An Attitude of Gratitude

Can you believe it, we’ve officially reached the holiday season!?! So what better time of year to share our appreciation and gratitude.  As a gift for being a loyal reader we want to share a little secret with you.

We’ve conducted focus groups with tens of thousands family, residents and staff on all three shifts from many organizations across the country and there are common complaints we hear time and time again about what “leadership could do better.” One dietary aide said it best, “Don’t worry about the money that you pay me. Worry about how you treat me.”

The sad truth is, many of the staff we meet with, and please keep in mind that these staff members work for high performing organizations, feel underappreciated. And I don’t just mean at the holidays.  Appreciation is something that needs to be given all year long.  Gallup Inc. says every 7 days!

Here’s the funny thing about appreciation: appreciation is felt in different ways and you might not be showing your team members appreciation in the right way.

Our friend, Dr. Paul White (check out his guest blog he wrote for us earlier this year), teamed up with author Gary Chapman to write “The 5 languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.” The book focuses on the 5 languages of appreciation.   They are:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Tangible Gifts
  • Personal Touch

Essentially people feel appreciation differently, so while 45% of people feel appreciation through Words of Affirmation, giving people praise – saying thank you, the remaining 55% will not feel appreciated by hearing a simple word of, “thanks.”

Personally, I feel appreciated when someone spends quality time with me, but I also feel appreciated when someone honors my time.  On the opposite side, nothing insults me more than when someone disrespects my time.  Just like, nothing makes me feel appreciated, or heard, then when someone respects and values their time with me.  30% of people feel appreciation through Quality Time.

According to “The 5 languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” 20% of people feel appreciated through Acts of Service.  One of our clients decided the best way to show their CNA’s appreciation was through The Administrative Certified Nursing Aide (ACNA) where five administrative staff and two support staff became CNA’s in addition to their regular roles, so they could better assist CNA’s by answering call bells when needed.  How cool is that?  Another client held an employee appreciation car wash where all the top leaders washed the team members cars.

Here is what most people find shocking.  Only 5% of people feel appreciated by receiving Tangible Gifts.  So while people may gladly accept a bonus or gift card around the holidays – don’t feel fooled into thinking they feel appreciated.  They might appreciate the extra financial support because of increased spending during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean they feel appreciated or valued at work.

Physical Touch actually isn’t included in this equation because the authors decided not to make “touch” a focus in the workplace, but I still like to mention it because physical touch is so important to our residents.  A pat on the shoulder, or a gentle touch of the hand, can really go a long way in showing your residents that they are appreciated (and loved!). Just something to keep in mind.

As you plan your holiday events and employee appreciation programs try to consider how people feel appreciated and what you can do differently this year as a leader to really try to reach as many people as possible to show your appreciation – now and throughout 2019.  The best part, you’ll be modeling the way as a leader and supporting a culture where your team members will show their appreciation for others as well.

This article was written by Drive team member, Allison Duda.

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