The Flourishing Culture Podcast Series
“Could You Improve Your Culture by Appreciating Your Staff?“
December 7, 2020
Dr. Paul White
Intro: Do you wish you could make your staff feel more truly appreciated, reduce turnover, increase loyalty, even reduce cynicism, and make a more positive work environment? Well, if so, then today’s episode is for you.
Al Lopus: Welcome to another episode of the Flourishing Culture Podcast, where our goal is to equip and inspire you to build a flourishing workplace. As we all face today’s leadership challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe having a healthy culture is more important now than ever before. We are here to help you eliminate toxicity, improve your employees’ engagement, speed up new innovation, and grow your organization’s impact.
And before we meet our guest today, I urge you to subscribe to this podcast. As a result, you’ll receive our action guide. It’s our gift to help you lead your organization’s culture to the next level. To subscribe, simply go to bcwinstitute.org/podcast. Hit the Subscribe button and receive our free action guide.
If you can share this podcast with others, and rate it, it would mean a lot to me. Thank you.
And now, let’s meet today’s special guest.
Dr. Paul White, PhD, is the coauthor, along with Gary Chapman, of the book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People. The book is based on the number one New York Times’ bestseller, The 5 Love Languages, which has sold over nine million copies worldwide. Dr. White is a psychologist, speaker, consultant, and author, whose passion is making work relationships work. And for over 20 years, he has assisted businesses, government agencies, schools, and nonprofit agencies to build positive work cultures by discovering how to overcome the most common obstacles faced. Paul, thanks for joining me on the Flourishing Culture Podcast.
Paul White: Thank you, Al. Thanks for inviting me.
Al: It’s a pleasure, and I’m looking forward to our conversation.
You know, there’s so much good stuff that I’d like to cover with you, but let’s start off with maybe a personal question and yet related. What was your very first job that you got paid for, and what did you do, how did it turn out, and did you really receive any words of appreciation in that first job?
Paul: Well, I have maybe a somewhat unique situation that I started working for my father, who ran a business. He was an entrepreneur.
Paul: I started working summers when I was 12, on the back of a conveyor belt, and they manufactured what are called point-of-purchase displays, like Hallmark card displays and that stuff. And it was clearly an adventure in learning a work ethic, which didn’t have at that point in time. And so it was okay. Words of appreciation, I don’t think so. That’s not how my dad rolled over the managers. But it was good for me just to start then and see what happens if you don’t get an education. And it was motivating for me later in life, for sure.
Al: Yeah, yeah. Right. Well, I guess I’d have to say my first job was as a paper boy, and I did receive some appreciation, particularly from the older women that were on my paper route. They patted me on the head and, you know, aren’t you a good boy? But I certainly did receive some appreciation. I did, as I think back, I was voted one of the best paper boys in Erie, Pennsylvania, and I got a free trip to the World’s Fair in New York in 1964, I think it was, or maybe 1963, I’m not sure. But first jobs, yeah. Working for your dad, that’s not always easy, is it. Yeah.
Paul: It’s not.
Al: Yeah. So in your book you wrote, “Seventy percent of employees say they receive no praise or recognition at work.” So let me repeat that. It’s a shocking number. “Seventy percent of employees say they receive no praise or recognition at work.” So what does that tell you about the general state of organizational and even workplace cultures today?
Paul: Well, you know, when I saw that, I was surprised as well, especially given that we know that 90 percent or more companies and organizations have some form of employee-recognition program. Like, what’s going on? I think the key word there is received, that they haven’t received it, that companies or leaders are doing things and saying things, but it really doesn’t hit the mark. In fact, we know saying good job really doesn’t do much for most people.
Paul: So that’s really been part of our task is to try to help make people’s and leaders’ efforts more effective so that they’re not wasting time and energy not getting the result that they would like.
Al: I just realized this reading. You actually did some research to help create the book. So this is based on research, the 70 percent, research that you completed, is that right?
Paul: The 70 percent one, it was a national study with multiple corporations, but, yeah, we did other research to fill in the gaps.
So your book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, share is a key word with Gary Chapman’s landmark best-selling series, The 5 Love Languages. So the common word is language. But it’s not just spoken or written appreciation that we’re talking about. Take us through the five languages of appreciation in the workplace and what makes each of them so unique and valuable.
Paul: Yeah. So, it’s a great observation that they’re not all verbal languages. I mean, so one is words of affirmation, and it’s pretty easy to understand the words that are affirming. And it can be spoken or it can be written, and it’s actually the most common language. We’ve had over 260,000 people take our online assessment, and so we’ve got some good data. And 46 percent of all employees choose words as their primary language that they want to be shown appreciation, partly because it’s easy and I think it’s also acculturated. But the key part to make that effective is that you really need to be specific in what you’re communicating that what you value about what the person has done or who they are.
The second language, quality time, is spending time with people that you like or value. And in the old days, it was getting time with your supervisor or manager. That’s less so now with younger workers. They more like to hang out with their friends and peers and colleagues and do something fun. So that’s actually 26 percent of the employee workforce, so about one out of every four really value that. And for some people it is clearly one on one. For others, that’s less important. In that group, sort of camaraderie is more important.
The third language is acts of service. And it’s not rescuing a low-performing colleague, but it’s really doing something to help them make their day or week go better. Probably the easiest example of that is when you’re working on a project that’s time limited and you’re really pushing hard to get it done. What’s something that somebody can do to help you out? And it could be actually helping you on the project or maybe helping with some other daily-life tasks so that you can focus on the project. And about 22 percent of the employee workforce have acts of service as their language. As one of our common friends told me once, he said, “My language is git er done. Don’t tell me stuff, don’t give me stuff, just help me get it done,” you know?
And then the fourth language is tangible gifts. And tangible gifts in our context are not bonuses and compensation, but it’s really small things that show that you’re getting to know the other person. And that’s really, I think, a key difference that we make about the difference between recognition and appreciation. Recognition is largely about performance, where appreciation is about the person and getting to know them. And so a tangible gift could be bringing in their favorite kind of coffee. It could be sending them, given that we’re working, a lot of us, virtually, could be sending them sort of a link to a fun video or an article about something you know that they would like or a magazine about their favorite sports team. So it’s really not very expensive, but it can be meaningful if you get it right and know what the person really likes.
And then the last one, that’s a little bit fun or can be, is physical touch. In the major American culture, because we deal with other cultures and countries, it’s less than one percent of the population, and it’s largely spontaneous celebration. It’s a high five when you complete a project. It’s a fist bump when you solve a problem, congratulatory handshake when you make a sale. Virtually, we’re still figuring that out. But I think fist bumps are the ones that are probably going to stay because that doesn’t seem to pass the germs as easily. It’s not a big deal, but it is for those—there are a few people that it’s just, when things go well, it’s really a spontaneous, and if you sort of back off, it can feel a little bit weird.
Al: Yeah. And now we have elbow touches now, right? That’s almost a physical touch, about as best we can do in this COVID situation. Well, that’s fascinating. So words of appreciation, that’s the number one that you have at first, but it’s also the one that actually people say is the one they appreciate most in your online survey and research. That’s interesting.
And give us a couple more examples of words of appreciation, Paul.
Paul: So, yeah, words can be done—one of the ways you don’t want to do it is in front of a large group if you’re not sure if the person likes it. About 40 percent of the population don’t like to be recognized in front of a large group. But it could be you’re on a conference call, and you just call out and say, “Man, Judy really handled this difficult situation, and sort of upset client well and met her needs. And just wanted to let you all know what a great job she did.” And so there’s that aspect. We sort of train people to use the person’s name, tell specifically what they did, and then how or why it’s important either to you, to the organization, or to the customer. So it could be, “Thanks, Brad, for getting your report done on time. It makes it easy for me to get my report to my supervisor in a timely way.”
Al: You know, I’ve seen organizations that do that very well, even have little formal programs. Like, one organization I think of, Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, they gather little sheets of paper. When somebody kind of goes out of their way to do something for somebody else, they’ll write it down, and then they’ll read several of those at an all-staff meeting once a month or so, and then they’ll give out a $20 gift card or something for being affirmed in that process. Yeah, those are—that’s great. Yeah. And I can see where that would be the primary love language for a lot of people.
You also mentioned not saying that in front of large groups. Boy, I hear that regularly, too, that not everybody wants to be called out in front of a large group, making it personal, making in front of a small group or one on one. Yeah, good, that’s good feedback.
So we come back to the workplace, you say companies are expecting more and giving less, and you piggyback on this reality by saying employees are feeling extremely undervalued. And when you hear these words, what’s the message to the church, a parachurch, ministries, or Christian-led companies who are the listeners of our podcast? What’s the message?
Paul: Well, to be honest, I’ve worked across the spectrum of different industries and types of organizations. It’s really sad. Often, Christian-based and Christian-mission organizations are low, really low, on this. And I think partly because they confuse commitment to Christ and His kingdom and the call to that with not praising people or just encouraging people. And they sort of say, “This is what we’re supposed to do, and so why should I affirm or praise you for it?” And what happens is, and I think most of us can attest either personally or through observation, is people get worn out and discouraged, right, because they need some encouragement. And that’s actually in this time of COVID, we’ve really found that it’s less about appreciation; it’s more about encouragement. People are really focused on the present right now. And fortunately, the five languages in our work, we’ve said this even before COVID, that it can be used in encouragement and support in that you focus on the present so that a person’s really working hard, maybe in a difficult situation with kids at home or just a tough project, and you can use words or you can spend time with them to encourage and support them. And it’s about the present and the future; it’s not about what they did in the past. I think leaders at whatever level really can hear and maybe learn from that, hopefully.
Al: I often wonder if somewhere leaders feel like it might be a sin to really recognize somebody or encourage somebody because maybe it’ll get their head too filled with pride or something. But that’s really something that I’ve experienced, that we need more of this in Christian organizations, and that’s a good thing; it’s not a bad thing.
Paul: Right. And, you know, I hear people occasionally say, “We’re not supposed to work for the praise of men. We’re supposed to work sort of humbly as servants.” And that’s true. But I tell people that doesn’t mean that you have to treat people like dirt at the same time.
Paul: It’s okay to encourage them.
Al: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
So, you know, with five languages of appreciation, can a leader or manager or maybe even a team member try out and practice something almost immediately? So tell us a favorite story.
Paul: Yeah. And in fact, I mean, a key part of your question there is that we found that it’s critical to involve team members in the process, that it’s not a top-down thing. It’s not from your leader or supervisor solely. I mean, that’s great when they’re involved, but people really want to know how to support and encourage one another. The first person that knows when you’re having a bad day is your colleague, right?
Paul: And so, in our process, we really focus on training not only leaders and managers but colleagues so that they know how to support and encourage one another. When that happens, things go well. And like I said, I think words is the easiest. I think people often are concerned about wanting to be perceived as authentic and genuine. And the key aspect to that is being as specific as you can about value, about the—work through. People say, “Well, what if I don’t appreciate this person?” Well, first of all, don’t blow through it and don’t try to fake it. But secondly, focus less on appreciation and focus more on what do you value about them as a person. It doesn’t have to be about work. It could be that, you know, they just have a great smile and a fun laugh to listen to. And you can say, “Man, you just really light up the room. I love that.” Or it could be that they’re training for a 10K. You can say, “Man, I’m just impressed with the discipline you have in that.” And that communicates value about them as a person, even though it’s not work related. I think we have to remember that and sometimes start there.
Al: Yeah. You know, in fact, Paul, this is interesting. You just bring to mind again another thing we’ve learned from Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale. They do something there called the honor chair. And so as they bring a group of people together for a meeting, every once in a while, they will put somebody what they call on the honor chair. They will just go around the room, and they will give that person a word of appreciation about who they are as a person, about what they appreciate about them, and it goes pretty quickly. And we picked that up even at our monthly all-staff meeting at the Best Christian Workplaces. And we’re a virtual team. And that works also very well as a virtual organization. So the honor chair is something that we found to be very effective. Yeah. So appreciation, that’s really good.
Al: I trust you’re enjoying our podcast today. We’ll be right back after an important word for leaders.
Female: As we come through the COVID-19 crisis, leaders everywhere are asking, how do we understand the tensions our employees are experiencing coming back to work? How do we keep our employees engaged, hold on to our best talent, and position ourselves to thrive as an organization going forward? If you’re looking for a way forward, the Best Christian Workplaces Institute can guide you onto the road to a flourishing workplace.
The first step to begin the journey is our well-known Employee Engagement Survey. This proven online tool pinpoints where your organization is already strong and where you can improve your employees’ workplace experience, resulting in more productive people. That’s right. You’ll have more engaged, productive, and fulfilled people. Time-consuming guesswork won’t get you there. Instead, let us help you with a fact-based, hope-inspiring action plan that only our Employee Engagement Survey and skillful coaching can provide. Sign up now to begin the journey to build a flourishing workplace culture and a thriving organization. Find out more at bcwinstitute.org.
Al: And now, back to today’s special guest.
What is it about appreciation that can radically transform the health of a workplace? That’s what we’re interested in, is the transformation of workplaces. How can the language of appreciation translate into practical benefits for a workplace that’s staggering, hurting, maybe even kind of in a toxic situation?
Paul: Well, there’s lots of great research done by Gallup and the Boston Consulting Group and others that showed the practical benefits. I mean, yes, we want to do this partly because it’s the right thing to do, and also it usually makes people feel good. But that’s not the sole or even primary goal. We know that when people feel valued, they stick around longer. I mean, turnover goes way down, and sort of the behaviors that lead up to that as far as absenteeism, tardiness, conflict, falling policies and procedures. And we know that good things happen. The customer-service ratings go up, productivity goes up. But, you know, I think the issue is about—I sometimes use the image of oil in a machine. It helps the organization run more smoothly and effectively. You spend less time dealing with really distracting kinds of things, of conflicts over stupid little things like what size a person’s monitor is or where the window is or parking lot, that eats you up emotionally and relationally. And it frees up that time and energy to be able to continue to work on your mission and your goals. And so ultimately it really helps the organization.
We had a neat experience with a mining company in South Dakota and Colorado and Wyoming that they just said we’ve turned their culture around. And you wouldn’t think so with miners and cement truckers and all those kind of things. But we have some visual symbols of the languages, and they wanted them for their hard hats and all that. And lots of times people just don’t know what to do, especially when you get past that initial thanks or good job. It’s like, what else are you supposed to say? Well, you can learn how to observe specific behaviors and that it’s not always about words. Some people just, you go have lunch with them. And you don’t have to talk about work. It’s just you find out about them and their family and what’s going on. That communicates value to them. So it can really be impactful both organizationally and in specific departments and in individuals.
Al: Oh, that’s great. Yeah. As you say, lower turnover, lower absenteeism, less conflict, greater productivity. I like your oil in the machine. You know, things just run smoother, don’t they? Yeah.
You know, you mentioned the need for loyalty. Give us a story where the language of appreciation deepened the loyalty of an employee, maybe a team or even a broader, larger workforce.
Paul: Well, you know, I was dealing with an organization that it was actually after 2008 and 2009, in the economic downturn, and they were hurting financially, and they had to lay off people. And so the people that were left were carrying a heavy load. And they were more appreciative and willing to stay, to hang in there, when they knew that the leadership, the management, the supervisors, who also needed encouragement, voiced how much they appreciated the team members hanging in there with them. And they sort of hung in there through the difficult time until things turned around on a more positive track. And that’s critical for an organization. If you lose all your people and a number of good people or solid people in a tough time, it’s tough to recover from.
