February, 2020

The Love Language of Workplace Appreciation

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The Love Language of Workplace Appreciation

Valentine’s Day and the month of February is all about showing that special someone how much you love them and what they mean to you. But what about showing employees a little love? In this blog series, we’re going to look at the five love language concepts and how you can incorporate them into the workplace. In part one of this five-part series, we’re going to focus on Words of Affirmation and apply this concept to showing workplace appreciation to employees through a redefined performance review process.

What is a Love Language?

Dr. Gary Chapman is the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, which discusses love languages as ways to express and experience love and appreciation. People around the world have taken his concept of the 5 Love Languages and have applied them to their personal and professional relationships.

The five love languages consist of:

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Words of Affirmation

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Acts of Service

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Receiving Gifts

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Quality Time

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Physical Touch

What’s Your Love Language?

Find out by taking the love language quiz.


How to Apply Words of Affirmation in the Workplace

Employees want to hear from their managers that they are doing a great job and their work matters. When dedication is recognized and validated, it results in more productive and satisfied employees. Performance reviews can be a very powerful tool for using words of affirmation to show workplace appreciation.

Performance reviews are a great way to affirm an employee’s contributions, while also holding them accountable to goals that are set. Applying words of affirmation to your company’s performance review process is the key to better understanding your employees and communicating with them effectively.

Redefine Performance Reviews So They Mean Something

Performance reviews are nothing new to the business world, yet some companies argue they have little impact on employees. You might even find that your own performance review process looks something like this:

The review is held at the end of the year;
Employees rate their performance on a scale of some sort;
Their manager jots down some notes on the performance review;
From the review, areas of improvement are identified and goals for the new year are set.
…and then the performance review is signed, placed in a file, and never looked at again.

Does this sound familiar? We can’t tell you how many times we have heard of this scenario happening over and over throughout multiple organizations and industries. The problem with this scenario is that it leads to employees and managers not taking performance reviews seriously; however, just because your company’s performance review process isn’t living up to its potential right now, doesn’t mean you need to get rid of the process entirely.

One solution to this perpetual cycle is to redefine your company’s performance review and incorporate words of affirmation into your reviews process. This way you will have reviews that better align with your business goals and provide more constructive direction to employees.

Use Performance Reviews to Show Workplace Affirmation

So what does this mean specifically when we apply Words of Affirmation to performance reviews themselves? While performance reviews can be a difficult process, there is a way to create a positive experience by applying the Words of Affirmation love language. Companies need to be more proactive about conducting reviews more frequently and holding employees accountable for reaching their goals.

How to step up your company’s performance reviews process using workplace affirmation:

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Provide Regular Feedback

Although managers may perform annual performance reviews, start providing regular positive feedback so your employees know they are producing quality work. Don’t wait until their annual review to give them positive feedback.
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Be Transparent in a Positive Way

It can be hard to talk to an employee about a poorly executed project but it doesn’t need to be communicated in a negative way. One rule of thumb to remember when having this type of conversation is to follow the pro-con-pro approach. Be transparent about missed opportunities in a professional, constructive way. Employees should know you are discussing missed opportunities as a guide to help them to become more successful in the future.
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Set Goals

Performance reviews aren’t just an evaluation of an employee’s performance, but they should be a time that is set aside for managers to set goals for an employee’s future success. Setting goals with your employees shows you recognize their dedication and believe they are worth the investment of time and training.
Words of Affirmation must go beyond mere verbal praise. Employees aren’t just looking for positive feedback, they want career nurturing and development. They want to know they are a value-added resource and are contributing to the success of the company.

Want to Nurture Your Employees?

Read our article on Forbes about ways to focus on employee development.

Talking the Talk With WorKPLACE Affirmation

With better visibility into how employees are performing and what their goals are, management can make more informed decisions about raises, bonuses, employee incentives, training, and even recruiting and hiring. When you speak the language of proactive and meaningful performance reviews, you end up with happy employees. And when you have happy employees, you’re definitely speaking their love language.

Next: Part 2, The Love Language of Workplace Motivation.

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