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What is Your Language of Appreciation?

Throughout my career, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work for some truly great leaders. It dates back to my first summer job working at a resort near my hometown. While I got to spend my days near one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, the job itself was not a glamorous one. My days were filled with folding towels to perfection, running arts and crafts programs for youngsters, wiping down chairs on the resort docks, and even cleaning toilets.

Despite all of that, I returned for four consecutive summers because I knew my boss appreciated me and the work I was doing, even the menial tasks. From individualized compliments to weekly staff lunches to end of summer bonuses, my boss did what she could for her 200+ staff to show her upmost appreciation for each and every room that was cleaned and guest that was pleased. It would have been easy for her to treat us as the “summer help,” yet she made a conscious choice to show genuine appreciation for each and every staff member.

Appreciation, one of the simplest things we can do for our employees and colleagues, yet one of the things that is often missed. In a recent Glassdoor survey, 53 percent of employees said they would stay at their employers longer if they felt more appreciation. An overwhelming 81 percent said they would be more engaged and work harder if they felt more appreciation. As a new manager, I read these statistics and asked myself two questions, “Am I doing enough?” and “How can I do more?” Around the same time my current leader asked our team to read The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. In this book they highlight the five ways employees receive appreciation and examples on how to demonstrate each language.

  1. Words of affirmation – the language that uses words to communicate a positive message to another person
    • Verbally communicate a job well done for a specific contribution to the organization; write a thoughtful note to express your appreciation
  2. Quality time – the language that gives a person your focused attention
    • Go to lunch together just for fun; organize a team outing
  3. Acts of service – the language of providing assistance to one’s colleagues
    • Follow through on your commitments and finish what you start; stay after hours to help a colleague complete a project
  4. Tangible gifts – the language of giving meaningful gifts to those who appreciate them
    • Gift cards to an employee’s favorite restaurant; tickets to the employee’s favorite sporting event
  5. Physical touch – the language of appropriate physical touch to celebrate someone in the workplace
    • A high five for a job well done; a firm handshake to show appreciation

Whether you have a team member who is a temporary worker or a 20-year employee, I encourage you to get to know each team member and uncover what appreciation language speaks to them the most. You may be surprised what a simple hand written note or personalized gift will do to bring out the best in each person you lead day to day!

Pam-HickeyPam Hickey

Pam has been in the staffing and recruitment industry since 2011. As a Sales Manager with Celebrity Staff, she works with the Omaha and Des Moines regions. Prior to joining Celebrity Staff, Pam was in the travel industry focusing on outside sales and recruiting. Originally from Iowa, Pam graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science from Iowa State University. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband and two-year-old son, yoga, cooking, and traveling.



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