Al: You know, I’ve been reading your blogs, and I believe you’ve got a book called Rising Above a Toxic Workplace. So you’ve mentioned the ability to show appreciation, even to difficult colleagues. And who hasn’t faced this kind of challenge before? So how do you show appreciation for a difficult colleague?
Paul: Well, first of all, you wait to make sure that it’s really true.
Al: Oh, it has to be true.
Paul: Well, I think so. It works best that way.
Paul: Because people have pretty sensitive sensors for people are just going through the motions or blowing smoke at you. So that could be an issue. In our book, we talk about some different stages that sometimes it’s that you just don’t really understand them. You don’t get along with them. I don’t really understand biker culture too much, and I have to work harder to understand and feel comfortable with them. And so sometimes it’s that kind of thing, a cultural kind of thing or personality-style issue. Sometimes it’s that you don’t really understand what they do and the value that they bring to the organization, because you just see the surface kind of actions, but you don’t really understand the deeper task that they’re doing, especially if you’re not their direct supervisor. But essentially what we found is that the single best way to deal with somebody that you have a hard time appreciating is getting to know them as a person. And that is inviting them to lunch and chatting and just say, “You know, I don’t know that much about your background and where you came from,” or it can be about their family or what they’re interested in, because when we get to know each other as people, we find more touch points with one another, whether that’s about both having lived in Arizona, or lived in the South and you like fried catfish, or whatever it could be. But it turns out to be a real gate opener, and you can start there and move out from there. And it doesn’t mean that you have to like it or it doesn’t mean that they’re a great performer, but you’re starting to get to know them and understand them better. And I think then the appreciation starts to flow.
Al: Yeah. That’s great advice. You know, get to know them, find some common similarities and touch points with each other. Yeah, that’s great advice, even good advice in these times of cultural disparity that we find ourselves in. Yeah. Great way to make bridges.
So is it possible to reward an employee without spending a lot of money? That’s a question that we oftentimes will get. All of this rewarding employees costs a lot of money. Are there ways to reward employees without spending a lot of money?
Paul: Absolutely. And in fact, I would say most sort of recognition reward programs waste a lot of money because we know that only 6 percent of the workforce really do gifts and rewards as their primary way we’re seeing being appreciation. I’ve had people say, if you never say anything to me, compliment me; if you never help out when I’m a little bit behind on something; if you never stop by and see how I’m doing, and you give me a gift, it feels pretty superficial, especially if you didn’t even have to pay for it. You know, it’s from the organization. But those kinds of a gift with their language can really be impactful. But absolutely. And we’ve worked with all kinds of inner-city ministries and social-service agencies. They have no budget for nothing, and yet you can communicate appreciation effectively. And even on the gifts, it’s very small stuff. It’s a cup of coffee. It’s a magazine. It’s three to five bucks maybe. And so you don’t have to spend a lot of money. To be honest, it’s more about taking the time and being intentional about getting to know people and getting to know what’s important to them. You know, we created this online assessment that identifies not only your language, but the specific actions within that language, because some people, like you said, don’t want individual time with their supervisor. People say, “My supervisor’s pretty intense. I’m sort of shy. No, thank you. But let me hang out with my friends at lunch.”
Al: Yeah, that’s interesting. And it’s really a key for loving, is knowing what people do appreciate. And that’s true for our spouses if we have one, or our friends. Yeah. So really being specific about what they’re interested in. And I know that, if you can believe it, my wife doesn’t really care for flowers, but she’d rather have me bring home—she’s a gardener—she knows that I really love her when I bring home a bag of dirt. But I never would have known if I hadn’t asked, you know? So, yeah. So, saves me on the flower budget, that’s for sure.
But, you know, how about sometimes praising coworkers maybe can backfire on you? How do you prevent praising coworkers from backfiring on you?
