Categories for Appreciation

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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An Unlikely Win-Win-Win

Positive feedback inspires better employee performance Ten years ago, as I walked around the nursing home that I ran, I did what many leaders do, regardless of the field that they are in. I pointed out everything that was wrong. Sure, I took time to say hello, chatted a bit with employees and said thanks for a few things I saw going right. But, I also pointed out everything that was going wrong. Everything! Then a certified nursing assistant (CNA) said something that has stuck with me for years, “Denise, all you do is see the negative.” My immediate reaction... Continue reading...

April 10, 2018 8:00 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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Build a Positive Relationship, No Matter Who You Report To

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. However, this dynamic has changed somewhat. Jared Lindzon, in this article about change and work, spoke to analyst Josh Bersin who says, “Most companies, even big companies, are much less hierarchical and much less top-down in their execution than they used to be. Leaders are finding that they have to be more inspirational, they have to be more collaborative.” In recent years, relationships with colleagues have become increasingly influential in the perception of... Continue reading...

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January 15, 2018 9:00 am
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6 Reasons Your Boss Doesn’t Say Thank You Enough (or ever)

Words of Affirmation is just one of the five ways employees like to be shown appreciation. 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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What Employees LOVE about the Holidays

  THE RESULTS ARE IN!! Over 1,325 of you responded to our poll on “What I LOVE about the Holidays” (with 777 submitting stories of a favorite positive holiday experience at work).  Thank you for your input.  As you will see, the results provide interesting feedback, and the stories are both fun and heart-warming.   Poll Results  On each of the first two questions, you were given a list of 20 items to choose from (more than one could be chosen.) Here are the results:     Q1. What aspects of the holiday season do you ENJOY the most?  1.... Continue reading...

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December 18, 2017 1:42 pm
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The Benefits of a Vibrant Workplace

“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 became 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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December 4, 2017 10:00 am
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The Intersection of Personal Life, Professional Life & Life’s Purpose

Sometimes “life” takes us different directions than we were expecting.  And sometimes life’s events illuminate the inter-relatedness of various areas of our life more vividly.  That has happened to me in the past few weeks. (This is a highly personal entry.  I feel like I need to let you know upfront that I’m not writing this to gain sympathy but just to share “where I am” and lessons I am trying to learn.) Less than four weeks ago, my older sister, Kathy, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that was already quite advanced within her body.  A week later... Continue reading...

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November 1, 2017 4:09 pm
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3 Steps to Winning Leadership Support for Employee Recognition Programs

By Mike Byam What is one of the most effective ways to boost employee satisfaction and productivity within your organization? Provide recognition for employee contributions. Seems simple enough right? Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to get  everyone on-board with the idea. I’ve given hundreds of talks about the importance of employee recognition and how to do it right over the course of the last fifteen plus years. The same question keeps coming up, without fail, every time we give a talk on this topic. How do I get my executive team to prioritize employee recognition, and how do I... Continue reading...

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October 16, 2017 3:13 pm
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Appreciation with Remote Staff and Virtual Teams

Effectively communicating appreciation to remote staff and virtual teams is a challenge, but as the data we obtained demonstrates, it can be done. Two weeks ago we polled employees and managers who either work remotely or manage others who are in a different location.  We found the following results: Almost all (98%) of the respondents said, “Yes”,  it is possible to effectively communicate appreciation to colleagues who work remotely. Additionally, 70% indicated that they personally have received a message of appreciation from a colleague or supervisor within a remote working relationship. 81% reported that they have communicated appreciation to a... Continue reading...

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September 13, 2017 1:30 pm
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Neutralizing a Negative 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 build positive relationships is to address the issues that interfere with that process. This is the focus of my new book, The Vibrant Workplace, which is subtitled: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation. Negativity is one of the most common, and deeply... Continue reading...

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July 28, 2017 11:53 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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So You Are an Intern This Summer? What Should You Expect?

If you are one of the fortunate students who has landed an internship for the summer, congratulations. You have an opportunity to learn some practical skills in your field of study, add a valuable piece to your resume, and possibly make a little money (if it is a paid internship). There is a good chance you have never been an intern before, so you are not exactly sure what to expect. Let us fill you in – with both the good and bad news. Understanding the Full Time Employees’ Perspective For most FTEs (full-time employees), interns are viewed either as... Continue reading...

