Providing services for adults with disabilities.

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Appreciation Culture

By Melanie Anderson

Appreciation is one of our basic human needs and though it is a simple term, it has a magnitude of depth to it.  Compass has been learning from the Languages of Appreciation model that is based on the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  We want to provide our Compass community with authentic appreciation in a personalized way that reaches each person in a form they understand and value.  Employees take a survey that reveals which of the following is their primary language of appreciation: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service or Tangible Gifts.  Our ultimate goal is to have a culture of appreciation within our Compass community.

What does it mean to have a culture of appreciation?  When something is part of your culture, it is one of the ways you are known and a value that is inherent and consistent in practice so much so that it is second nature.  Appreciation should not be something we just check off our list or something we feel obligated to do, but rather part of who we are.  When people are known and appreciated, they are motivated to be the best version of themselves and also to freely recognize the gifts and contributions of others.  This celebratory communication strengthens relationships and relationships is one of the values that makes Compass so successful.

How Do We It?

So how do we achieve our mission to have a culture of appreciation? Awareness and commitment to this value from every person in every role at Compass is critical. Appreciation is not only a manager or supervisor’s responsibility- it belongs to all of us!  We should infuse gratitude and express appreciation in every possible direction- towards clients, towards peers, towards our supervisors, towards our stakeholders, etc.

Here are a few suggestions for each of us to adopt around appreciation at Compass…

Lead by example.  Start now.  Start today.  Recognize the big and the small.

Do it daily. Make appreciation a habit.  Don’t miss an opportunity to acknowledge someone’s efforts.

Take time to reflect.  Get into the practice of reflecting on your interactions and experiences with people.  And then take the time to express gratitude or appreciation.

Say thanks. When someone does something kind for you, whether it’s your boss, your co-worker, a client or even a stranger, recognize it! A simple “thanks” will do.

Know people.  Get to know people and try to learn their appreciation language so you can show appreciation in a way that really reaches them.

Talk About Appreciation.  Share when you have been appreciated.  When you have a great idea about how to show appreciation, share it with others.

Gratitude Phrases

Are you worried you will struggle to find the right words?  If your intention is to show appreciation, most people won’t be worried about what words you use.  But here are some phrases you could use to express gratitude:

  • Having you on this team makes a huge difference.
  • It’s inspiring to see how you help others.
  • The way you handled last week’s crisis with your calm demeanor was a game changer.
  • It’s so refreshing getting to work with you.
  • I am continually impressed by your creativity!
  • I absolutely love how you handled that situation!
  • What you have brought to this team the past three months has been invaluable.
  • Thank you for speaking up when no one else does.
  • Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand.
  • Thank you for being so flexible. I couldn’t have done it without you.
  • I love your great attitude even during this tough season.
  • I just want to let you know how much you mean to the team.

These phrases would likely be appreciated by anyone but in particular, people whose Language of appreciation is Words of Affirmation.  These could be verbally spoken, included in a card or a sent in a text message.  Here are some suggestions for people with others languages of appreciation.

Acts of Service

Offer to help with a project.

Notice when things are tough for them and ask what you could do to lighten their load- and then follow through.

When you help, ask what help looks like and do it the way they describe.

Quality Time

Make time for one to one interactions with them.

Reach out to them to see how they are doing.

Go to lunch or to an event together.

Tangible Gifts

If they collect something or like a particular items, pick one up to show them you were thinking about them.  It does not have to be costly.

Pay attention to what they like- the kind of coffee or treats.

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