Your Work Language is the Key to Workplace Happiness

You might know what your love language is, but do you know your work language? Just as understanding your love language can make you happier in your relationship, understanding your work language – and that of your co-workers – can help you thrive at work, and create a more fulfilling and productive career.

Your work language combines your values, personality, and what motivates you to succeed. Some crave public recognition and, while others prefer to be left to get on with tasks on their own – and misalignment with your work language can lead to frustration, disengagement, and burnout. Here, Zoe Grant, career expert and HR Business Partner at Click Consult, reveals the five work languages, and how understand yours can be the key to workplace happiness.


Do you love receiving praise and public acknowledgement for your contributions and hard work? This work language is all about feeling like a valued member of the team; whether it’s through verbal praise in a performance meeting to winning awards, you thrive when your efforts are recognised. Even a simple thank you can go a long way in keeping you motivated, and feeling appreciated.  

Schedule one-on-one meetings with your manager to discuss your performance, and seek constructive criticism and ways you can improve. Highlight your contributions, and don’t hold back from sharing your achievements – you earned the praise!


If achievement is your work language, you love reaching targets and hitting milestones – whether they’ve been set for you, or they’re personal goals you set yourself. You seek intellectual stimulation, opportunities to solve problems, and complete complicated tasks. You feel happiest when you accomplish tasks, tick something off your seemingly never-ending to-do list, and see tangible results from your hard work. 

Set achievable goals and keep track of your progress. Make sure you celebrate your progress, especially if you’re not as vocal about your accomplishments as someone with the recognition work language. 


If constantly improving and learning new skills are your main motivators, then growth might be your work language. You love expanding your knowledge and skillset, and are always the first to sign up for workshops and training programs that can help you develop, gain something new, and take on a new challenge. 

Roles that offer plenty of opportunities for development and progression, and encourage you to continue learning are best for you – but you might find yourself wanting to change jobs often if you feel like you’ve done everything you can in one role. 


Do you love group projects and working as a team? If collaboration is your work language, you’re the ultimate team player, and thrive in brainstorming sessions, bouncing ideas off your co-workers. You’re not worried about making your individual contributions known, you just enjoy seeing a project come together and knowing that you all worked well together to get the job done. 

Encourage open and honest communication within your team; share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns, and advocate for regular team meeting where everyone can share updates on what they’re working on, discuss challenges they’re facing, and collaborate on solutions to problems.


If the collaboration work language seems like your worst nightmare, then freedom is for you. You prefer solo tasks, ownership over your own projects, and crave independence and being able to manage your own workflow. You like remote work options and flexible hours that can fit around your schedule, without the distractions of a busy office decreasing your productivity.

It’s important to build trust with your managers and colleagues by delivering quality work, as being reliable will reinforce your case for autonomy. Check in regularly with updates, and clearly communicate your goals and expectations; make sure your manager understands your need to fly solo, and how it contributes not only to your productivity, but also your happiness at work.


  • Job satisfaction: understanding your work language means you can understand the types of roles and work environments that resonate with you. This means that even if it’s not your dream job, you can experience a higher level of job satisfaction and overall be happier at work. 
  • Improved communication: knowing your work language means you can more clearly articulate your needs – and by knowing the work languages of your co-workers, you can provide support, collaborate effectively, and have a more harmonious workplace. 
  • More motivation: you’ll naturally be more motivated and productive when your work environment aligns with the work language that is right for you. From tasks that match your strength, to more challenging projects, or being left to control your own workflow, your motivation to work will increase, and you’ll feel happier in what you’re doing. 
Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum