Dr. Paul White grew up in a family business – his parents and grandfather designed and created point of purchase display stands. Sometimes at dinnertime his dad would lead a discussion and ask questions like, what needs do you see out there? How might those needs be met?
Dr. White started working full-time on the factory floor the summer he was 12. He learnt a lot but declined to work at the company when he grew up, partly because he and his father didn’t always agree.
Instead he started counseling people at his church then became a psychologist who worked with kids and families. In the ‘90s he forged a career in the corporate realm. 85% of the companies in the U.S. are family-owned so business consultant friends started asking him to help out because of his background. That led him into business succession planning and employee engagement.
One day Dr. White was working with a father and son in their business, and realized they were just not connecting. Just prior to that he and his wife and had read the book, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. He thought it might be of value in the workplace so pursued Dr. Chapman for a year and finally got through to his assistant and set up a meeting.
Dr. Chapman had already had 20-25 people pitch him with spin-off ideas about his book but was interested in Dr. White’s proposal about an online assessment tool for workplaces. Together they developed a set of tools to translate The Five Love Languages into a workplace context including a book called The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. The materials have been translated into 20 languages and the book is selling more than a thousand copies every week.
Dr. White is passionate about showing appreciation for employees, not just the high-achievers, partly because research shows that companies that treat their employees well and pay attention to employee engagement function better than those that don’t.
He also loves helping organizations find the right way to show appreciation, depending on individual and cultural preferences. For instance, a side hug might be the way to go in the south but in the north-east a nod across the room is more common.
But it’s not all business. Dr. White is a huge proponent of empathy and treating employees well, not just because it’s good for the bottom line but because, “Employees are people. They’re not just production units.”
Don’t be a podcast junkie…
- The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace
- Get your copy of Master the Key: A Story to Free Your Potential, Find Meaning and Live Life on Purpose
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