Leaders often do a bad job at one crucial management practice: employee appreciation. It’s either they don’t do it enough or don’t do it at all. Either way, it mars the positive company culture that you’re trying to promote. Worse, it might be the reason why your employees are leaving. You can borrow many ideas from fellow leaders in regards to showing employee appreciation.

However, one of the ways to make your efforts count is to know what exactly makes each of your members feel valued. If you’re a fan of relationship theories, you have probably come across the concept of “love languages.” Its premise is that everyone prefers to love and be loved in different ways.

Quality Time

Some of your employees might feel more valued when you take time to be with them. Of course, they appreciate your thank-you e-mails, but when you take them out to dinner to show gratitude for their last project, they’ll be more appreciative. If you dislike the idea of sharing personal stuff, don’t worry. Your employees don’t want that, too. Your conversation should acknowledge their good work and challenge them to press on. Just be wary of the possibility of your talk being all about you. Let your employee share their ideas about their work. Ask them questions that will probe career growth.

Gifts

There are also some employees who experience greater appreciation when you give them material things. Not because they’re materialistic; they simply feel valued because of the thought behind the gift. For instance, you might appreciate how you remembered them at the coffee shop and bought them a box of donuts. Or how you remembered your conversation about the sophistication of wine at one of your company parties and therefore made arrangements for a wine delivery gift. For people who prefer material gifts, it’s the thought that counts.

Words of Affirmation

Of course, there are also team members who feel appreciated through the magic of words. The simple “You’re doing a great job” is already enough to motivate them for the next big project. You can exhaust different platforms and avenues in praising your team members. You can talk to them in private or send them an e-mail or a text. Finally, you can leave sticky notes on their desks and acknowledge them in your townhall meetings or brainstorming sessions.

Acts of Service

Officemates helping each other in the office

Work is full of stress, so a lot of team members would appreciate it if there was someone who could take some tasks off their plate. This can be as simple as proofreading their marketing report or coaching them before a client presentation. Over time, this builds trust between you and your members. It also sets a good example for leadership, which translates to strengthened loyalty.

What’s Your Employees’ Love Language?

In the end, remember that showing appreciation to your employees is one important practice that you should not overlook. As you think of creative ways to make them feel valued, start thinking about their love languages.