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February, 2021

Gift Giving as a Love Language in the Workplace

According to a Harvard study, 82% of employed Americans don’t feel that their supervisors recognize them enough for their contributions. Meanwhile, 40% of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if recognized more often. With such staggering numbers, we started to ask ourselves why employees didn’t feel recognized by their leaders. What we found surprised us. The missing link between leadership and recognition had a lot to do with employees’ love languages, especially the gift-giving love language.

We found so much information that linked employee engagement, motivation, and results to love languages that we decided to write a series about it for employers. In part three of this five-part series, we’re going to look at the love language of gift-giving. We’ll discuss how we can recognize employees with this particular love language by offering them various employee compensation types.

What The 5 Love Languages Are

Love languages play an integral role in bridging the gap between employee recognition and employee work ethic. Still, if you missed the first two parts of our series, you might be asking yourself what love languages have to do with employers. Before we dive into that question, and the gift-giving love language, let’s get you up to speed with a quick recap:

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The 5 Love Languages

  • Words of Affirmation: This love language expresses love or appreciation with words. These words come in the form of compliments used to build someone up. One workplace example could be, “You are doing a fantastic job on that project. I like how you used metrics as a basis for your project objectives.”
  • Acts of Service: This love language is a classic example of the phrase, “actions speak louder than words.“ It describes someone who feels appreciation in the form of actionable events such as help on a project or company initiatives and policies that improve overall employee wellbeing.
  • Receiving Gifts: This love language means a meaningful or thoughtful gift makes its receiver feel loved and appreciated. However, this doesn’t always mean giving employees gifts wrapped in packages. Something as simple as buying an employee lunch or offering compensation rewards is an excellent example of the gift-giving love language in the workplace.
  • Quality Time: This love language is about being present with those around you. Someone who has this love language might enjoy a one-on-one virtual conversation to discuss work-related topics or training to ask specific questions.
  • Physical Touch: This love language expresses appreciation or love with physical contact. Though this can be a taboo workplace topic, it doesn’t have to be. Simple gestures like high fives and hand-shakes can accommodate this person, and if you’re not in the office, things like paid time off can help! We discuss This concept more in-depth in our blog, How Do You Incorporate the Physical Touch Love Language in the Workplace, Appropriately.

As you can see, love languages offer us various ways to show appreciation in the workplace. Love languages are the answer to relationship recognition. They give us insight into appreciation differences, so we equip our workforces to handle multiple forms of recognition.

What’s Your Love Language?

Now that we recapped what a love language is, you might be curious about your love language. However, before you determine your love language, it’s important to remember there’s a difference between how you feel loved and how you show it. While the gift-giving love language might be how you receive love, the way you show love could be words of affirmation.

It’s also possible to have more than one love language. You could have a mix of two or four love languages. Sometimes you might have qualities from all five. That’s where a love language quiz can help. It shows you your highest-ranking love languages so you can learn to recognize the different forms of appreciation you need and give.

Want to Know Your Love Language?

Find out by taking the love language quiz.

How the Receiving Gifts Love Language Works in a Professional Setting

Now that you know what the five love languages are, it’s time to determine how you can use them to help employees in the workplace. More specifically, you need to know how to show appreciation to employees whose love language is receiving gifts. One of the best ways to express gift-giving in the workplace is to make sure your employees are paid correctly and on time. This approach sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how often we find business owners struggling with paycheck accuracy and promptness.

Employee compensation provides stability and security in people’s lives. When something disrupts that stability, it can leave you with frustrated employees. Businesses with established company cultures, and a streamlined payroll process, tend to have higher employee satisfaction. Remember, paid employees are happy and productive employees.

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Payroll

When pay is accurate and timely, you establish a stable relationship between the company and your workers. For those whose love language is receiving gifts, the absence of a timely paycheck can be detrimental. Gift receivers tie compensation to their work ethic. Therefore, a late paycheck appears as if they aren’t getting the job done.

We’ve found that most HR and payroll managers want to pay their employees on time for the work that they have performed. However, the root of the problem is usually the absence of a reliable payroll solution. Manual payroll can take days, causing delays in employee paychecks. An automated payroll solution turns manual processes into streamlined workflows and days into hours.

When you utilize an online workforce solution, you can manage payroll and HR more efficiently. Paychecks are consistently accurate, and gift receivers know their work is appreciated. Employees whose love language is receiving gifts are more likely to stay loyal because they know their organization cares about an accurate and timely paycheck.

