In an environment where there are so many choices for employees to venture out and try new things, it is important for a company to be that point of difference when it comes to how they treat their employees. As soon as an employee feels they are no longer valued, they will start to look elsewhere. Now, most times, the Company does value their employees, but the way they show that value is often a one size fits all model. Unfortunately, everybody feels value in a different way.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the best seller book, “The 5 Love Languages”. The book was originally written for couples to connect and understand each other and their needs. However, this book is also perfect for any relationship. In this case, the employee-employer relationship! In this book it details how everyone has a unique way in how they feel appreciated and valued.
The 5 Love Languages are:
Words of Affirmation – Some people need to be told how well they are doing. When they are told that, they feel like they are valued and people care about what they do.
Quality Time – No we’re not suggesting you need to take these employees out on “dates”, but sitting down with them and having a conversation may mean the difference of whether they start looking for another job. Quite often, we are very busy people and don’t think about how much our presence or “time” as management can actually do to lift up someone’s morale.
Receiving Gifts – For some (if not most), an unexpected gift can go a long way. It shows that you were thinking about them and because of that, they feel valued. The trick with this one is to not over do it as then it becomes an expectation. A simple restaurant gift card and saying “take the afternoon off and spend it with your family” can send a rush of endorphins through the body and make them feel special.
Acts of Service – In the book, this refers to a husband doing things for their wife that they may appreciate. May include (cooking dinner for her, cleaning the house,etc.) In an employment relationship, it’s actually flipping it around and allowing your employees to do something for you. Some employees get a kick out of “serving” and having that service appreciated. A simple “hey Joe, I’m really snowed under, would you have time to do this for me?”. Then when it’s done, “Wow, thanks so much, I don’t know what I would have done without you”. Simple acts and words like that can make someone feel like they are needed and valued. Now, this isn’t an excuse to make someone do all the rubbish jobs. The more important a job you “delegate”, the more they feel appreciated and valued.
Physical Touch – Now, team, leave this one in the book and never bring it out. In this world, a seemingly innocent touch can lead you in a whole heap of trouble, so no touching!
The trick here is understand your staff. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. Some will say “words are cheap, show me the money” – these would be more inclined to want to receive gifts. Then you’ll know people that will say “you can’t buy my loyalty” – these people may be inclined to want to hear some words of affirmation. But, remember, some may have a mixture of a couple, so don’t put them in a box. When you actually start to look for little signs, you’ll start seeing things that you may not have noticed. Everyone will have their own combination of these “languages” that make them tick. You get this right and people will stay loyal and want to work harder! That’s a win/win in my book.
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