Making appreciation personal
Just like the five love languages, there are also five languages of appreciation. Showing appreciation to those around us can be useful to those both inside and outside of the workplace. Showing appreciation can lead to more harmonious relationships and a better work environment.
Sometimes we give or receive appreciation and don’t even notice. Understanding your own preferences, and the preferences of others, will assist you and others in communicating more clearly.
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace
This information comes from Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White’s book titled The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.
1. Words of Affirmation
Uses words to communicate a positive message to another person.
Ways to communicate appreciation with words of affirmation:
- In front of others
- Written (handwritten or email)
- Say "thank you"
- Using Kudoboard
- Using LinkedIn
- Make recognition cards
2. Acts of Service
Providing assistance to another. “What can I do to help?”
Ways to communicate appreciation with acts of service:
- Ask for permission to help
- Do it their way
- Check your attitude
- Finish what you start
- Provide flexible work options
- Provide learning opportunities
3. Giving/Receiving Gifts
The gift is something of physical value.
Ways to communicate appreciation with giving/receiving gifts:
- Time off from work
- Gift cards
- Gift something the person receiving might hold value to
- Create and give college or division level employee awards
- Recognize years of service
- Remind your team about employee discounts and well-being benefits and services
4. Quality Time
Giving another person your undivided and focused attention.
Ways to communicate appreciation with quality time:
- Quality conversation
- Eye contact
- Listening to feelings and thoughts
- Small group dialogue
- One-on-one lunch or team lunch
- Workshop team building
- Stopping by their office or a quick phone call just to “say hey and check-in"
- Go on a lunch break walk or team retreat
- Create dedicated ways to listen to your team members
- Bring a well-being session to your team
Connection could be physical or otherwise as long as it's work-appropriate (and pandemic-appropriate).
Workplace-appropriate ways to communicate appreciation with connection:
- High fives
- Brief hugs
During the pandemic, try these ways to show appreciation with connection:
- Eye contact
- Use video on remote calls
- Gifs or emojis to replace a real high five or fist bump
- A congratulatory note saying "if I could hug you right now, I would!"