Giving recognition and kudos to your team can be a game changer for company culture and feeling appreciated by your colleagues. How do you know how to show it to each person? Dr. Gary Chapman, the writer of The 5 Love Languages teamed up with Dr. Paul White to see if the same categories applied to the workplace and they found similarities. From their book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, “when authentic appreciation is communicated, all stakeholders win—the employee, the supervisor, the organization, customers and clients, as well as the family and friends of the employee who gets to enjoy a more positive, encouraged individual.”

Here are the 5 categories of recognition that Chapman and White found:

Words of Affirmation

This is when you can communicate appreciation with authenticity.

Example: “I really appreciate your teamwork on this project!” or “Good job coordinating that event, it was such a great opportunity!”

Quality Time

This category of recognition focuses on giving your complete and undivided attention to someone with no interruptions. Making space and time for someone shows that they are worth the time to listen to. Listening is key in showing your respect and recognition.

Example: scheduling one-on-one time, checking in, or merely lending an ear when someone needs it

Acts of Service

Small acts of kindness can go a long way, especially when someone is feeling overwhelmed or like their plate is too full. Thanking and recognizing colleagues for their acts of service can may be an added benefit too, because it incorporates words of affirmation.

Example: filling the printer paper up, taking on a task for someone who is feeling like their plate is too full

Giving Tangible Gifts

Employee rewards can be a great way to show your staff that they are important. Also, it can help motivate, engage, encourage, and retain employees when they feel more appreciated. Giving a gift that is unique and authentic to each individual can show that it was worth the time to understand what would support a connection to the company and be meaningful to the employee.

Example: giving a gift card, giving company swag

Human Connection

This one can be tricky as a lot of businesses are embracing remote options for employees. For this physical touch in the workplace can be shown by staff events, although it’s always important to respect boundaries.

Example: handshake, pat on the back, high-five

These languages of recognition are so vastly different in each employee that would benefit any leader to ask their team how they prefer to have recognition shown. Knowing what your team members prefer can help build a closer connection and give more purpose to their work. Feeling underappreciated, undervalued, and unmotivated can stifle any employee and business. Make sure to support your colleagues and tell those you appreciate them!

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The 5 Languages of Recognition