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April’s Lunch and Learn tackles workplace appreciation for Airman retention

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Grossi
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Youngstown Air Reserve Station’s Airman and Family Readiness team held their monthly Lunch and Learn event which focused on educating Reserve Citizen Airmen on workplace appreciation using the five love languages and how they apply to retaining Airmen, April 11, 2021.

“Lunch and learn is an opportunity every Unit Training Assembly for the helping agencies to showcase their programs to Airmen in an informal way,” said Jim Naughton, director of Airman and Family Readiness.

Airman retention is a U.S. Air Force priority. Airmen who remain in the Air Force for subsequent enlistments provide a cost savings compared to extensive training required to replace a seasoned Airman with a new recruit. They also provide a depth of experience and can help enhance unit cohesion. Understanding what makes Airmen separate from service is an important question for increasing retention. 

Terri Ann Naughton, Director of Psychological Health for the 910th Airlift Wing, believes retention has less to do with the work reservists and civilians are doing and more to do with how they are treated within the work place. 

“People don’t leave jobs, they leave people,” said Terri Ann.  “We can make the toughest tasks or hardest jobs palpable by creating a supportive team and using the appropriate love language to show our appreciation.” 

The five love languages concept comes from the writing of Gary Chapman. Each style depicts how we naturally show and receive appreciation to our family, friends and co-workers. If an individual feels a surge of energy and a renewed sense of purpose when complimented, for example, they may be motivated by words of appreciation. 

People who enjoy working in small groups and sharing experiences with their coworkers speak the love language of quality time. 

An Airman who consistently pitches in to help their wingmen complete tasks is likely guided by acts of service, whereas others might feel most appreciated after receiving an appropriate tangible gift.

Finally, the Airman who goes around shaking hands, high-fiving friends and delivering a few pats on the back for a job well done is likely an acolyte of the love language of physical touch, a language Terri Ann Naughton says has been deeply impacted during the pandemic.   

910th Airlift Wing team members interested in learning more about the five love languages or figuring out your own love language can contact Terri Ann Naughton to schedule a meeting and take the test.

Lunch and Learn events take place on Sunday of Alpha-UTAs from 11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. in the Kubli Morale and Wellness Center.

“I believe the 910th helping agencies are fitting these 45-minute classes into the wing mission statement of preparing our Airmen to be: ‘Combat ready NOW… for tomorrow’s fight!’” said Jim Naughton, quoting the 910th AW mission statement.

The next event is:
May 2021: Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve with John Marino