Book:  The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

Author:  Gary Champan & Paul White

Purchase:  PrinteBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Chapman, G. & White, P. (2019). The 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace : empowering organizations by encouraging people. Chicago: Northfield Publishing.

Three Big Takeaways:

  • When comparing 60 different business teams, the highest performing teams had 5.6 times more positive comments then negative remarks. Conversely, the teams who were the lowest performers had 2.8 negative remarks for every positive comment made. (pg. 34)

  • Words of affirmation are most effective when they are given in the context of a positive, healthy relationship. If you were in the midst of a miscommunication with your staff member or if there is any unresolved conflict, then deal with those issues first. If you are not able to sincerely express affirmation to your colleague then silence is preferred until you are able to communicate with integrity and a positive attitude. (pg. 63)

  • For a while, time off was seen as something that younger employees primarily wanted. But we have found that time has become the most valued resource for most employees, regardless of age group. As a result, being given some time off work has become highly desired and can take a variety of forms: being able to come in late on a certain day, having the freedom to take a longer lunch break, the ability to leave work early to go to a child's event, and taking some comp time after completing a big project are all examples of time off. (pg. 98)

Other Key Ideas:

  • Handwritten notes are still valued by a number of workers because they seem more personal and take more time and effort to complete. However, this isn't necessarily true of younger employees, who often report they prefer receiving a quick note electronically. (pg. 61)

  • Speaking the language of quality time to your team is a powerful yet largely misunderstood tool for managers. The employee simply wants to feel what they are doing is significant and that their supervisor values their contribution. Taking a few minutes to check in and hear how things are going communicates a genuine expression of interest in what they're doing and what makes them feel valued. (pg. 68)

  • Focused attention is one of the most important aspects of quality time. Most of us pride ourselves in the ability to multitask. While that may be an admirable trait, it does not communicate genuine interest in the other person when you are spending time with them. Most often, quality time involves giving someone your undivided attention. (pg. 70)

  • Unfortunately, sexual harassment is not rare. More than half of American women have experienced unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances from Men: 30% report unwanted sexual advances from male co-workers and 23% have endured them from men who had influence over their work situation. (pg. 112)

  • As is well-known, many younger workers desire a flexible schedule and receiving time off as a reward for working hard to complete a project. Since in many ways time has become the most valuable resource we have, it makes sense that free time is highly valued. (pg. 169)

  • For those of us from an older generation, we are raised to believe that one of the highest forms of showing appreciation was to send a handwritten thank-you note. Times have changed. For many younger workers, the value of handwritten notes has declined. This seems to be especially true for 20-something males - receiving a handwritten note of encouragement adds no value to them. Rather, what is important to younger colleagues is the speed with which they receive feedback. If you want to be effective communicating praise, let them know as soon as you can. (pg. 170)

  • Employees aren't saying they don't want tangible rewards for doing good work. But what the data shows is that when choosing between words of  affirmation or receiving a gift, the gift is far less meaningful. For example, often employees comment, “If I receive some gift but I never hear any praise the gift feels really superficial.” (pg. 172)

  • Schools at every level of education are experiencing tremendous pressures. In fact, we believe that schools are one of the most difficult environments in which to work in today's society. Teachers and educational professionals face demands from all sides leading to burnout and discouragement. Therefore, consistently communicating appreciation is vital for staff and teachers so that they do not lose heart and become discouraged. (pg. 187)

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