Diane Daniel is a cleaning expert and maid service owner from Georgia with expertise in team-building and cultivating company culture. In this post, we’ll cover Diane’s tips for keeping your team engaged by incorporating the five love languages of the workplace into your training and feedback process.
You might read the title of this post and think, “what are the five love languages and what do they have to do with a cleaning business?”
Incorporating more emotion-based feedback and communication into your team culture can help keep your employees more engaged and nurture your relationship with them long term.
According to a recent Gallup study, 85% of employees do not feel engaged in their work. This disengagement can lead to apathy about the job and a lack of motivation to excel in their current role – both things that can end up hurting your business.
Having employees who don’t feel supported can present a huge problem to businesses trying to grow. Apathy can lead to higher retention and create more work for you as an owner. The longer you can retain your employees, the more they will be able to grow with your company and contribute to the company’s long-term growth.
In this post, you’ll learn the five languages, how they apply in a business setting, and how to incorporate them into your feedback and training.
What are the five love languages?
The concept of the five love languages originated in the book ‘The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,’ written in 1992 by author Gary Chapman. Its initial purpose was to help partners learn how to better serve each other by learning how to speak one another’s love language.
The five love languages described in the book are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Physical Touch
Over the years, the author adapted the concept to apply in a variety of other settings, including the workplace. He wrote the book ‘The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations By Encouraging People’ to teach employers how to incorporate feedback and praise in a way that individual employees best receive it.
How love languages apply in a business setting
When you start your business, you know you need to have systems, like financial systems and ways to grow your customer base. But one common area of the business that is often overlooked until later on is hiring and investing in a good team. Many business owners think that they need to perfect all of the other systems before nurturing their team.
We’re each wired to receive praise and feedback differently. The five love languages can help you learn how to communicate with your team members in the workplace in ways that resonate with them most.
You may be giving a member of your team compliments or criticism in a love language that doesn’t resonate with them. When you can communicate feedback to a team member in the love language that is most desirable to them, it helps keep them engaged. This is because they’ll understand the feedback more clearly in a way that speaks directly to them.
It might sound corny, but it works.
This method is especially relevant when dealing with a team member who seems disengaged or does not understand the feedback you are giving them. If someone is not getting what you’re saying, you might not be communicating in a way that resonates with that person.
How to give feedback based on different love languages
When applying these concepts to the workplace, Gary Chapman refers to them as appreciation languages. He encourages business owners to get to know each of their employees’ preferred appreciation methods.
Knowing your employees’ appreciation languages will help you figure out how they receive praise and what languages are the most meaningful to them.
Next, it’s essential to know how you can use that information to adapt the way you communicate with your team. Here are a few examples of types of feedback you can give based on each love language.
Words of Affirmation
For team members whose love language is words of affirmation, work on being as clear and direct as possible using verbal praise or feedback. These team members will want more verbal reinforcement than others.
This doesn’t mean giving out compliments and affirmation when it isn’t warranted. This appreciation language in the workplace is more represented by giving direct and verbal feedback rather than more passive feedback. You might have a standing weekly or biweekly meeting these employees to have conversations about their progress.
Suppose a team member receives appreciation via quality time. It usually means they are looking for more one-on-one opportunities in the workplace. Quality time in the workplace often looks like mentorship opportunities or even non-workplace-related time, such as grabbing a coffee to talk about long-term goals.
Employees who value quality time want to know that they are valued members of your team and not just one of many who work for you. They are looking for individualized opportunities to connect with the rest of the team and build stronger relationships through bonding activities such as retreats or company events.
Someone who enjoys receiving gifts will excel in an environment where they can access new opportunities and tangible gestures of support. Things like gift cards or coffee in the office can boost morale for someone whose appreciation language is receiving gifts.
Another example of a gift can be a new opportunity for a promotion or the chance to take on new responsibilities and be supported in the learning process. You can also offer work-related gifts such as stipends for new courses or learning opportunities or small tokens of appreciation for a job well done.
Acts of Service
Someone whose appreciation language is acts of service is mainly looking for support in their role. While you can’t always offer hands-on support as a business owner, there are other ways you can be of service to your employee.
At its core, providing acts of service is more about helping to make the person’s life easier than it is about providing the service yourself. For example, if you notice an employee is overwhelmed, an act of service could be allowing them to delegate some responsibilities to other team members.
You can also offer to give them a stipend to purchase new tools to help them with their job.
This language comes down to the phrase “actions speak louder than words.” Look for ways to provide support that goes beyond words of encouragement to show your appreciation.
While this may seem like the least appropriate appreciation language to use in the workplace, there are a few ways to translate physical touch into a professional setting.
For a team member who values physical touch in their personal lives, they will be looking for specific touchpoints of personalized encouragement at work.
It’s all about showing your appreciation for them in ways that are specific to their role. Try offering them the opportunity to celebrate small wins and ask for the support they need in their role.
You can also use things like a high-five for a job well done or a celebratory lunch to commend them on a new accomplishment or milestone.
Remember that your employees are people and not just assets
When your employees are happy, the quality of your service improves. This translates to more employee retention, more satisfied customers, better online reviews, and more opportunities for growth because you do not constantly have to rehire team members.
The way you engage with your team is just as important as choosing the right people to be on your team. You need to know how to communicate with them in the right ways to encourage them to grow.
When you pay closer attention to how you speak to your team and cater to their specific needs, they end up feeling more appreciated.
In addition to how you communicate with them, invest in activities that show them your appreciation regularly. Give them opportunities to pamper themselves and recharge so that they can come to work with energy and put their best foot forward.
This can look like giving them gift cards for self-care activities or making sure that they are utilizing time off.
It can be easy to get caught up in the business side of things and forget to focus on the emotional aspects of hiring a team.
When you treat your employees like people and not just assets, they will build a sense of fondness towards your business and feel more secure in their role. This can lead to hiring retention and lower employee turnover, which can be a massive benefit to the long-term success of your business.
To learn more about how Diane can help you cultivate a culture using the five love languages, check out her full presentation from the 2020 Maid Summit.
The Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid, is designed to give cleaning business owners the tools they need to grow their business and watch it succeed. Check out over 40 presentations from fellow business owners, cleaning industry experts and more, here.