Showing gratitude- it’s not just the right thing to do, it has the power to transform your workplace. But don’t take our word for it. Research has shown that expressing appreciation at work leads to:
- Greater Motivation: 93% of employees who feel valued are motivated to be their best at work.
- Improved Mental Health: People who consistently expressed gratitude to their coworkers are found to be happier, have greater life satisfaction, and be more resilient to stress
- Increased Job Satisfaction: A study found “employees gain benefit, in the form of greater job satisfaction, through belonging to a workplace culture that endorses gratitude.”
- More Engagement: 88% of employees who feel valued also feel more engaged at their job
For these reasons and more, appreciation is integral to the culture at Trailer Bridge. Not only do we love what we do, but we love our people. We believe it is important that we express the unique and valuable role each team member plays in our success.
Indie B. Bollman, Chief People Officer, says it best:
“Appreciation is one of the very few things that can cost nothing, but the value can be immeasurable. From the simplest ‘thank you’, to investing in our teams’ development, recognizing someone’s worth (and letting them know it) matters. And it matters a lot. We do that at Trailer Bridge, and never forget how important it is to our teams, to our customers and to each other. It’s simple – we let people know that we notice their contribution and that we support their growth; then we do it out loud and often.”
One way we do this is by implementing concepts from the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. This framework created by Gary Chapman suggests that everyone has a “language” of appreciation that they respond to best. And leaders can create a more positive and productive work environment by taking the time to understand the primary language of each employee.
The 5 Languages of Appreciation
- Receiving Gifts
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Appropriate Physical Touch
- Quality Time
1. Receiving Gifts
Those who prefer receiving gifts feel most appreciated when given a small but meaningful token of gratitude. The value of the gift is in the thought put into it, so it doesn’t have to be costly to be effective. It can be as simple as bringing a coworker a cup of coffee from their favorite coffee shop or leaving a post-it note with a kind word on their desk.
Appreciation with Gifts the Trailer Bridge Way:
A Sweet Surprise: At Trailer Bridge, we like to make new team members feel special by including their favorite candy in their welcome box. So along with company swag on their first day, they are surprised by a sweet treat showing we took the time to get something personal.
Bagel Thursdays: Every Thursday morning without fail, leadership from the Corporate Development department picks up bagels for the office to enjoy. This small gesture creates a buzz of excitement as everyone wraps up their work for the week.
VIP Treatment: What better way to unwind on the weekend than at a live event? Trailer Bridge says thank you to their employees for all their hard work with tickets to shows and events in their local area.
2. Words of Affirmation
Those who prefer Words of Affirmation feel most appreciated when others tell them that they are or have done something valuable. As the most popular appreciation language, it goes to show that a few kind words can go a long way.
But the most meaningful praise goes beyond saying “good job” and is also specific and timely. The channel of communication is also important. Whether your message is best received as an email, handwritten note, in person, or in public depends on the person receiving it.
Delivering Words of Affirmation, the Trailer Bridge Way:
Taking Note: The hand-written note is alive and well here, and it is one of our favorite ways to show appreciation. Extra points for picking out a special notecard with the recipient in mind. Even as Trailer Bridge has grown to over 300 employees, our CEO Mitch Luciano still takes the time to write a personal card for each person’s birthday that is delivered to their home to show he cares.
Shouting Our Praises: When our people do something great, we want everyone to know it! From large accomplishments to everyday excellence, we use shout-outs to celebrate. This could come as a mention at a team meeting, a post on LinkedIn, or recognition at our company-wide Town Hall.
3. Acts of Service
Those who prefer Acts of Service feel most appreciated when receiving assistance from others on small but important tasks. They feel that their hard work is valued when others are happy to help relieve their burden.
Serving Each Other the Trailer Bridge Way:
Lending a Hand: There is a reason that“teamwork makes the dream work” is a common phrase at our company. No matter what someone’s title may be, we all pitch in to help when someone needs it. This also means covering for each other when team members are out of the office so they can enjoy their time off.
Sharing Knowledge: Supporting our people to become the best version of themselves is a big part of TB culture. If someone is struggling with a task, we make sure they have the training and tools they need to succeed. Leadership especially makes a point to be accessible and let the team know that their door is always open when they need assistance.
4. Appropriate Physical Touch
Those who prefer Physical Touch feel most appreciated when receiving a gesture such as a high-five, handshake, or pat on the back for a job well done. This is the least popular language of appreciation and often happens spontaneously in moments of excitement or celebration. But an appropriate touch at the right time can be very meaningful.
Gestures of Appreciation the Trailer Bridge Way:
Symbols of Celebration: We love celebrating good news with our people, whether it be personal or professional. Often, to highlight our excitement, we will offer a high five or a fist bump of congratulations. Did you just land a new client? Was your kid on the honor roll at school? Expect a high-five to be coming your way.
Meaningful Moments: We share a lot of big moments together at Trailer Bridge, whether it be celebrating a milestone work anniversary or receiving the President’s Award from the CEO. When this happens, a handshake or pat on the back marks the meaning of the occasion.
5. Quality Time
Those who prefer Quality Time feel most appreciated when they receive undivided attention and can express their ideas at length. This meaning comes from the quality of time spent together, so it is important not to rush the interaction and actively listen. This form of appreciation can be equally effective when done individually or as a group.
Quality Time the Trailer Bridge Way:
Team Lunches: Leisure time with our team is just as important as the time spent working together. It helps nurture positive relationships and it’s fun! Teams at Trailer Bridge will often go out to lunch to get some time away from the office and focus on being together. Our executives also plan lunches with different departments to get to know them and learn about the group’s goals.
Focused Meetings: It is important to us that everyone feels heard, so leadership schedules regular one-on-one meetings with every person on their team. These meetings are meant as dedicated time to talk about each individual’s work, concerns, goals, and growth opportunities at Trailer Bridge.
Appreciation is for Everyone
Whether you’re an executive or a front-line worker, showing appreciation can have a huge impact on those around you. If you are in leadership, intentionally showing gratitude can inspire your team to follow suit. Being appreciative of your coworkers – no matter your title – can make work more fulfilling for everyone.
By incorporating The 5 Languages of Appreciation at Trailer Bridge, we ensure that all of our people feel valued in the way that matters the most to them.
“Showing appreciation to our TB employees is important because we DO appreciate them! They are the heart of everything we do so it’s critical that they know that and feel that.,” says Kacy Swanson, Director of Employee Services. “It’s part of our culture and who we are; we want to always be pouring into them and building them up, so they feel connected and do the same for our customers and those around them.”