Can Workplace Love Languages Improve Your Studio Culture?

Quizzes, astrology matching, Myers-Briggs personality inventory—the list goes on when defining deeper matches and relationships. And at Walla, we are about creating personalized client connections. But regarding your studio and staff culture, could the infamous five love languages be evolved to encourage a stronger foundation and reinforce positive companionship within the workplace?

“When I was managing yoga studios, the workplace love languages is something I implemented that my team loved,” says Laura Munkholm, co-founder and president of Walla. “It helped the staff understand and set boundaries while cultivating an environment of respect our clients could notice and feel.”

The five love languages iterated to fit the workplace include:

  • Words of Affirmation = Feedback and Mentorship
  • Quality Time = Workplace Bonding 
  • Receiving Gifts = New Opportunities and Challenges
  • Acts of Service = Support 
  • Physical Touch = Encouraging Touchpoints

By implementing a studio standard for your staff and utilizing these “love” languages, you can organically amplify confidence, eradicate negativity and positively impact teacher and staff retention. For workplace love languages to work, they must be woven into everyday operations honestly and organically. From there, it will become synonymous with your studio culture.

Words of Affirmation = Feedback and Mentorship

Words of affirmation might sound easy, but they can quickly become over-the-top and inauthentic in the workplace. And when praise is vocalized too often, it takes away the impact and has the potential to create a callus, competitive culture among studio staff.

On the other hand, feedback and mentorship are building blocks for success—and whether good or bad (and when worded constructively), this love language promotes self-worth and growth. Open communication is key to making this love language work, from workplace appreciation after an event to creating time during a company meeting for your team to share highs and lows. Encourage staff to vocalize what they want at your studio and their path to success (like if your front desk aspires to be a manager one day) so you and other team members can do better regarding feedback, advice, education, and opportunities for advancement.

Quality Time = Workplace Bonding   

In a pandemic-adapted environment, it can be hard to keep your staff connected and feel like they're making a positive impact. Confidence can waver. Despite where one works from or where they are on the studio schedule, quality time and workplace connections can make a difference. 

Asking your staff meaningful questions—like how their recent vacation was—or following up on life decisions a teacher was excited about, creating a culture of meaningful, focused conversations can quickly boost morale and keep spirits high inside and outside the studio. Plus, team events and celebrating staff milestones never hurts (like a mental health day, workplace callouts, happy hour, kombucha o’clock). Personalized experiences will only make your staff stronger and better connected.

Receiving Gifts = New Opportunities and Challenges

This might seem like a more difficult love language to pivot (and we’re not telling you not to take a staff member out to wine), but sometimes the most meaningful “gifts” come in the form of opportunities and exciting challenges. And that starts with communication—and having an open door policy when interacting with studio ownership and management. Be sure to engage with staff when there are growth opportunities, more classes on the schedule, or a new role at the studio. By keeping everyone in the loop on growth and development, you’re fostering a culture where employees see and understand what they can achieve, where they want to go—and influence workplace retention.

Another way to iterate this love language is by gifting gratitude. That can be through a company meeting callout, a virtual high five, celebrating a work anniversary, or a day off. Showing that you’re thankful will positively impact your team and further inspire them to want to connect with each other and your clients.

Acts of Service = Support 

Your studio is as good as the people that work there, and like any industry, keeping them  content and contributing to your bottom line is always a goal. And with this love language, support doesn’t just mean a compliment, pat on the back, or shoulder to lean on—it’s all about taking action.

From acknowledging a teacher is getting burnt out to having conversations about studio policies, being able to support staff can be anything from updating the instructor schedule to creating a branded guideline book so every member of your team can educate themselves on expectations. Support can come in the form of checking in with an employee or bringing in snacks or coffee on busier days. It can also be shown by providing technology and tools to help streamline time and efforts. An efficient, supported staff is always a positive reflection of your studio to your clients, new and old.

Physical Touch = Encouraging Touchpoints

While “physical touch” could be a high five or handshake in the workplace, this last love language is all about encouragement. Encouragement is powerful, inspiring, influential—and contagious in the studio. It makes your staff want to work harder, which becomes evident to clients attending class. Everyone wants to be better, and outside encouragement is always a bonus. Encouraging touchpoints at the studio can come in many forms, and it can be easy to forget accomplishments when the schedule is back-to-back, and the studio is packed. That’s where you need to step up and create daily, weekly, or monthly touchpoints that celebrate even the most minor wins. Maybe it’s words of praise (looking at you acts of service), positive body language when engaging with staff, or individual meetings to check on progress and life inside and outside the studio. Adding elements of encouragement throughout the workweek will help your team, instructors, and clients continually create a goal-oriented atmosphere of acknowledgment.