2 September 2019 | 9 Comments
At a recent wedding, I was reminded of the 5 love languages, one of my favorite concepts for romantic relationships. The idea is that people feel and express love in different ways (gifts, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, and acts of service); it’s important to remember that the ways you feel loved may not be the same as your partner.
My previous job was as a director operations at a campus facility, and I managed a staff of around 15 people. It was there that I realized I could apply the concept of love languages–which work for any type of relationship, not just romantic–to the workplace. These are ways to show appreciation when an employee has gone above and beyond the call of duty, or celebrate an employee on a day that means something special to them.
So given that today is Labor Day in the US, I thought I’d share these workplace love languages with you. They’re variations and iterations of the original 5. In no particular order:
- Small cash bonus ($100 cash)
- Small permanent raise ($10/mo)
- Time bonus (extra day off, get off work early)
- Special recognition (thank you in the newsletter or company digest)
- Food treat (your favorite cake, candy)
- Special perk (have your car washed or your dry cleaning taken care of)
- Quality time with a loved one (gift cert to a new restaurant for you and your spouse)
- Quality time with an animal (bring your dog to work day)
- Personal growth (paid seminar or conference)
- Surprises (surprise party or gift)
- Touch (a hug from a staff member or a gift cert for a professional massage)
- Sporting event (nice tickets to a game)
- Group activity in your honor (staff happy hour)
- Outside time (a walk in the park during work)
- Corporate perk (company car for a week, special parking place)
One thing I’ve realized since then is that if you’re not in a leadership role, you can proactively share your workplace love language with your boss, just like it’s worth sharing your romantic love language with your partner so they don’t keep giving you gifts when you actually prefer for them to do your laundry. If there are a few of these love languages that make you feel truly valued, I think it’s worth telling your employer.
From an employer perspective, I’d recommend two things: One, please keep in mind that these love language perks are not a replacement for ongoing compensation, raises, and bonuses. Two, if you’d like to be prepared to celebrate an employee, feel free to send out this list to your team and let each person pick their top 3 love languages now. That way you already have their information when the time is right.
What are a few of your workplace love languages? Are there any you’d add to this list?
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