Menlo Book Club: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace
Many couples have found their relationships strengthened as they learn to express love and appreciation in their partner’s “love language,” a concept developed by bestselling author Gary Chapman. In his work, Chapman focuses on five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts and physical touch.
Chapman and Dr. Paul White adapted these principles to apply to professional relationships in their book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. We read the book as a team and each took the questionnaire to learn our primary, secondary and least valued languages of appreciation.
Almost 100 percent of our team found that words of affirmation was their primary or secondary language. Our company has many channels in place for team members to express verbal appreciation for each other. For example, each closed deal is announced via Slack, enabling team members to celebrate each other’s successes, as shown in the photo below. We also receive weekly nominations for team members who emulate our company core values.
Quality time was the next most common language among our team members. As a company, we strive to build relationships through weekly meetings, monthly one-on-one mentoring sessions and quarterly team building events. While planned events are important, spontaneous lunches or chats in the break room can also express appreciation to individuals who value quality time.
The book points out that languages of appreciation may change over time or based on circumstance. We discussed how we feel appreciated when someone helps us complete tasks when we’re approaching a hard deadline, even though acts of service was our least valued language overall.
The authors advocate that an increase in expressed appreciation results in higher motivation, job satisfaction and commitment to the company. We’re excited to see the effect on our company culture as we continue to implement these principles with our coworkers, vendors and clients.