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Compensation Packages

In addition to an investment in an automated payroll system, employers can also take compensation a step further by offering competitive pay or raises. Competitive compensation packages show employees their work is valuable to your organization. When employees know their efforts are worth a quantifiable amount, they will feel confident and fulfilled in their roles.

Compensation and Employee Retention

Perhaps you already pay your employees on time and offer compensation packages, but something is still missing: your employee turnover is higher than you’d like. If that’s the case, you might consider rethinking your current compensation structure. Here are some ways to revise your compensation structure and to help decrease employee churn:

  1. Evaluate Your Current Plan: Evaluate achievements against payouts under current performance plans. See if you can identify any gaps or room for improvement.
  2. Communicate Openly: Tell employees you are working to make compensation adjustments and ask for their feedback. Their input can provide a unique perspective.
  3. Create a Salary Structure: Review company costs against revenue. Determine compensation for low-level, mid-level, and high-level positions. Share position compensation levels with your workforce so they know what goals they can achieve.
  4. Create Metrics: If you haven’t already, develop metrics to evaluate performance. Some metrics to start with are sales productivity, customer ratings in the form of Net Promoter Score (NPS), and return on investment (ROI).
  5. Review Performance and Make Adjustments: Once you have adjusted your compensation accordingly, review employee performance and turnover rates to ensure the plan is understood. To keep up with inflation rates, SHRM recommends evaluating your compensation plans every 3-5 years.

According to a Work Institute study, 78% of the reasons employees quit could have been prevented by the employer. The largest factors attributing to commitment were career development, work-life balance, and manager behavior. Revising your compensation plan and creating a salary structure are steps in the right direction. With a new strategy focused on career growth initiatives, you’re sure to decrease retention and increase employee satisfaction.

Alternative Types of Employee Compensation

While a timely paycheck and salary structure are ways to reward employees who value gift-gifting as a love language, they aren’t the only forms of appreciation. You’ve automated your payroll process and revised your pay structure. If you’re still not increasing employee satisfaction, it might be time to consider different types of employee compensation. We’ve compiled a few more ways to compensate your workforce and help you implement gift-giving at work.

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Incentivized Goals

Creating goals for your company that ultimately tie back to ROI is a way to increase your revenue and employee morale. Goal-based initiatives contribute to employee satisfaction. When employees reach the goal, they feel a sense of accomplishment.

Likewise, the recognition they receive for their achievements boosts their morale. Finally, the extra compensation that results from reaching the goal keeps an employee engaged and propelled to meet more outstanding initiatives.

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Compensation for Years of Service

Whether an employee has been with your company for two years or 20, they equate to more money in your pocket. One consistent employee costs less than advertising, recruiting, and onboarding a new hire. Since the advent of the internet and social platforms, it’s even harder to keep an employee now than it was a decade ago.

Buying gifts for employees who earn years of service is one way to create satisfaction. Another is offering your staff monetary compensation like raises or bonuses related to years of service. Both rewards can reduce employee turnover and increase employee recognition.

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Paid Time Off

According to a survey completed by the U.S. Travel Association, 45% of Americans say that paid vacation is the second most important benefit, next to health insurance itself. Yet, most Americans don’t know if their employers want them to take a break or feel like they shouldn’t talk about vacations at work.

As an employer, you can stay ahead of the curve by talking to employees about paid time off (PTO) as a mental health benefit. Then, increase employee retention by utilizing a payroll and HR platform to offer paid time off. HR platforms that help implement options like direct deposit and PTO increase a business’s value simply because the employees who take time off will have a better work-life balance.

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Awards

Another form of gift-giving to employees is an award. What employee doesn’t want to be recognized for the work they perform, especially if gift-giving is their love language? One example of this is an employee engagement program that offers rewards for company engagement activities. Items like gift cards and food deliveries are a few favorites among our employees.

An employee engagement program gives your workers something to look forward to throughout the year. Similarly, offering quarterly awards specific to your company culture (Most Spirited, Team Player, Work Ethic, etc.) ensures your employees will receive the recognition they deserve and want.

Talking the Talk with Gift-Giving

When you invest in your employees through timely paychecks, salary increases, paid-time-off, incentivized bonuses, and monthly recognition programs, your business will reap a positive impact with engagement and retention.

Furthermore, when you combine the gift-giving love language with words of affirmation, you cater to multiple employees with different love languages. Actions speak louder than words, and when you learn to speak the “love language” each employee resonates with, the relationships with your staff will flourish.

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