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Motivating by Appreciation: Discovering and Utilizing Teammates’ Languages of Appreciation at Alexander Youth Network

In the diverse work environments of Alexander Youth Network, inclusivity is not just a buzzword; it’s a core value that drives every aspect of our culture. Alexander recognizes that diversity and inclusivity extends beyond just demographics; it includes the unique ways individuals express and perceive appreciation. Thus, through a recent initiative, Alexander has embraced the concept of appreciation languages to create a workplace where everyone feels valued and appreciated. 

The initiative to focus on appreciation languages stemmed from feedback received during focus groups facilitated by Alexander’s NEET (Network Employee Engagement Team) committee, where employees expressed a desire for more interaction with leadership and to feel appreciated in various ways. NEET plays a vital role in cultivating a sense of belonging and understanding among employees. By facilitating dialogue and providing insights, NEET helps leaders better connect with their teams and ensures that every member has a positive experience within the organization. 


To determine employees’ appreciation languages, NEET utilized the MBA (Motivating By Appreciation) Inventory quiz, which identifies whether individuals are primarily motivated by quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, or acts of service in the workplace. The results were then shared in focus groups, allowing teams to understand and value each other’s preferred methods of appreciation. 

During this process, NEET made many interesting discoveries. Managers discovered that languages of appreciation varied among team members, leading to team-building exercises aimed at understanding and honoring these differences. This revelation highlighted the importance of acknowledging and catering to individual preferences to best show appreciation.  

“For employees, feeling valued and appreciated is paramount. Understanding that each team member has their own appreciation language, Alexander has implemented strategies to cater to these diverse needs,” said Sandra Pizarro, Chief People and Culture Officer. “By recognizing and honoring these individual preferences, Alexander fosters a sense of inclusivity and belonging among its employees.” 

Alexander Youth Network’s commitment to inclusivity and appreciation sets a powerful example for organizations everywhere. “Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, Alexander celebrates the uniqueness of each team member, reinforcing the idea that everyone deserves personalized appreciation and support,” Pizarro said. 

By recognizing and honoring individual differences, Alexander creates a workplace where everyone can thrive! 


Written by Shukriyah Hasanka

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