Feeling valued at work

Written by Julia Menard

I am working with one of the best teams in the world! This is a team that actually invests time in its own well-being. They meet regularly to share ideas and coordinate, which a lot of teams do. However, they also meet to be strategic and tactical in their bigger picture goals. And they make time to meet off-site quarterly (or close to quarterly) where they discuss strategy and areas of professional and interpersonal development.

Most recently, they turned their attention to appreciation at work. They are determined to raise the bar for how people feel at work – valued and like they matter. Isn’t this a team you’d want to be part of?

One of the resources I found for them is a book and website called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (by the authors of The 5 Love Languages). The key concept is that not everyone experiences recognition, acknowledgement or support in the same way. Having been a manager of volunteers, this is something I, and any volunteer manager, can tell you. Volunteer managers are in the business of keeping people engaged and appreciated, since they don’t have the “golden handcuffs” of a paycheque forcing them to stay. Volunteers can walk at any time, so recognizing them appropriately is all the more important.

We all know the stories of people who are motivated by the awards and certificates, while others feel good with a quiet word of appreciation or personal note. The 5 Languages of Appreciation broadens the options.

Why invest the time and energy into this subject? One reason, according to their website, is that 70% of employees don’t feel recognized at work. Perhaps they are, but can’t hear it because it’s not delivered in their preferred “language.” Another reason, for those of you who subscribe to the “the person is lucky to have a job” philosophy, Gallup created a white paper on the direct correlation between employee engagement and financial output. They even created an equation for it that is the basis for their “Gallup Q 12: approach. It goes like this”:

Per-person productivity =
Talent x (Relationship + Right Expectation + Recognition/Reward)

Here are 3 simple strategies to help you make more appreciation at work happen:

  • Familiarize yourself with the five languages of appreciation – available here.
  • While there, do the quiz on their landing page called “How Toxic is Your Workplace.” It’s really worth taking the 5 minutes to do as it hits on some of the key issues that encourage high-functioning workplaces and teams or tears them down.
  • Gallup suggests you give each employee a sheet to fill out and ask them what are the ways they like to be recognized (public, private, peers, managers, CEO) and 5 ways they like to be rewarded. Presumably there would be a conversation to go along with the inventory, to talk about how that could be operationalized at work to help support high-achievement and reaching potential.

If you’d like to talk about how to bring more appreciation to your workplace or team, or about the results of the How Toxic is Your Workplace Quiz, let’s do it! I’d love to support you in bringing more appreciation to work.

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”
… Dalai Lama

About the author

Julia Menard

Have you ever wondered why you can be so calm and rational for your clients, but when it comes to your own life, stress can creep in so easily? That’s the quest I set out on when, after 20 years as a mediator, my own marriage disintegrated. I teamed up with a therapist from Portland, and we wrote a book that captures much of what I’ve learned over the last five years about finding a the calm in the chaos. Hold On To Yourself: How to Stay Cool in Hot Conversations is the result. If you are interested in mindfulness, finding the leader within and engaging the gifts in conflict, then check out my website and sign up for my free monthly newsletter at:

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