Do you know what makes your team feel appreciated? You’ve probably heard about the five “love languages” – the ways each of us prefer to give and receive love in our romantic relationships – but did you know these languages can also be applied to relationships with work?
If the things that make your team feel most appreciated and motivated are present at work, the relationship will be a happy one. But if you don’t provide valuable recognition, you’ll soon find them moving on. This year alone, one in five global workers plans on resigning.
5 Workplace Love Languages: What Makes People Feel Appreciated at Work?
First, identify your own office love language, then figure out if you can determine which ones resonate with your team.
1. Words of affirmation
If this is your work love language, it means you enjoy being praised for your skills and the ways you’re impacting the company. You value verbal or written recognition that is specific, timely and well-structured.
Did You Know? Nearly 60% of employees say they would prefer regular affirmation and praise over a 10% pay increase with no recognition.
2. Acts of service
This office love language is about actions over words. You appreciate it when someone takes action to make your job easier or help you to focus. This could mean delegating tasks, shifting deadlines or removing unnecessary distractions.
3. Perks and gifts
You might find that tangible rewards are what make you feel most appreciated at work. This could include daily perks like coffee and snacks, as well as gifts to mark special occasions like a work anniversary or meeting a big deadline.
Did You Know? Research shows these are the perks that UK employees value the most:
- Paid sick leave (67%)
- Flexible working hours (57%)
- Pension contribution matching (46%)
- Mental health and wellbeing support (40%)
4. Quality time
As a work love language, quality time translates to valuable in-person interactions. One-on-one discussions and group meetings are likely to make you feel heard and motivated.
If this is your love language at work, you’ll feel most motivated by salary increases, performance-based bonuses and commissions. You’re most likely to value monetary rewards over other perks or verbal recognition.
Did You Know? 62% of UK employees say their pay is the biggest motivation for going to work.
Why Feeling Appreciated at Work is Important
It’s in your best interests to speak your employees’ love language, as this translates to a happier and more productive workforce. A report created by Workhuman and Gallup shows some compelling statistics about team member recognition.
According to the report, when employees get the recognition they need, they are:
- 56% less likely to be looking for other jobs
- 73% less likely to experience regular feelings of burnout
- 4 times as likely to be actively engaged at work
- 4 times as likely to recommend their organisation to others
- 5 times as likely to feel connected to their workplace culture
Interestingly, while the majority of managers believe they are giving employees enough recognition, many workers disagree.
- 67% of leaders and 61% of managers say they give recognition a few times a week or more.
- However, 40% of employees report receiving recognition only a few times a year or less.
- Only 23% of employees strongly agree that they get enough recognition for the work they do.
The reason for this gap could be that office love languages are getting lost in translation. If you give “words of affirmation” recognition often, but your team member’s love language is “acts of service”, they won’t feel recognised despite your best intentions.
Recognition hits the mark for employees when it is:
- Part of the workplace culture
How to Identify What Motivates Your Team
If you notice people feeling dissatisfied and demotivated at work, it could be because they’re not getting the right type of recognition. It’s essential to encourage people to speak up about what makes them feel valued and motivated. One way to do this is to be transparent with the team about what motivates you.
You could also do one-to-one conversations or a companywide survey. This can make it easier to identify the perks and benefits that fit your culture and meet the needs of individual team members.