Do you want to improve engagement but are not sure where to start? Start with appreciation and watch engagement soar.
In the book “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” Gary Chapman and Paul White discuss the power of employee appreciation in the workplace. According to their research, people appreciate others in five ways: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. To create a better team, engagement, and actively caring culture in your workplace, you need to know which languages your employees speak.
Improve Engagement By Using Words of Affirmation
This language of expressing appreciation and gratitude encourages others by saying positive things to them. You can communicate this language through compliments, thank you, praise, and recognition.
- Compliments: “You did a great job on the presentation.”
- Thank You: “Thank you for taking the time to help me with this project.”
- Praise: “That was a fantastic idea!”
- Recognition: “I noticed you stayed late to help us finish the project.”
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, 79% of people surveyed say that they would work harder if their efforts were recognized.
Expressing gratitude encourages others by giving them your undivided attention. And this language can be communicated through active listening, face-to-face meetings, walking together, or joining them for lunch.
Quality Time Will Improve Engagement
This language is about giving the other person your undivided attention. Some ways to show this language are through conversation, sitting with someone, being present in the moment, and not working on a device while with them.
- Conversation: “How was your day?”
- Sitting With Them: “Can I sit with you for a minute?”
- Being Present in the Moment: “I’m listening to what you have to say.”
- Not Working on a Device While With Them: “Let me put my phone away so I can focus on what we are talking about.”
A study by the Families and Work Institute found that people with quality time with their supervisor are more likely to feel valued, grow integrity, grow joy, and report being satisfied with their job, which also increases employee retention.
This language is about doing something for the other person. Some ways to communicate this language are favors, help, tasks, and errands.
This language is about the giving and receiving of tangible items. You could give a gift card, a note, chocolates, or a physical object.
- Gift Card: “Here’s $50 to spend however you want.”
- Note: “I wanted to write you a note to thank you for something nice that you did.”
- Chocolates: “I brought these chocolates for you to thank you for helping me with the report.”
- Physical Object: “I saw this and thought of how much I appreciate what you do for me.”
The Journal of Applied Social Psychology study found that people who received a tangible item from their supervisor were more likely to feel appreciated.
This shows the receiver that you are willing to help them out. It can also show that you are paying attention to them.
When people feel appreciated, they tend to team better, engage more in their work, and actively care about their co-workers.
Acts of Service To Improve Engagement
This language is about doing something for the other person. Some examples are helping them with a task, taking over their responsibilities, or making it easier to do their job by doing something that would typically take up some of their time.
- Do Something for Them: “Let me help you with that.”
- Take Over Their Responsibility: “I’ll take care of the project so you can focus on your other tasks.”
- Make It Easier For Someone to do their job: “Here are some resources I found that will help with your task.”
- Learn to Do Something for Someone Else: “Let me help you do this so next time it will be easier.”
- Make a List of Things You Can Do for Others: “I can help with this task; I am happy to work on that project, and here are some things I can do at home to help my spouse.”
The authors say you need to be specific and thoughtful when using Acts of Service. Knowing what the other person would like to have done for them is essential rather than guessing.
You should also be aware that not everyone will value this language of appreciation. Some people do not like to have their work done for them, seeing it as an insult and a sign of disrespect.
Others may take advantage of your generosity and expect you to keep doing things for them in the future. Always consider the other person’s feelings before offering assistance.
This language is about touching the other person. Connecting someone is a handshake, pat on the back, or high-five. The authors say that it is crucial to be aware of the other person’s comfort level with physical contact when using Physical Touch. Some people may feel uncomfortable with certain types of physical contact, and you do not want to make them feel awkward or threaten their personal space.
- Handshake: “It was nice to meet you.”
- Pat on the back: “Great job on that presentation.”
- High-five: “That was a great win!”
Physical touch is a very personal way to show appreciation and can be a powerful gesture of affection and bring positive emotions.
The five languages of appreciation can be a great way to show your team that you appreciate their hard work. When used effectively, these languages can help improve teaming, engagement, and actively caring cultures in the workplace.
However, it is essential to be aware of the other person’s physical contact comfort level and be specific and thoughtful when offering assistance.
Looking to create a better team, engagement, and actively caring culture in your workplace? Black Diamond Leadership can help! We offer training and resources to help you learn the five languages of appreciation and use them effectively. Contact us today to learn more!
Why is appreciation significant in the workplace?
When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged and productive in their work. Appreciation also helps build a positive team environment where people feel supported and valued.
Do all employees appreciate the same things?
No, not everyone will appreciate the exact language of appreciation. Some people prefer gifts, others prefer acts of service, and others prefer physical touch. It is essential to be aware of the other person’s preferences and use the language they will appreciate most.
How do you increase appreciation in the workplace?
The authors suggest you use the language of appreciation most valued by your employees. For example, if someone on your team prefers gifts, giving them a gift card or flowers will make them feel appreciated. If another person values acts of service, do something to show how much you appreciate their hard work. You can also get creative with gestures like writing a thank you note or sending a text message that says “Thank You.”
Is it appropriate to use physical touch in the workplace?
Physical touch should only be used if the other person is comfortable. Some people may feel uncomfortable with certain types of physical contact, and you do not want to make them feel awkward or threaten their personal space. Always consider the other person’s feelings before offering assistance.
What are some ways to show appreciation for employee engagement in their work?
You can show appreciation for employee engagement in their work by giving them recognition. Give the employees a verbal thank you or email them acknowledging their work ethic and dedication to doing well at work. Another way is offering incentives like gift cards, bonuses, extra time off from work, etc.
What role does positive feedback play in an actively caring culture?
Positive feedback is an integral part of building a positive work environment. It helps employees to feel appreciated and acknowledged for their efforts. When employees know they are doing a good job, they are more likely to continue working hard and being productive.
What is the best way to create a positive organizational culture?
The best way to create a positive culture is by setting an example from the top down. If the leaders in an organization are friendly and supportive, employees will be more likely to follow their lead. It is also essential to provide training on giving and receiving feedback effectively.