5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace


Have you ever worked with someone who feels they aren’t being appreciated for the work they are doing?  Maybe they are feeling overwhelmed and run down or they just don’t think anyone is recognizing them for their hard work.  Then you talk with their supervisor and the supervisor feels they are telling the person all the time that they are doing a good job… So where is the disconnect?

Just over 2 years ago Lakeview Health Services Inc.  began a journey to support our staff and figure out where the disconnect was for us.   Our Chief Program Officer at the time, Cathy Lovejoy, found the curriculum, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul WhiteThis work is based on Gary Chapman’s original work, The 5 Love Languages.

As we explored the curriculum, we felt it closely aligned with our Agency values of Service, Excellence, Dignity, Integrity, Diversity, Learning & Family. Additionally, we felt the curriculum aligned with Trauma Informed Care, which we have been infusing throughout Lakeview since 2009.

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is about helping staff identify and learn for themselves how they most want to receive appreciation for the work they are doing. Staff complete an assessment where they learn if their primary Language of Appreciation is one of the 4 languages, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service or Gifts. The 5th language is physical touch and although this can come in the form or celebratory hi-fives, fist bumps or handshakes, you are not able to select it in the assessment for obvious HR reasons 😊 All staff now have a sign that hangs on their staff door or cubicle identifying their preferred Language of Appreciation as well as specific actions that they would find most meaningful to be shown appreciation.

Below are some of the ways we felt this aligned with Trauma Informed Care and is a Trauma Sensitive Practice for our staff.

Safety  Staff are able to identify for themselves what is most meaningful to them, reducing situations where appreciation is shown to them in a way that is uncomfortable for them.

Trust & Transparency This has built trust between staff at all levels, because we are encouraging people to be open and honest about what they need to feel appreciated from colleagues and supervisors and everyone is doing what they can to respect another’s preference for how they receive appreciation.

Restoring Power, Voice and Choice Staff have a choice in their languages and the specific actions that help them feel most appreciated. When a situation arises that could put the staff in an uncomfortable situation the door has already been opened to have a conversation on how they prefer to receive recognition.

Collaboration and Mutuality this is a curriculum staff at all levels are trained in; it is important we are all doing this with and for each other.

Peer Support All staff help support each other. This is not only about supervisors showing appreciation but all of us working together

Cultural, Historical & Gender Issues because each staff identifies specific actions that are most meaningful to them, we can ensure we are being sensitive to, and supportive of, any specific cultural, historical or gender issues that are of importance to the individual.

Appreciation at Work is one way Lakeview uses a Trauma Informed approach to recognize the tremendous work our staff are doing each day.

Mary Schweitz

Managing Director of Organizational Talent & Development

Lakeview Health Services, Inc.

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