Paul: Well, I think the situation in which that negative reaction occurs the most that I’ve observed is when there’s a past offense that hasn’t been dealt with, just blowing through it, and sort of like, “You know, I really appreciate how creative you are,” but maybe you and this person had a bit of a tiff or a conflict in the past. And we just encourage people to say, you know, to just acknowledge and say, you know, “There was this issue that we had a couple of months ago, and it is what it is. But in spite of that, I really do value and appreciate what you bring to the team.” So you’ve got to acknowledge that.
And the second one is if there’s been some big really sort of riff management wise, where there’s been a big layoff and you’re sort of acting like it’s not happening or didn’t happen, or that there was really a big decision that was made that right or wrong downline staff really felt not heard or understood and that you tried to just move forward, it’s usually based in a lack of trust, because of prior behaviors. And so you’ve got to patch it up. In fact, I was brought into a call center where they had all kinds of problems, and there was very little trust. I said we’re not—because if you don’t trust what I say, it doesn’t matter if I say I appreciate you. It’s not going to do anything. So we had to back up and deal with the trust issue first.
Al: Yeah, yeah. That’s a great story.
You know, here we are in the COVID pandemic and the new and challenging era of working remotely. So what are we losing out on in a remote workforce when the language of affirmation through physical touch is absent or at least maybe, well, it’s absent, and certainly discounted?
Paul: Yeah. Let me frame it a little bit differently, Al, and that is probably the biggest challenge that we found in communicating appreciation remotely has to do with understanding the need to have personal communication with your team members, because most communication remotely is a Zoom call, is a conference call, maybe an email, maybe even just an audio conference call. But it’s usually work related and task related, which is fine. It should be. But what we’ve sort of lost is those spontaneous interactions when you walk by somebody’s office and you stick your head in and say, “How you doing?” or you see them in the break room or coming in from the parking lot. And so you don’t have these opportunities for sort of just personal, informal interactions. And so what happens is it sort of devolves into all your communication is about work, and they just feel like a worker bee and they’re not a person. And so we really, through research that we’ve done, published in Psychology Today and some other places, that we need to structure time to connect with people at a personal level and say, “What’d you do this weekend?” or “How about the Chiefs or the Seahawks or kids playing sports?” and that kind of thing. Otherwise, it becomes very clinical and cold, mechanical, rather than a person-to-person interaction.
Al: Yeah. That’s good.
And Paul, you know, we found that having one on ones and scheduling one on ones between a supervisor and their employees is really critical in this time of COVID also to help with that connection. Are you finding that as well?
Paul: We are, because it’s a both/and, right? I mean, you still connect as a team, but team communication remotely is tough. You talk over each other. I have a couple of team members that are pretty shy, and even in a small group, they’re not going to say much. And so you don’t really connect with them. And so it is important to have that one-on-one interaction so they’re not feeling on the spot in front of other people.
Al: Yeah. Right.
You know, in our work through the Best Christian Workplaces Institute, the language of appreciation is worth its weight in gold, every workplace organization where employees feel affirmed, valued, and engaged. In your mind, what’s the most common, maybe needless mistake a leader can make or do that does not show appreciation for others at work?
Paul: I would say that one that I see, especially for sort of higher-level thinkers as well as engineers and sort of systems, is they want to get the system, they want to get the whole system going, work on spreadsheets, but they never implement it, right? And so I always say that the key to success is, first of all, to start somewhere with someone. And it doesn’t mean you have to do the whole thing across the whole organization. In fact, we rarely go in and help people with our appreciation work training across the organization totally. We start with a pilot group and just help that go, and then it sort of grows from there. So getting sort of, I guess, blinded by the big picture and never really starting with the people that you work with on a day-to-day basis is a place that I see that really affects leaders.
Al: You know, it reminds me of Andy Stanley comment that I’ve heard him talk about: do for one which you wish you could do for all. And the point is that don’t not give somebody some appreciation recognition because you wouldn’t be able to do that for others. And so then you end up not doing anything. And I really like your suggestion: start somewhere with someone. And you can do that today. Yeah.
