5 Love Languages You Didn’t Know Your Employees Speak

 In Client Tips

Five love languages you didn't know your employees speak


When it comes to working remotely, a lot can get lost in translation. Without the right channels, important instructions can be misconstrued or missed altogether. This also applies to how managers give and how employees want to receive appreciation and feedback. To help guide you in untangling the confusion, you can turn to a familiar yet unlikely guide: the five love languages.

Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages framework was created primarily for married couples. But it can also be beneficial for managers, team leaders, and business executives. Employers and managers, regardless of work setting, can use the framework as a reference for discovering team members’ love languages and helping them communicate more effectively.

This love month, it’s time to discover the five love languages your employees speak.


The 5 love languages for remote employees

A 2020 report revealed that remote workers still find “communication and collaboration to be the top telework challenges.” This can seem surprising given the endless number of tools remote or hybrid workers can use. But while technology plays a huge role, the approach and intention of managers carry more weight, especially when it comes to communicating feedback and recognition.


  • Words of affirmation

People who prefer the love language of words of affirmation value compliments and heartfelt messages. When others express their feelings towards them in words, they feel more appreciated and assured. Employees who prefer this love language tend to thrive on receiving recognition and positive feedback from others.

Tips for remote team managers:

To connect with employees whose love language is words of affirmation, being vocal and conveying sincerity are two essential things remote team managers must do. Regular performance reviews are excellent platforms for leaders to provide valuable feedback to employees. This activity lets employees hear directly from their immediate superior how well they’re doing.

Simple efforts also go a long way. Don’t forget to celebrate milestones and other achievements on company channels, from internal newsletters to town hall announcements. This is an easy yet effective practice to express appreciation to your staff.

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  • Quality time

Those who prefer receiving love in the form of quality time want the person they’re with to be focused and attentive. As the name suggests, quality trumps over quantity. They don’t want to spend time just sharing the same space. They want the other person to be truly present—actively listening and putting down distractions like cell phones and computers.

Tips for remote team managers:

One-on-one meetings or check-ins are especially valuable for employees who seek out quality time. During these one-on-ones, make sure that you maintain eye contact and actively listen to your employees. This way, they understand that you are not simply going through the motions but want to build a stronger working relationship with them.

Aside from one-on-ones, it’s also beneficial to encourage quality time between team members. Since it’s challenging to have remote teams be physically together for some quality time, leaders need to maximize the tools they have. Consider having virtual coffee breaks and conference calls with the camera on for crucial team discussions.

20four7VA’s Director of Digital Marketing recognizes the positive impact of encouraging spending quality time with remote teams. “Aside from smaller pocket syncs and alignments, our team has a monthly alignment with the cameras on,” shares Jossa. “We use this time to look back on the past month, celebrating wins and discussing things to improve upon. We also reserve a portion of the meeting to learn more about each other through icebreaker questions or simple life updates.”

She notes, “While we cannot be together in person, having the camera on puts a face to the name and the person talking back to your screen.” To ensure quality time between team members is not interrupted, 20four7VA staff and virtual assistants (VAs) must have a stable internet connection, noise-cancelling earphones or headphones, and well-functioning web cameras. All these help make the interactions more free-flowing and fuss-free.


  • Acts of service

Acts of service can be more than just romantic gestures. In the workplace, acts of service include offering (and providing) actual support and extending a helping hand. Those who prefer receiving this love language will appreciate managers who take the time to know them as individuals and their needs. Managers must offer the type of support that can empower employees to rise up and do better In their roles.

Tips for remote team managers:

Offering a virtual helping hand can come as providing more flexible work arrangements. An act of service can also be coaching or assisting new employees with technical tasks. These acts allow remote team members or virtual assistants to see that you’re not just there to bark orders but to equip them with the information and support they need to perform well at their jobs.

“One act of service I always extend to my staff is supporting them in their professional growth,” shares Cath Castro, 20four7VA’s Senior HR & Recruitment Manager. “I do this through mentoring and coaching them on challenging projects.” Another example of an act of service to connect with a high-performing individual who prefers this love language? Assigning them a lead role on an important project. This can be an opportunity for them to hone their skills further and set them up for future career advancements.

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  • Receiving gifts

Those who prefer this type of love language see gifts as tangible expressions of love and affection. It’s not simply about the monetary value of the gift but the intent and thought of the gift giver. When working with employees who respond to this language, make sure you find ways to show your appreciation through symbolic tokens or thoughtful gestures.

