February 14, 2023
Expressing appreciation and creating connections at work can be difficult if you try to have a one-size-fits-all approach. Every employee on your team is different and feels valued differently. But there are ways to help every member of your team feel the love.
Have you ever heard of “love languages”? They’re powerful tools for improving relationships and productivity in (and out of) the workplace.
Let’s take some time to dive into what love languages at work might look like and how you can use them to start creating a connected workplace where employees feel safe, valued and loved.
Love languages are five distinct ways that people express and feel love and appreciation. They were first identified by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book The Five Love Languages, but they hold true for any meaningful relationship, including those between employees at work. The five love languages include words of affirmation, acts of service, giving and receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
Words of affirmation are exactly what they sound like - words that affirm someone else’s worth or value as a person. A simple “thank you” or “good job” can go a long way toward showing your appreciation for someone else's hard work or effort. You don't need to use flowery language or false compliments; saying something as simple as “I appreciate you taking the time to do this" can make someone feel appreciated and valued.
When it comes to service in the workplace, finding small ways to make your coworkers' lives a little easier is a great place to start. It could be anything from bringing them coffee when they're busy working away on a project, cleaning up after lunch break, or offering support when they're overwhelmed by their workload. Showing that you care about their well-being can make all the difference in how well they perform on the job!
Gifts can be tricky at work. There could be some red tape in your organization about giving or accepting gifts. One way that the Motivosity team has embraced this love language is by bringing in treats for the team. Sometimes it’s as simple as a bag of candy to share or a box of donuts, and other times, team members and their families bring in homemade goodies they worked so hard on. No matter what, gifts can be an important part of helping your team express and feel love, so find a system that works for you.
While quality time can seem like a difficult language to accommodate at work, it’s a lot easier than it might seem! Whether you’re a peer or a manager, there are plenty of ways where you can spend quality time with those that need it. Consider having lunch together, making time for conversations that last longer than formalities and small talk, or some kind of activity outside of the regular day-to-day! Remember that if you decide to take on this approach that you make an effort to be uninterrupted and focus your attention on the person you’re with.
But really, for those employees that feel appreciated and valued through physical touch, encourage high fives or fist bumps over anything else. As a way to maintain a professional environment, keep employees comfortable, AND prevent an HR disaster…high fives, fist bumps, and handshakes should be the go-to.
Appreciation at work doesn't have to come from words alone; there are many other ways to show love and admiration for your colleagues without having to say anything at all!
By understanding what each person's individual love language is—whether it be through words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time spent together, or physical touch—you can find creative ways to show your appreciation every day and build strong relationships with your team members.