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Which of These 5 Languages of Appreciation Do You Show Your Team? Part 1

Based on The 5 Languages of Appreciation by Gary Chapman and Paul White.

What are the different ways to show appreciation to your company?

Does it matter how you express appreciation to an employee or is something better than nothing?

How do you best receive appreciation yourself? Do you show appreciation to your staff?  

And if so, how do you show it and are you hitting the mark or could you do better?

More than ever, company culture has become the talk of the business world.

And even if you don’t know what your culture is, I guarantee you have one. Just ask your employees.

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There are many components of culture but how we care for the wellbeing of our employees is a major part of it.

How do we express our appreciation to our people outside the fact that we pay them each week?

My name is Scott Lollar and I’m a DYB coach and want to talk to you today about The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and help you create a culture of appreciation in your company.

In 1995 Dr. Gary Chapman published a book called The 5 love languages.

It outlines 5 ways to express and experience love primarily in the relationship with your mate.

In his follow up book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Dr. Chapman and Paul White take the same concepts and look at how we can use them in the workplace.

These are the main ideas from the authors work but I highly recommend you pick it up for yourself.

It is a short and easy read and I think will be really useful to you as you lead your business.

So why is appreciation in the workplace important?

Steven Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey states;

“Next to physical survival, the greatest human need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.”

Here are a few statistics:

Research by the US Department of Labor says that 64% of Americans that leave their jobs do so because they don’t feel appreciated.

A new Society for Human Resource Management survey shows that employee recognition and engagement is key to retaining good employees.

80% of employees say they are motivated to work harder when their bosses show appreciation for their work.

50% would stay longer at a job if they felt more appreciation from their bosses.

Gallup reports that 70% of workers report they receive no praise or appreciation in their workplace.

51% of the managers said they do a good job of showing appreciation to the employees they supervise while only 17% of those very same employees believe their managers do a good job of showing their appreciation.

Can you say disconnect?

So what are the benefits of Communicating Appreciation to your workforce?

First of all the cost of turnover is reduced. We are all aware of the cost to recruit, hire, and onboard new team members, train them and integrate them into your workforce. Keeping them saves you money.

The second benefit is you keep your best workers. Studies show that it is the best employees that often leave because they have plenty of opportunities available to them.

Give them reasons to stay!

When you retain your best employees over time, your company can actually realize a competitive edge over your competition.

So what are the 5 Languages of Appreciation?

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Tangible Gifts
  5. Physical Touch

Let’s look at the 5 languages one at a time a look at how we can bring this touchy-feely concept into practical everyday use.

It is important to understand that most everyone has a primary and a secondary language of Appreciation.

This is helpful as there is more than one way to express and receive appreciation.

And it is important to understand we tend to give appreciation in the way we like to be appreciated ourselves.

This is an urge you need to resist.

While that appreciation language is great for you, it may not be the language of the person receiving your appreciation and will not have the intended result.

The first language of appreciation is Words of Affirmation. While this appears pretty straightforward, there are ways of using this language more effectively than many do. The most natural way to express words of affirmation is to praise someone for an achievement or accomplishment. It is well established that general praise does little to increase positive behavior. To be effective it needs to be specific.

Here are some specific tools to help you use words of affirmation effectively:

Catch an employee doing something right-the way you want it done. This makes it more likely that the behavior will be repeated.

An example of this might be “Thank you for protecting the floor before we began working.”

A second way is to affirm character. We talk a lot about hiring for character.

Once we hire character, do we recognize the traits that we so carefully pursued?

These are things like honesty or integrity. Humility.

Perseverance. An example might be “I appreciate that you never cut corners but always deliver what we promised to our customer.

I love that you have such integrity. It gives me confidence that you will always do what you say.”

Affirm Personality. Each of our team members has personality traits-some positive and some negative.

Affirm the positive traits. These might be things like organized, thinker, optimistic, perseverance.

Once again, as in strengths finder, affirming strengths helps them play to these strengths and minimize our weaknesses.

Focusing on strengths is a better use of our words than focusing on weaknesses.

An example of this might be “I admire that you always stay positive and on the solution side of challenges.”

Besides, how we affirm these people, when we affirm them, is also important.

One on one affirmation is always a good start to affirm team members and is typically the most valued by the employee.

For one it strips away any motives that the employee might perceive you have.

You are not making a statement to others or setting an example.

Simply affirming the employee privately. I think this approach can always be satisfying to the recipient.

Some people will value receiving affirmation in front of others. I think this is easily done in our industry.

You can easily praise someone in front of a customer or other staff or even vendors.

I think it is common that a customer effuses praise towards the owner but this praise can easily be deflected to give credit to a foreman or lead painter.

We also can affirm people at this level at company meetings. A tip here, look for ways to praise all of your team members authentically.

We all have that rock star employee that we constantly gush over. Be careful to praise these people in front of your team in moderation.

We  can all get a little tired of always hearing how great the other guy is. Use your private moments to express how much you appreciate this key person.

Affirming people in writing might seem old school in this day and age but actually writing a short note and mailing it (yes-snail mail) can be very effective to those that words of affirmation matter.

Imagine getting home and opening a note that says how much you are appreciated.

Electronic notes can also be useful as well. In addition, apps like Group Me are great tools when used appropriately and consistently.

See part 2 here!

About the Author

Scott is a 30+ year veteran of the Painting Industry - having run his own company for 20 of those years. For 10 years, he has been working with others to scale their companies achieving rapid growth and operational efficiency. His knowledge in all aspects of running a business, including running a multi-million dollar company, allows Scott to identify and guide business owners to overcome in areas of current weakness or deficiency. Scott specializes in companies trying to break the $1,000,000 barrier and beyond.