Tips for remote team managers:

On your next recognition program, consider giving digital gifts to top performers. You can reward them with relevant gifts like an e-coupon from their favorite coffee or mailing them a personalized care package. You can also provide digitalized certificates and badges to celebrate your employees’ milestones, from their work anniversary and promotions to exceptional contributions to an important project. This badge can be a digital keepsake given during your company’s town hall or team meeting. Another “gift” you can impart to top performers and future leaders is giving them access to exclusive training or resources. This shows your appreciation of their work and support for their personal growth.

While you can’t personally hand the gift over to your employee, personalizing tokens with a simple note or email can make the gesture more personal. While seemingly simple, these gestures can help you connect with staff members who respond well to this specific love language. It can also aid you in creating a more positive and appreciative remote work culture.


  • Physical touch

Those with physical touch as a love language may prefer physical affection. They want to be closer to the people they value. So, if you’re working remotely, how can you connect with those in your team who prefer this love language? It can be quite tricky, but you can mimic appropriate physical gestures through virtual team-building activities and use the react buttons during virtual meetings.

Tips for remote team managers

Physical touch is probably the least relevant love language when working in a remote setting. However, there are still some activities you can initiate to achieve your goals of camaraderie and a strong sense of connection.

For example, icebreakers and virtual games may not be a part of a formal meeting agenda but can be a great way to get members to interact with each other. You can also create smaller chat groups or channels that staff members can join depending on their interests. These channels are great platforms for building a sense of camaraderie and a safe space to share and celebrate both personal and professional milestones.


Table showing the five languages at remote work


Identifying the love language to use

Each employee is unique. You cannot use the same efforts for all your staff members and expect the same results from each person. As a manager, you must put in the time and effort to get to know your employees and which “language” they respond the best to. Here are three ways you can do just that:


  • During the recruitment stage

When interviewing potential virtual assistant candidates, you can already note any preferences they express regarding communication and team dynamics. Don’t forget to pay attention to their body language and reactions when discussing their past achievements or experiences regarding receiving feedback and recognition.

Your observation skills will surely come in handy if you want to learn more about potential employees. But your interview questions will also play a big role.

Sample questions:

  • How do you prefer to receive feedback on your performance?
  • Can you share an instance where you felt particularly recognized or appreciated for your work?
  • In a professional setting, what motivates you the most?


  • Onboarding process

The onboarding process is an ideal time to learn more about new employees and set the stage for effective communication. During the expectation-setting meeting, make sure to allocate some time to ask them about their expectations. Giving them the space to share their preferred communication styles can help you learn more about how you can best connect with them on a professional level.

Doing this at the beginning of their tenure with you helps set expectations for both sides. It can also allow you to prepare early and plan any adjustments you need to make.

Recommended reading: VA Management Best Practices

Short employee survey:

Getting to know your current staff members more is also essential. Implementing a short survey can be an effective way to gather their feedback preferences. Ensure the survey is anonymous to encourage honest responses. Below are some key questions you can include in your survey:

  1. How do you prefer to receive feedback – written, verbal, or through a specific platform?
  2. What types of recognition or rewards are most meaningful to you?
  3. Do you have any specific preferences regarding the frequency of feedback?
  4. Rate different methods of recognition on a scale of effectiveness.
  5. Ask employees to rank their preferences regarding public vs. private acknowledgment.
  6. Adding a space for employees to share additional thoughts on how they would like to receive feedback will also give them more freedom to express themselves.

By combining insights gathered from these three information sources, you can better understand your team’s diverse preferences for feedback and recognition. This information will help tailor your approach, ensuring that each employee feels valued and appreciated in a way that resonates with their individual preferences.


Investing in appreciation: The ROI of happy employees

As you navigate the ever-evolving remote work landscape, you’ll find the importance of building stronger and more open communication channels only increases over time. For businesses that want to thrive in this digital world, you must acknowledge, appreciate, and strategize according to people’s diverse preferences. Only then can you reap the many benefits of teleworking.

Aligning your management strategy with your employees’ preferred way of receiving appreciation is crucial in improving working relationships. When you try to get to know and meet your employees halfway, you can boost employee morale, build a culture of appreciation and communication, and improve productivity. All these are important factors that can positively impact your employee retention rates. All these efforts will pave the way for a workplace where everyone feels not only heard and understood but genuinely loved and valued.

Need help starting and managing your remote team? Book a free consultation with our Growth Experts and find your top-tier virtual assistants today.


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