Many people say, “my co-workers are like family.” In order to have healthy relationships with our professional family, we need to give them the appreciation/love that they need in order to “fill their tank.” Appreciation impacts retention and attitude. It helps people feel valued and leads to an increase in job satisfaction.
The 5 Love Languages has changed the dynamics of every one of my relationships. I continue to learn how to love on purpose and intentionally the way the recipient understands. This blog series is based on Gary Chapman & Paul White’s book, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People.”
My first job out of college was in an administrative role. I got my first taste of a one-on-one with a manager that included a list of things I was doing wrong. Nothing positive. This is a common complaint employees have, no feedback or only negative feedback. Most managers don’t sit you down for 20 minutes to tell you the long list of accomplishments that positively impacted others and to reiterate how awesome you are doing. That would be a meeting every employee would be early to attend!
Five things to know about Appreciation at Work:
1. Complacency for the Under-Recognized Employee. If nobody recognizes effort and results, the drive to do better decreases over time. We tend to see this with employees who are in positions of high “job security”. The employee is waiting to retire instead of producing their best. The complaint can sound like, “why try when nobody cares?”
2. The Right Effort from the Organization in the Wrong Place. Not everyone receives appreciation the same. Being subtle when the employee wants public praise on the microphone can be underwhelming or putting a lot of attention on someone who doesn’t want to be in the spotlight can feel embarrassing. Motivated managers may be investing in a one-size fits all type of appreciation that doesn’t lead to the intended outcome for individual needs. “Even in companies where recognition is deemed important, efforts at expressing appreciation are often ineffective.”
3. YOU matter. What you DO matters. A genuine expression of this message is impactful. Catch employees/coworkers doing something right that you would like them to continue and recognize it. For example, an employee who is detail-oriented at work catches potentially costly errors performs her job well. The employee being detail-oriented can be an expression of her core value of conscientious and her personality-style to double-check. “Appreciation focuses on performance AND the employee’s values as a person.”
I have worked with a coworker who will greet everyone in the morning as she walks through the halls. I really appreciate being the recipient of a smile and a cheerful, “good morning!” My coworker is a friendly, warm person who is enjoyable to interact with. People feel comfortable talking with her, which allows her the opportunity to be the person who has a pulse on what is really going on and can help others do their jobs better. I appreciate what she does for the team AND who she is as a person.
4. Appreciation is Good for Business. Replacing employees is expensive. It is costly to the organization’s bottom line to advertise, hire, and train someone new. The silent cost is a decrease in morale and the loss of an experienced employee. “Helping employees and staff feel wanted and appreciated can help ease their fears.” When employees know they are valued, they can focus on doing their job well instead of worrying about if they are going to lose their job.
Retaining quality employees is cost-effective. People who love their jobs bring their best. Employees who are working at full-potential positively influence the culture and that can lead to higher customer service ratings.
5. Appreciation is Good for Teams. The people who tend to know us the best are the ones we interact with frequently. When members know how to express appreciation effectively, it makes the team stronger. Stronger teams lead to quality productivity which can get better results.
The goal of this blog series is to learn the tools to communicate appreciation in meaningful ways to the individuals we work with. The five areas of appreciation we will be exploring is: Words of Appreciation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Tangible Gifts, Physical Touch.
If “coworkers are like family” then I want to make sure they know how much I value them. I want to affirm that I see the importance of what they contribute and to actively recognize it. Thank you for joining me for the beginning of this blog series of self-discovery that will benefit our professional life. My purpose is to provide bite-sized pieces of wisdom on this “Journey to a Fulfilled Life” at Work.
Reflect & Share: What does your organization do that is “one-size fits all” for employee recognition? Have you stayed at a job because you felt valued? What did your coworkers/manager do to express “you matter”?
Other Blogs to Read:
“Speaking Words of Love” (blog)
“Top 10 Reasons Why Employees Quit Their Job” (article by Susan M. Heathfield)
“Top Reasons Why Americans Stay At Their Jobs” (article by Gary Belsky)
“Top five reasons why employees join and stay with organizations” (article by David Witt)
“Survey Says Organization’s Culture is #1 Reason Employees Stay” (article by Sarah Trovato)
“The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave” (article by Leigh Branham)
1. Take the assessment to find out what specifically YOU need to feel appreciated. ($15 or free with purchased book). There are specialty assessments for school, medical, non-profit/ministry, military, and long-distance.
2. Buy: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (book)
3. Learn more by watching videos
4. MarieTV: “My Secret Weapon For Leading A Happy Team” (Marie Forleo)