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 get you ‘unstuck.’ Perseverance and small gains over time will win the day.
Reminder: People Have Limited Time and Energy
Let me remind you of a basic rule in life: we all have limited time and energy. As a result, we all have to prioritize where we are going to invest our resources. Our first priority, both individually and organizationally, is survival. If we don’t survive, nothing else matters. Fortunately, most of us are past the most significant obstacles created by the pandemic and our organization’s survival is not a current concern.
Consider these lessons learned:
- During the Great Resignation of 2021-22, research discovered that the majority of employees who resign do not leave to earn more money but to escape a toxic work environment and to seek a more affirming workplace culture.
- We found that those individuals who stay personally connected with their colleagues fare better in managing the stress of remote work than those who are isolated.
- Training of employees in using the 5 languages of appreciation has been shown to be effective in increasing their sense of being appreciated and feeling valued.
So we know we have the tools needed, and when implemented, they produce positive results.
Key Steps to Take
The key, then, is to gain support from others to consistently apply the principles known to work. Successful leaders have found the following principles to help implement change:
- Make sure your colleagues understand the ‘why.’ Helping others see the end-goal will make you more successful in getting them to engage from the beginning.
- Don’t waste time and energy recreating the wheel. Use available resources which have been proven to be effective whenever possible, rather than creating something new.
- Actively involve others from the beginning. Let others participate and contribute meaningfully. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
- Start small and grow over time. Begin your efforts with a few like-minded colleagues. Don’t try to implement an organization-wide program from the beginning. Start on a smaller scale. Persevere. Learn from mistakes. Make adaptations.
How do these principles work out practically in implementing authentic appreciation in your workplace?
- Make sure others don’t see appreciation as just a way to make people feel good. The goal is to improve work-based relationships, create a more positive culture, retain your current talent, and become a place where others want to work!
- The resources are already there:
- The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace book
- the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory and group summary report
- the Appreciation at Work training kits which provide turn-key resources to train work-groups on how to communicate appreciation to one another (for both onsite and remote employees)
- Ask others to help (your HR director, trainers, your manager or the person most concerned about retaining team members). Ask them to invest in the resources that will foster more positive interactions among colleagues.
- Start with your team or department. Volunteer to be a pilot group to see how the process goes and what impact it has. Then grow from there. This is how most organizations have been successful in making authentic appreciation an integral part of their culture.
- If you started applying the appreciation languages and then got stuck, get a copy of The Vibrant Workplace and the Vibrant Workplace Toolkit which provide tips for overcoming the most common challenges encountered in creating a culture of appreciation.
If you (or others) need a bit more evidence, listen to testimonials from leaders who have used our resources at Miller Coors and Heinz, Inc., in a mining company, with salespersons, in a non-profit organization and found them to be culture-changing!
Categories 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Appreciation, Managing By Appreciation, MBA Inventory, Remote Employees, Workplace Culture