Paul: That speaks to, another part of that is that some leaders are very concerned about fairness or perceived fairness. That can just eat your lunch because it is perceived fairness, and you can’t be fair with everybody. I mean, you did the same thing. So what I always tell people is start; and then if somebody has a concern or complaint, you turn it around and say, “Thanks. I didn’t know that that was important to you, that either time with me or getting an email or getting a cup of coffee. I’m glad to know that I’m going to work at that.” So you can always turn those sort of complaints potentially or concerns around and say, “Okay, now I know a little bit more about you, and I’m going to try to work to show your appreciation that way.”
Al: Yeah. Great.
You know, as we wind our time down together, Paul, we mentioned how the remote workplace is being a fact of life here during COVID. I mean, we’re all experiencing it more than ever before. And is there another workplace phenomenon or trend that you see that’s making the language in appreciation in the workplace even more needed now than ever?
Paul: Well, I think we cannot underestimate the remote and virtual aspect of the workplace. And I was just reminded by some personal learning I’m going through about we are relational beings and God created us that way, and we don’t work well when we’re not in relationship with other people. And I don’t care whether it seems to be more financially efficient because you don’t have to pay for rental space or whatever. If you do not pay attention to the relationships between your team members at every level, it is not going to go well. And I’m willing to go on record to predict that there’s going to be some really significant, I don’t know, downturns or failures among some organizations that just keep trying to do it as if people are just getting their jobs done, without understanding the need for interrelationship and emotional support. And we’ve got to keep that in front of us because it’s in the nature of who we are.
Al: Yep, yep. It’s all about relationships and affirmation. And certainly appreciation is certainly a way of building those relationships and, yeah, pay attention in relationships between your team members. That’s great advice. Super.
Well, Paul, you know, I’ve certainly enjoyed everything that we’ve learned today. I really appreciate your five languages of appreciation: the words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, and physical touch, and even the percentages of each of those and how important they are with words of affirmation being almost the primary love language for just about half of the people that you’ve surveyed. So that’s been really helpful.
I’m wondering if there’s anything else that you’d like to add that we haven’t talked about.
Paul: I just would like to throw a shout out to you and your organization for the work you all do and really doing a thorough job of assessing what organizations need versus sort of just assuming things, you know, communicating it clearly and then providing follow-up resources. I mean, I’ve seen it in a number of organizations that either we’ve worked together on or as I followed up. And I think you guys do a tremendous service, and it shouldn’t be underestimated or undervalued. So thanks for the work you do.
Al: Thanks, Paul. Yeah, great. I appreciate that. We have a similar message, there’s no question about that.
How about one final thought or encouragement that you’d like to leave our listeners before we go.
Paul: In the times of stress that we’re all experiencing, I find two things to be really helpful. [unclear 36:20] wrote a blog around the holidays. One is if you’re feeling anxious, which is a fear and fear is always about the future, limit the amount of future you think about. It’s easy to worry about five years out, 10 years out, even next year. But, you know, God calls us to live day by day, and that’s tough. But keep focused on the now, and your anxiety is going to diminish.
And secondly is that humor and laughter is huge in changing your perspective and those around you. And, you know, share funny videos and jokes and stories that people can laugh at. And you’ll see just how that lightens the spirit and makes things go well.
Al: Yeah. Having fun at work, we’re all about that. So that’s great advice, Paul. Thanks.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Paul White, the coauthor, along with Gary Chapman, of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, so, Paul, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, insights, and stories, and thank you for investing yourself in everyone who’s been listening and benefiting from all you’ve shared with us today.
Paul: You bet. Thank you.
Outro: Thank you for joining us on the Flourishing Culture Podcast and for investing this time in your workplace culture. If there’s a specific insight, story, or action step you’ve enjoyed, please share it with others so they can benefit, too. Please share this podcast with friends on social media, and show your support by rating, reviewing, and subscribing wherever you listen.
This program is copyrighted by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. All rights reserved. Our writer is Mark Cutshall. Our social-media and marketing manager is Solape Osoba.
Remember, a healthy workplace culture drives greater impact and growth for your organization. We’ll see you again soon on the Flourishing Culture Podcast.