Konnect Daily

“The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” and Konnect Examples!

Since Konnect Agency recently implemented the Gallup Strengths Assessment into our public relations agency, I have been fascinated with how individual people work and their strengths. It is no shock that everyone has their own strengths but customizing teams according to this can elevate a good team to an outstanding team.  So, furthering this individualized thought, I picked up a copy of “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace:  EmpoweringOrganizations by Encouraging People” by Dr. Gary Chapman to see how the workplace can be improved by simply learning your coworkers’ language of appreciation.  If that name sounds familiar, yes, it is the same notion and doctor behind the #1 New York Times bestselling “The Five Love Languages.

The premise of the book is to find and understand each employees’ appreciation language because,what makes one employee feel appreciated is not what makes another employee feel appreciated.  However, when a supervisor or fellow employeelearns to speak the primary appreciation language of the individual, theresults are truly significant.” 

Just some statistics cited in the book from the research Dr.Chapman and Dr. Paul White (co-author of the book and psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant in work relationship) include:

  • “More than 80% of employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.”
  • “While 51% of managers believe they do a good job of recognizing a job well done by their staff, only 17% of the employees in the same group believe their manager recognize them for doing a good job.”
  • “In a survey of over 35,00 employees completed by the Chicago Tribune, the number one reason cited by the respondents of why they enjoyed their work was: ‘I feel genuinely appreciated by this company.’”

Below I am going to share these 5 appreciation languages and how our public relations firm implements them since I believe Konnect does a great job at utilizing a variety of appreciation styles with their employees.

  • Words of Affirmation
    • What:
      1. Language that uses words to communicate a positive message to another person.  When you speak this language, you are verbally affirming a positive characteristic about a person.
    • How this language is communicated:
      • Praise for accomplishments:  Specific verbal or written praise (“Thanks for showing up early and making sure we were ready to go when the client arrived”is more effective than “Thanks, you did a good job tonight”).
      • Affirmation for character:  Focuses on the inner nature of a person and their repeated choices, which define their character (i.e. kindness, honesty, tact).
      • Praise for personality: Praise about our normal way of approaching life (i.e. optimistic, neat, planer, doer)
    • How Konnect implements:
      • All-staff praise emails outlining the press placement, event, or a specific example of what the employee did well and why they did so well
      • Employee of the month announcements
  • Quality Time
    • What:
      • Giving someone your fully focused attention and being able to have an empathetic dialogue where individuals share their thoughts, feelings, and desires
      • This is not to be seen as a desire for a friend or “to get in good” with your boss
    • How this language is communicated:
      • Eye contact
      • Not doing other things when you are listening (being on your phone, answering emails, etc.)
      • Affirming feelings even if you disagree with them.  “I can understand how you could feel that way.  If I were in your shoes, I would probably feel the same.  Let me explain why the decision was made.”
      • By not interrupting
    • How Konnect implements:
      • One-on-one direct report meetings
      • Employees from different offices spending time in another office
      • Meals together
      • Simply dropping by someone’s desk and asking “tell me how things are going”
  • Acts of Service
    • What:
      • When colleagues pitch in and help someone else get things done 
    • How this language is communicated:
      • First, make sure your own responsibilities are done before taking on any additional responsibilities
      • Ask before you jump in and help
      • Do it their way
      • Finish what you start
    • How Konnect implements:
      • Assisting on accounts when someone is out of the office
      • Helping research outlets or contacts and provide for another employee to utilize in pitching
  • Tangible Gifts
    • What:  Just what it sounds like!  
    • How this language is communicated:
    • How Konnect implements:
      • Specific gift cards for employee of the month (SoulCycle, Target, etc.)
      • Cupcakes or cookies (of employee’s choice) for birthdays and anniversaries
      • Holiday trips—Las Vegas (2018), Cruise to Mexico (2017), Bermuda (2016), etc. (I also consider this the quality time language)
      • Holiday presents
  • Physical Touch
    • What:  Nonsexual and appropriate physical touches
      • In today’s society, this is a bit of a challenge since one action is fine for a certain individual but would make someone else feel very uneasy
    • How Konnect implements:
      • High fives
      • Hugs
      • Massages (even though this isn’t from a colleague, I still consider this a physical touch language)

Being able to identify an employee’s language is key to having them properly interpret the appreciation they are receiving.  Every person wants to know that what we are doing matters.