How can you express appreciation in the workplace?

May 17, 2022

In February, 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs. Businesses in every industry are battling a retention issue, and money alone cannot solve the problem, according to

So how can you make workers want to stay? Thirty years ago, author Gary Chapman said people in romantic relationships have as many as five different “love languages,” referring to how they experience appreciation from their partners in ways personally meaningful to them. That idea has been adapted by Chapman and author Paul White to suggest workplace relationships also can benefit from love languages as employers discover how employees prefer to be appreciated. And meaningful expressions of appreciation in the workplace can have positive long-term effects. offers the following ways managers can provide such expressions of appreciation in the workplace.

  • Managers can start by delivering personally tailored feedback more often to help employees grow in their jobs. Employees are more empowered when they receive feedback that compares current performance with previous performance rather than when performance is compared to that of co-workers.
  • Managers should offer more praise, especially to those who most value praise as an expression of appreciation. Recognizing good work can make employees feel more confident, perform better and even help them be resilient in the face of negative feedback. Prioritizing praise also can create a culture of compliments among co-workers.
  • Managers should make generosity commonplace. Acts of service can lead to stronger teamwork and positive change in working relationships. An employee who highly values acts of service could receive help from a co-worker, prompting the employee to be more inclined to return the favor or pay it forward.
  • Expressions of workplace appreciation will be more successful when they are authentic. If they appear to to be gimmicky one-offs, they likely will not increase morale and could produce negative backlash and disillusioned employees.

Tags: Business | Workforce


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