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Workplace Love Languages

By Brittany Gebben

I recently wrote about verbal communication styles, both how one gives and receives information, and the idea of utilizing this logic within the workplace to better communicate as a team. As I continued down this train of thought, the idea of relating our everyday communication styles to our professional relationships within the workplace lead me to one of my favorite relationship topics, the Five Love Languages.

Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, is considered a Bible among psychologists and those in the communication field. Chapman suggests that there are five ways couples show (and prefer to receive) their love: Affirmation, Gifts, Service, Time and Touch. Of these, you may relate to more than one.

We all need different things to feel loved. We all show our love in different ways. The same goes for our professional relationships in that we all prefer to receive appreciation in different ways, maybe unknowingly, in order to truly feel appreciated.

Employees perform better when they feel better, but it is simply not enough to express appreciation the way you know best or the method that comes most natural to you. It is important to express appreciation in a way that is most meaningful to that specific employee.

Here’s a look at the Five Love Languages and how they may relate to workplace appreciation:

Words of Affirmation– e.g. Verbalizing, “You’re doing great!”

Tangible Gifts– e.g. Gifting a Starbucks coffee or offering a bonus or raise

Acts of Service– e.g. Assisting, “I appreciate your hard work on this project, so I helped lighten your load by doing this for you”

Quality Time– e.g. Giving undivided attention so the employee feels listened to or offering, “You’ve worked hard on this project, why don’t you leave work a little early today and take some time for yourself”

Appropriate Touch– e.g. Offering a high five or firm handshake

What is your workplace love language (you may have more than one!) or method that you prefer to receive appreciation for your work?

As we dive into our personal love languages and relate this logic to the workplace, keeping in mind that the way we show appreciation may not be the way each of our coworkers prefer to receive it, is key.

When you can become aware of each employee’s communication styles and love language for feeling appreciated and valued, you’ll change the climate of your workplace.

On a side note, while I was writing this article and talking with family about the topic, I was informed that Chapman wrote a follow up to his original book, titled, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People. I think I’ve found my next read!

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