Categories for Workplace Culture

Appreciation within a Production-Oriented Work Culture

Isn’t Focusing on Appreciation Counterproductive in a Production-Oriented Workplace? Absolutely not! Recently, I’ve had some interesting experiences on opposite ends of the spectrum regarding how production-focused workplaces can function. On the one hand, I visited a parks and wildlife center where three employees were “working.” But while I was there, they just sat, doing nothing, not talking to each other and only occasionally scrolling on their cell phones. On the other end of the continuum, I conducted training with an organization who clearly “produces.” They are viewed as one of the premier global institutions in their field of expertise, and... Continue reading...

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May 20, 2024 9:00 am
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Why We Create Versions of the MBA Inventory for Different Workplace Settings

When we first launched our online assessment tool, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory, it was geared toward a general workplace setting. Since then, we have created an expanded version, translated it into 8 different languages and have created 11 different industry-specific versions for Remote/ Long Distance, Medical, Military, School, Non-Profit/ Ministry, Government, Senior Care, Trades, Veterinary, and Dentistry. We are frequently asked, “Why do we create industry-specific versions of our MBAI assessment?” Here are a few of the factors that lead to their creation: *Our goal is always to provide relevant, practical and easily applied resources to help team members... Continue reading...

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May 13, 2024 9:56 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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March Madness in the Workplace

Every Spring a national sporting event captures the attention of millions of employees: the NCAA March Madness basketball tournaments. Individuals who are die-hard basketball fans, those who may follow their local college team or alma mater, and people who just like to complete brackets by picking teams according to their mascots – all become intrigued and involved in the games and filling out brackets. Understanding March Madness While March Madness is typically referred to as a singular event, those familiar with the tournaments know that they are actually a series of games and regional tournaments over a three-week period. The... Continue reading...

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March 18, 2024 9:52 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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Picking Up Cues Your Colleagues Need Some Encouragement

You may be surrounded by co-workers that need to feel appreciated and be encouraged, and you may not know it. While some people show visible signs on their faces or in their body language that reveal they are getting discouraged or nearing burnout, many people are harder to read. They may not say much or have non-demonstrative facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up subtle clues sent out by others. Here are some clues that you can watch for to help you know when your coworkers may need a message of appreciation or encouragement:... Continue reading...

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March 4, 2024 9:25 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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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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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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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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What Can I Do If I Really Don’t Appreciate a Coworker?

Let’s be honest, sometimes we have a hard time appreciating some of our colleagues. The reality is, some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people, angry, irritable colleagues, people with a lousy work ethic and poor communication skills, and those that aren’t friendly or have negative attitudes. And there are others we just don’t understand or click with. What can you do? Here are a few tips: 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 for when others... Continue reading...

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October 16, 2023 9:27 am
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How Do I ‘Move On’ When Someone Has Offended Me?

Sometimes conflict at work arises when we feel we have been treated wrongly. This can result in our feeling hurt, embarrassed, let down by another, offended, angry, and disappointed. These responses are the result when someone’s actions (or lack of action) are in contrast to what we believe should have happened. That is, when our expectations aren’t met by others. Whatever the source of the conflict is, we cannot truly resolve it and move on unless we are able to let go of hurt, anger, fear, bitterness, and the other negative emotions we have. The process of letting go—that is,... Continue reading...

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October 9, 2023 9:00 am
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Do Your Colleagues Need Some Encouragement?

You may be surrounded by co-workers that need to be encouraged and feel appreciated, and you may not know it. While some people ‘wear signs’ on their faces or in their body language that show they are getting discouraged or nearing burnout, many people are harder to read. They may not say much or have non-demonstrative facial expressions. Additionally, some of us are not especially talented at picking up clues sent out by others. Here are some clues that you can watch for to help you know when your coworkers may need a message of appreciation or encouragement: Irritability and... Continue reading...

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October 2, 2023 8:58 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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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. And business and organizational leaders are constantly reminded how important it is to communicate appreciation to their staff — and it is. But sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ isn’t said often enough. When employees feel truly 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, they are more likely to show up for work (and on time), follow established policies and procedures, and... Continue reading...

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August 14, 2023 9:00 am
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Understanding Workplace Conflict

Conflict at work happens – a lot. And it is a major source of stress for both employees and supervisors. It’s easy for most of us to recall a tense moment in our workplace — to remember the discomfort of watching a not-so-friendly disagreement in a meeting. Or to relive the sting of a critical comment made in front of your colleagues. One study found that, on average, each employee spends 2.1 hours every week (or one day per month) dealing with conflict in some way. Either being directly involved in a disagreement, or managing an issue between coworkers. The... Continue reading...

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August 7, 2023 9:00 am
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5 Misconceptions about Workplace Culture (and How You Can Make a Difference)

Workplace culture is both a hot and important topic in the world today. Companies, organizations, and government agencies are all struggling with the reality that they have seriously unhealthy workplace cultures. Yet many people (including leaders) have significant misconceptions about what creates “workplace culture” and whether or not (or how) it can be changed. Frequent results of these misconceptions include: a) individuals within the organization giving up trying to improve the culture because they view the situation as hopeless b) they want to do something to make a difference but don’t know where to start, or c) their attempts to... Continue reading...

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July 31, 2023 9:38 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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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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What Can I Do If I Work in a Toxic Workplace?

The media and social media are full of stories about negative workplaces, toxic leaders, and crazy co-workers. While these anecdotes are amusing for many, those who work in a toxic environment face an unending cycle of challenging situations and discouragements. Worker turnover caused by toxic office cultures costs companies money. Costs associated with voluntary employee turnover have nearly doubled from $331 billion to $617 billion according to the Work Institute’s 2019 Retention Report. If you only had to deal with one inappropriate coworker or a bad boss, your days might be easier to manage. But when you’re facing a constantly... Continue reading...

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June 12, 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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