personalized appreciation with traditional recognition activities, and sometimes as an alternative model of increasing employee engagement. As the world of work has become significantly more globalized, the question has been raised whether employees in various cultures desire appreciation differently. In our work over the past decade in applying the concepts of the five love languages to work-based relationships, we have primarily focused on English-speaking countries: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. In prior... Continue reading...

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March 25, 2024 9:21 am
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Are There Ever Times You Should NOT Communicate Appreciation?

Our business is built around encouraging leaders and colleagues to show appreciation to their coworkers and training teams to do so effectively. But there are times and situations when we recommend not communicating appreciation (or, at least, waiting). Sometimes, encouraging your colleagues is not the best course of action to take. And doing so at the wrong time can actually backfire and create more problems. Here are some circumstances when you should reconsider whether or not to proactively communicate appreciation to those with whom you work: How do you avoid these pitfalls? 1. Check your motives. Try to only communicate... Continue reading...

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March 11, 2024 9:50 am
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Every Day Can Be Employee Appreciation Day

This Friday, March 1st, 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 day. 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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February 26, 2024 10:02 am
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The 5 Love Languages at Work – Really?

Since its initial release in 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has become a cultural phenomenon. In addition to having sold over 20 million copies and being translated into 50 languages, the 5 love languages are frequently referred to in casual conversations – especially those related to romantic, marital, and family relationships. What is interesting to me is that many people are still intrigued by the concept of applying the 5 languages to relationships at work. True, the concept of love at work can seem a bit weird (especially if your definition of love is based on the... Continue reading...

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February 12, 2024 9:53 am
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New Research: If Your Organization Primarily Uses Rewards to Show Appreciation, You’re Wasting a LOT of Money

For more than a decade, research with hundreds of thousands of employees has consistently found that giving tangible rewards to employees to show appreciation and increase employee engagement is a huge waste of money. Fact #1: In spite of companies and organizations, spending billions of dollars annually over the past decades ($16 billion in 2022 alone), Gallup reports employee engagement has actually decreased during the same time period to its lowest level in nine years. Fact #2: Research with hundreds of thousands of employees has repeatedly and consistently shown that receiving tangible gifts is the least desired way employees say... Continue reading...

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February 5, 2024 9:00 am
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Need Tips for Continuing to Build a Culture of Appreciation?

How to Keep Appreciation Growing Most people have good intentions. We want to help improve our workplace culture, become more positive and supportive. And many of us have tried – by starting to apply the languages of appreciation with our team members — but have gotten stuck in our endeavors. For some, your efforts in introducing the 5 languages of appreciation to leaders and colleagues have been met with a lukewarm response, while for others the process started out well, but fizzled before getting off the ground very far. Let me encourage you: Take heart! Steps can be taken to... Continue reading...

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January 29, 2024 10:28 am
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New, Updated Edition of The 5 Languages of Appreciation Released!

Our best-selling book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has been revised and updated. Originally published as a hardback version in 2011, it was revised and released as a paperback in 2014. We then updated the content and research in 2019.  Obviously, a lot has changed in the workplace since 2019. And new research, including our own, continues to be done in the areas of workplace culture, recognition and rewards, employee engagement – and appreciation. As a result, we worked this past year to update the book to reflect current trends and issues, and to cite the most... Continue reading...

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January 22, 2024 9:00 am
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Avoiding Mistakes: Learning 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 wants. Because we are committed to learning, growing, and improving, we began to explore the issue of avoiding unwanted acts... Continue reading...

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January 15, 2024 9:00 am
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Lessons Learned About Appreciation from 400,000 Employees

In December 2023 we passed a milestone: over 400,000 individuals have taken our Motivating By Appreciation (MBA) Inventory  to identify how they prefer to be shown appreciation at work. (This total includes individuals from over the past 12 years, including pre-COVID-19, during quarantine, and post-COVID-19.) In addition to celebrating this accomplishment (and offering a special discount – see below), we thought we’d also share some of the things we’ve learned over the years from the results of the inventory. Lessons Learned    1. The need for being appreciated hasn’t diminished and continues to be an ongoing desire. The number of people... Continue reading...

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January 9, 2024 9:23 am
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Thinking Ahead: How Are You Going to Improve Your Workplace Culture in 2024?

