In 2023, we ran a consulting project with a financial services company to deep dive into their employee engagement survey results. The company wanted to truly understand what made working at their company great and what didn’t. Our job was to facilitate focus group sessions with employees to uncover these insights.

8 focus groups, 150+ staff, and lots of post-it notes later, there was one insight which truly struck us – the employees in this company understood the business needs and did not mind the heavy workload (late nights, weekends, OTs, month end rush – trust us, the workload is pretty heavy). What they wanted was simply to feel a sense of appreciation by the management.

The 5 Love Languages

Dr. Gary Chapman is a marriage counsellor and author of the bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages. The premise of his work states that people have different ways of giving and receiving love – much like languages we use to communicate with one another.

Imagine speaking Japanese to someone who doesn’t understand the language – they won’t understand what you’re trying to say! Similarly, you may be pouring tonnes of love to your partner or colleague but if it’s not communicated in a love language that they understand, they will not feel your love/appreciation.

In the workplace, Dr. Gary Chapman calls the 5 Love Languages the 5 Languages of Appreciation.

Discover your Love Language

Express Care/Love in their Language

These are some ways and ideas you can express care and appreciation to people based on their love language. These may not be your own primary language, but learning to speak in their preferred language can go a long way in building rapport and making them feel appreciated.

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