Did you know that everyone receives appreciation, gratitude, and praise differently? According to Gary Chapman, the successful author who wrote “The Five Love Languages” and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” there are five different ways that a person or employee receives appreciation and admiration. Usually, a person prefers one of the five different appreciation languages or a combination of each.
The Five Appreciation Languages
Words of Affirmation: For those who prefer words of affirmation, words carry power. Examples of words of affirmation in the workplace include praise for accomplishments, affirmation of character, and praise for personality. Try implementing words of affirmation in a one-on-one setting, in front of a group, or even written in a letter or email. Most importantly, people who prefer words of affirmation enjoy being told that they are doing a good job and enjoy real genuine compliments to make them feel appreciated.
Acts of Service: As the name implies, acts of service is when you offer to help an employee with a task or an important project. Think ‘actions speak louder than words’. Often times the employee will decline your help, but by just by asking if the employee needs help you are speaking to their appreciation language. Other examples of acts of service in the workplace include occasionally buying employees coffee or lunch or running an errand for them. Remember to always follow through when offering help and to make sure that all of your work is complete before helping other employees.
Quality Time: Quality time individuals thrive off of focused one-on-one attention, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend a whole afternoon with each employee, but it does mean that it is important to learn about each person is by asking questions and taking time to get to know them. Another way to spend quality time with your employees is to ride together to pick up lunch, making a phone call to see how they are doing or stopping by their office to check in on them. For those who prefer quality time, it is all about making effort to get to know them, which makes them feel important and appreciated.
Tangible Gifts: For employees who prefer tangible gifts as their appreciation style the key is ‘thought’ not the amount of money spent on the gift. Pay attention to what your employees like and give them a gift based on their interests. For example, if you notice someone always has Dunkin Donuts coffee with them, give them a Dunkin Donuts gift card or if you notice someone is always talking about baseball gift them with a pair of baseball tickets. For employees that value receiving tangible gifts be sure that what you’re gifting to is something they actually value, because employees notice when you’ve put thought into their gift and that speaks to their appreciation language.
Physical Touch: Physical touch in the workplace can be taboo and confusing, but it is actually quite common. Handshakes, fist bumps, high-fives, and brief hugs when appropriate are all ways to demonstrate physical touch in the workplace. For people who prefer physical touch it is all about human contact, so don’t be afraid to high five your employees, but keep in mind physical touch can be misinterpreted, so only use physical touch after a professional relationship has been established.
It may seem overwhelming trying to pinpoint each of your employee’s appreciation language, but Gary Chapmans ’“The Five Employee Appreciation Languages” book discusses how to identify and apply the different appreciation languages to different employees in more detail. Check out the book here and check out a quiz to pinpoint your employee’s love and appreciation languages here.