Yes, we are still in the midst of the end-of-year holiday season and all of the busyness that entails. But many leaders are also reflecting on this past year and asking themselves: “How can we make this next year better? What can we do to improve our culture – connecting people, making them feel valued?” The issues and challenges we encountered in this last year are not going away anytime soon. Helping people stay connected while working fully or partially remote. Less interaction with colleagues. Feeling alone and out there on your own. And it is clear – both from... Continue reading...

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December 18, 2023 10:06 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 20, 2023 9:30 am
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An Easy Approach to Thanksgiving: An Activity for All Ages

  Trying to figure out how to make your Thanksgiving celebration meaningful can be challenging. Going around the table and having everyone share something they are thankful for is a time-honored tradition, but it can also feel somewhat mechanical and superficial. So I thought I’d put together a fun activity that might make it easier and more engaging for different ages present, from older adults to children. I call it: “How to Get F’s for Thanksgiving.” Since many of us rely on cues to access out memories, it is helpful to have some present when possible. Pictures, in particular, of... Continue reading...

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November 13, 2023 10:11 am
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Recent Research about Remote and Hybrid Employees

Employees are returning to the office, but with more remote work flexibility than ever before. While it’s clear that remote and hybrid work is here to stay, it can be hard to navigate the continually evolving territory while also ensuring employees stay connected and feel appreciated. We wanted to highlight recent research about remote and hybrid workers and company hybrid policy from Gallup and McKinsey & Company that address some of the successes and challenges of these new work arrangements. Gallup – The Good and Bad of Hybrid Work In August, Gallup released the podcast The Great ‘Global Work-from-Home Experiment’... Continue reading...

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October 30, 2023 1:33 pm
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Answers to Common Questions about Appreciation

When people are introduced to the concept of communicating appreciation in the workplace, a number of questions are frequently raised. Sometimes the questions seem more like a defensive response, with the individual putting up an obstacle that they hope will relieve them from having to take the topic seriously. But many times, the person seems to be thinking through how the concept would apply to their daily work life. So, let’s identify and address some of the most frequently raised issues. “I barely have time to get my normal, daily tasks done each day. How will I find the time... Continue reading...

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October 23, 2023 9:37 am
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Overcoming the ‘Weirdness Factor’ in Appreciation

Feeling awkward about communicating appreciation among team members is normal. This “weirdness factor” is a common reaction when the 5 languages of appreciation are first introduced and teams begin to implement the concepts. It can feel particularly uncomfortable to speak words of affirmation to a colleague you aren’t used to talking to, or aren’t sure what kinds of words to use. 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... Continue reading...

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September 25, 2023 9:46 am
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Creating a Culture of Appreciation: How to Get Past Common Challenges

While creating a workplace culture rooted in appreciation is fairly straightforward, a number of practical challenges also exist. Even though research has shown that teaching leaders and colleagues how to communicate authentic appreciation to one another can make their workplaces more positive, getting everyone on board can be difficult. After working with numerous organizations to implement the 5 languages of appreciation, we noticed some common challenges and patterns emerge. As a result, we wrote The Vibrant Workplace – Overcoming Common Challenges to Creating a Culture of Appreciation, where we identify and address ten common impediments. You Are Not Alone One... Continue reading...

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September 18, 2023 12:26 pm
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How Do I Communicate Appreciation to My Boss?

Many front-line employees, and even supervisors, have concerns about communicating appreciation to their boss or those higher up in the organization – mainly for fear of looking like they are trying win favor or look good. While showing appreciation can be utilized in this way, most employees need not be concerned. Why? Because, over time, one’s true colors and intent will become evident. One occasion where these concerns come to the fore is Boss’s Day (celebrated on October 16th). At Appreciation at Work, we encourage people to communicate authentic appreciation year-round, but we also understand that this particular day can... Continue reading...

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August 28, 2023 9:52 am
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Can Appreciation Cross Cultures? Or Is It 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. And from these experiences I’ve learned that appreciation and vibrant workplaces aren’t limited to certain cultures. And, more importantly, the need for appreciation in the workplace is deeply felt by the leaders and employees who work in these countries. Lessons from a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the opportunity to train 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,... Continue reading...

