Categories for Authenticity

How to Determine the Ways Your Team Wants to Be Shown Appreciation

Communicating appreciation effectively to those with whom you work is based on three foundational premises: Not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways. (And specifically, not necessarily through the ways you feel appreciated.) Hence, the effectiveness of using the 5 Languages of Appreciation to communicate in the ways valued by the recipient. Appreciation needs to be viewed as authentic to have a positive impact. Attempts to communicate appreciate which are perceived as disingenuous not only “fall flat”, but they can actually create damage to your relationship. The more specific the appreciation is, the more likely it will be perceived as... Continue reading...

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March 25, 2019 9:00 am
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The Languages of Appreciation: A Tool for Growing Soft Skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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January 7, 2019 8:58 am
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To Give or Not to Give? That Is the Question

Many of us are (belatedly) starting to think:           “I’d like to get my boss (or colleague) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m trying to gain my boss’ favor.  But I don’t want just to give her some token ‘something’ that will look schmaltzy.           What could I get her?” I’m going to give you some things to think about, some of which may surprise you. First, consider not giving a gift now. Wait, and give them a meaningful gift later, after you have taken time to consider and explore.  Thoughtless... Continue reading...

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December 10, 2018 9:00 am
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What Employees Love & Hate about the Holidays

There are many factors to how holidays are handled in the workplace. Work schedules and demands, time off, decorations, and holiday parties all factor into how the season is incorporated into an office space and received by the employees who work there. Last year, we polled our readers to find out what they loved and hated about holidays in the workplace. We received nearly 3,000 responses! We explored both the good AND the bad because, well, that’s life! While we attempt to focus on the positive and provide hope for improving workplaces, we are also committed to being reality-based. So,... Continue reading...

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December 3, 2018 8:55 am
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What to Do When You Don’t Appreciate Your Colleague

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

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November 5, 2018 9:00 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss on Boss’s Day

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

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October 15, 2018 8:55 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

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

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July 23, 2018 9:00 am
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Leadership Is More Than a Job Description – It’s a Mindset

When people get promoted into leadership, it’s usually because they have demonstrated outstanding technical abilities. Unfortunately, technical proficiency is not a reliable indicator for effective leadership. In fact, some alarming large-scale studies on employee engagement and trust in the workplace in the past few years suggest we might need to rethink who we put in leadership and what we actually look for when promoting people into those roles. Should Leadership be a Profession? Think about it, lawyers need to pass a bar exam, hair stylists need to get a cosmetology license. Heck, you even need a license to go fishing!... Continue reading...

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June 25, 2018 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

Tips for Using Words of Appreciation Effectively In honor of June being National Effective Communication Month, we wanted to spotlight the most ‘popular’ language of appreciation, Words of Affirmation. While this is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple “thank you”, praise in front of others – all are examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more... Continue reading...

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

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

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May 14, 2018 8:27 am
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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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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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Can the 5 Languages of Appreciation Be Used with Customers and Clients?

From the beginning of our work in applying the 5 Languages of Appreciation to work-based relationships, I have been asked repeatedly, “Can the 5 Languages of Appreciation be used with customers and clients?” I have discussed and explored this issue a great deal with other professionals and organizational leaders, and we were never able to figure out a way to identify and use the 5 Languages of Appreciation in customer / client types of relationships (at least, in a manner with which we felt comfortable). Recently, however, I have had a “breakthrough” in understanding and dealing with the challenge—ironically, while... Continue reading...

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February 5, 2018 9:00 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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Building Your Best Team: Learn to Value and Appreciate Differences

To grow 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 are different than you, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. There are lots of great books on leadership that 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... Continue reading...

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January 22, 2018 9:00 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 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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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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Is Your Receptionist A Good Reflection of Your Culture?

A very quick disclaimer. At no point am I intending to disparage the amazing receptionists and front desk personnel whom I have been acquainted with, over many years, from hundreds of companies. Their job is not an easy one. They are the gatekeepers for the company. Customers and clients face them first whenever they enter a building or office. And they, like all employees hired for the various job responsibilities at a company, are a reflection of the culture and hiring process that recruited them. Let me explain why I am asking if your receptionists are a good reflection of... Continue reading...

December 11, 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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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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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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Trump’s First 100 Days: How Arbitrary Deadlines Create Stress

Much of the news this past week has been focused on President Trump’s first 100 days in office and what accomplishments have been made in that time frame.  On the one hand, setting a deadline to review progress made on goals seems appropriate; on the other hand, this process is a great example of how setting arbitrary deadlines create unnecessary stress in the workplace. For the President (Trump or otherwise), is there anything magical about 100 days?  Not really.  The time period could be 90 days, 3 months, or 101 days — the length of time is not directly related... Continue reading...

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April 28, 2017 5:09 pm
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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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Don’t Love Your Work? Relax, You’re Normal

    Do you love your work? In some circles, this is the expectation—that you should love your work and if you don’t, there is something wrong (with you or your job). But I’m here to proclaim: If you don’t love your work, relax. You are normal. This is true not only for the present developed world, but also for the vast majority of the workers across the world today, and especially when you consider the human experience over history. It is a privilege and a blessing to enjoy your work—but being enthralled with what you do is not normative;... Continue reading...

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February 9, 2017 12:37 pm
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