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June 5, 2017 10:00 am
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Personal Losses Make Memorial Day More Poignant

Memorial Day in the U.S. is a holiday that seems to be slipping in its meaningfulness to many in our country.  As the distance in time grows from recent military conflicts, and even further from the major wars of the past, the desire to pay honor to those who fought to protect our freedoms wanes.  This is a normal process of life – past losses and pain fade as time goes on. But a common life event brings the significance of Memorial Day back into focus quickly.  That event, the death of someone close, was an experience I had multiple... Continue reading...

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May 24, 2017 6:38 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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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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Your Most Important Group of Employees: The Average Ones

NOTE: This is an exclusive preview from my new book, The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation, which will release on April 4 and can be pre-ordered now (go here for a special pre-release offer with access to a “behind the scenes” video interview).      *          *          *          *          *          * A vibrant workplace has a number of important core characteristics, but one is readily apparent: work gets done. Sometimes leaders (especially managers and executives) assume that, because I talk a lot about appreciating others in the workplace, that I am all about relationships (being... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2017 10:56 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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Utilizing Thanksgiving as a Reminder to Appreciate Your Staff

Thanksgiving is the holiday where we are encouraged to be thankful for the good things in our lives – health, safety, adequate food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the many material blessings we have. For most people, Thanksgiving is usually more of a personally-focused celebration, including sharing meals and time with family and friends. But the Thanksgiving holiday season can also be an opportunity to focus on, and be reminded of, the positive aspects of our work lives. This is especially true in these more difficult economic times, where many who desire employment are unable to find work or... Continue reading...

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November 21, 2016 8:00 am
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Build a Positive Relationship, No Matter Who You Report To

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.  However, this dynamic has changed somewhat. Jared Lindzon, in this article about change and work, spoke to analyst Josh Bersin who says, “Most companies, even big companies, are much less hierarchal and much less top-down in their execution than they used to be. Leaders are finding that they have to be more inspirational, they have to be more collaborative. In recent years, relationships with colleagues have become increasingly influential in the... Continue reading...

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November 11, 2016 8:00 am
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How Authentic Appreciation Can Cut Through Government Bureaucracy

Government agencies are extremely concerned about their low levels of employee engagement, and rightfully so. When staff don’t feel valued, they become discouraged, passive, apathetic and cynical. This can result from a variety of factors including not feeling respected by customers, poor communication within the agency, a sense of powerlessness to make improvements, and not ‘heard’ by upper level managers and directors.  The issues seem to be the same whether the agency is at the city, county, state or federal level (but federal employees seem to be the most frustrated.) We receive reports from all levels of government employees (frontline... Continue reading...

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October 24, 2016 9:10 am
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Do You Have a Colleague Who is Easily Offended?

Not everyone feels appreciated in the same way. 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. As we have trained thousands of employees in the concepts of authentic appreciation (both directly and through our Appreciation at Work Certified Facilitators) 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 to get upset easily... Continue reading...

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July 23, 2016 12:23 pm
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“Just For Show” (with No Substance): When Appreciation Fails

While watching a movie, you’ll notice it before you can put it into words — something seems very off about a character and it immediately sets you on edge. They claim to be a fierce warrior but run and hide whenever a fight breaks out. You’re pulled out of the fantasy and can finally describe why – their actions don’t match their words. Though life isn’t a big screen production, we can still easily notice when others show us false appreciation rather than actual appreciation for a job well done. Social Awareness Body language developed long before oral language, making... Continue reading...

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July 11, 2016 6:56 pm
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Getting Personal: Appreciation & Father’s Day

Typically, I address work relationship issues in my posts.  Today, however, I want to cross over into the personal realm a bit because the 5 languages of appreciation do have a direct connection to Father’s Day.  While the 5 Love Languages clearly and effectively address how to communicate love to the fathers in your life (your dad or stepdad, your husband, brothers), many may find communicating appreciation to these dads easier than conveying “love”.  So let me give some suggestions on different ways to show appreciation for the dads in your life, based on what we know about the 5... Continue reading...

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June 15, 2016 10:55 am
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