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July 24, 2023 9:30 am
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The Employees You Should Worry about Losing? The Average Ones

A disturbing long-term trend has been documented by research – that a vast majority (up to 87%) of the workforce is either not engaged (read: they are present physically but not mentally or emotionally), or are totally disengaged (they actually undermine the success of an organization). This 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 Top & Low Performers A basic challenge in working together with others is that not everyone performs at the same level with regard to the quality and amount... Continue reading...

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July 17, 2023 9:39 am
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Peer-to-Peer Recognition: The Good, the Bad, and the Questionable

Peer-to-peer recognition programs have become quite the rage in the past few years. Unfortunately, they are not the panacea of positive workplace culture they are often purported to be by those selling them to companies. Within the context of employee recognition programs, peer-to-peer recognition generally refers to a tool within a technology platform which allows colleagues to send electronic messages to one another, primarily to recognize work well done. The message may be as simple as “Good job!”, “Way to go!” or slightly more specific, like “Thanks for getting that report to me.” They may often be accompanied by a... Continue reading...

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July 10, 2023 9:00 am
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Weary? Discouraged? Approaching Burnout? How to Use the 5 Languages to Encourage (and Be Encouraged)

All of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, become discouraged, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave. Enter: the need for encouragement and support. Yes, we are all ultimately responsible to motivate ourselves and keep going. But we were also designed to live in community – that’s why we are born into families, to be raised, nurtured and protected. And why we live in broader communities with friends and neighbors. We are meant... Continue reading...

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June 26, 2023 9:00 am
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Retaining Employees: Addressing HR’s #1 Challenge

The Great Resignation which has occurred over the past two years is not just an abstract concept – it impacts our everyday lives. Lack of service (calling the customer service department of any major company results in a minimum of twenty minutes on hold), restaurants closing due to lack of sufficient employees, delays in residential construction because there aren’t enough tradesmen to do the work, wait times of months when ordering appliances – the list seems endless. Whether the pattern of continued resignations will continue is not clear. But it appears we have moved from the Great Resignation to the... Continue reading...

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June 19, 2023 9:00 am
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How Do I Make Appreciation Stick?

A question I frequently hear from those trying to 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: Finally, the most important factors to help appreciation stick in your company’s culture are to utilize the... Continue reading...

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May 22, 2023 9:00 am
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Using the Knowledge You Have Makes All the Difference: Resources to Help Your Team Apply the 5 Languages

At Appreciation at Work, one of our goals is to make it easy to apply the concept of communicating authentic appreciation to your daily work life. We have worked hard to provide a wide range of resources to meet the needs of various types of organizations – from small non-profit organizations and family-owned businesses, to schools, medical offices, government agencies, and multinational organizations. Sometimes it can be confusing to know: a) what resources are available; b) how they differ; and c) which one best fits the needs and culture of your organization. So, we thought it would be good to... Continue reading...

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May 15, 2023 9:00 am
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Do You Have a Colleague Who Is Easily Offended?

One of the core tenets of the appreciation at work system is that not everyone feels appreciated in the same way. And the more often we communicate appreciation in the language and specific actions preferred by our colleagues, the more likely we are to hit the mark in truly encouraging them and helping them feel valued. But, interestingly, from training thousands of employees in the concepts of authentic appreciation, we have found that: A person’s primary language of appreciation is often the language in which they are most easily offended! So, if you have a colleague or supervisor who seems... Continue reading...

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May 8, 2023 9:32 am
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Why It Makes Sense to Have Your Team Members Take the MBA Inventory

People often ask: “What is a good way to find out how your colleagues like to be shown appreciation?”  What Doesn’t Work Let me share a couple of ineffective ways to learn how your coworkers like to be appreciated, and then explain the best solution we’ve found. First, asking, “If I want to show you appreciation, what would you like me to do?” is a bad idea – largely because this is a weird conversation to have in most relationships. Also, you won’t typically get much useful information.  Most people just respond, “I don’t know – tell me ‘thanks’ when... Continue reading...

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April 24, 2023 9:00 am
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Showing Appreciation When You Manage a Large Team: How to Be Effective, Personal and Avoid Burnout

Each workplace setting and group of employees is unique, which is why the Appreciation at Work materials are designed to provide practical, easy to use resources to help leaders and organizations build 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... Continue reading...

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April 10, 2023 8:15 am
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