Actions speak louder than words, that’s what we’ve all been taught, but is that accurate? Well, for some yes, and others not so much. When it comes to showing appreciation, everyone is different.
As a result, showing appreciation in the workplace can be challenging, but does it have to be?
Companies everywhere are relying on a book originally meant for couples to help determine the best way to show employees appreciation. The book The Five Love Languages explores and categorizes ways to show gratitude within your relationship, however, these are easily transferable to work. After all, appreciation shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead showing appreciation should be tailored to the individual and above all, thoughtful.
The five categories outlined in the book are: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts and physical touch. However, I am eliminating physical touch because as you’ve guessed it, physical touch is NOT appropriate in the workplace. It is good to note, that while these are suggested ways to demonstrate appreciation, you need to ensure that none of these suggestions violate polices outlined by your Human Resources department. It is also important to note that everyone has different levels of comfortability in the workplace. Keep all this in-mind before reading and implementing any of these strategies.
The five categories outlined in the book are:
Employees who value quality time as a form of appreciation enjoy your presence. Be engaged in conversations, be there for colleges in times of need, schedule one-on-one lunches but most importantly be present during your time together! That means putting away the phones, making eye contact and being on time.
Words of affirmation
Employees who value words of affirmation respond well to positive feedback and words of encouragement. If an employee is doing well on a project be sure to tell them. If an employee is having challenges with a project, let them know you see how hard they are working and that you appreciate their effort. Affirmations big or small have a large impact on these employees and acts as motivation for future projects. For more impact, say your words of affirmation in front of your team!
Acts of service
Employees who prefer acts of service are those who think actions speak louder than words. To show them appreciation offer a helpful hand! This could be by picking up their copies while you’re at the printer, offering to take a project of their hands or simply asking if they need a second pair of eyes on project they are working on. Knowing they have support is meaningful to those whose value acts of service.
Employees who prefer gifts prefer rewards they can enjoy and cherish to remind them of their achievements. For these employees a gift signifies a thoughtful award or custom medal. These gifts don’t need to be expensive, but they do need to represent and celebrate the employee who is receiving the gift. A one size fits all approach would not work in this situation. If an employee goes above and beyond reward them with something special. If you know your employee loves brownies, buy them a single serving brownie. If they enjoy tea or coffee, present them with a new mug that features a bit of their personality!
Appreciation is not only kind, but has been shown to create better employees. Studies have shown that employees who feel appreciated provide more quality assurance in their role, have better workplace attendance and have a willingness to take on more responsibly! So why not show your appreciation and see what positive impacts it can have!