Tips for Giving Praise at Work
Giving praise at work offers numerous benefits for employees and employers. It creates a welcoming work environment that individuals look forward to daily, which affects other aspects like productivity and employee collaboration. Many studies have shown that praise at work can have more impact than employers might assume — even being a deciding factor in whether employees stay at a job or look for employment elsewhere.
It costs nothing to give your employees positive feedback, yet it pays immensely — especially when you make it a habit. Learn more about how to give praise to employees and how it can positively impact your business from top to bottom.
Why You Should Give Praise at Work
Research has shown that workers who felt their company’s leadership genuinely listened to them were 4.6 times more likely to feel motivated to create excellent work. Feedback and rewards are significant motivating factors for employees, which speaks to how critical these components are in any workplace. Creating a united front of positivity and encouragement among workers and higher-ups yields better professional relationships, smoother interactions and higher-quality work.
Some benefits of giving your employees praise include:
- More productivity: Workers who receive recognition are more likely to go above and beyond for their job. Employees who know you value their work will remain productive and do what it takes to advance the company, as they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. A sense of belonging in the workplace can facilitate goodwill between individuals and boost morale.
- Greater talent retention: In a 2021 survey, 21% of employees said recognition is the reason they chose to stay at their current job rather than find other employment. There’s no overestimating the importance of acknowledging your employees’ hard work. People appreciate being seen for their efforts, which is not something every job provides. Individuals will be more likely to stay with an employer that shows gratitude for their work and offers them praise and benefits in return.
- Diversity of ideas: When employees feel that their suggestions are listened to and enacted, they’ll be more likely to stretch their creativity and develop unique ideas that help your company in numerous ways, improving workflows or increasing your bottom line. Many workers want to contribute to their company meaningfully. Giving them positive feedback on their suggestions lets them know they can share their thoughts and open their minds in ways they haven’t tried before.
- Reinforcement of positive behaviors: When you praise an individual for something they’ve done right, they’re more likely to repeat that behavior, knowing it will yield positive results. This outcome also benefits you by encouraging employees to repeat behaviors that help maintain efficient operations. Plus, positive reinforcement lets workers enjoy improved wellbeing by rewarding and acknowledging them. More personal rewards, such as expressions of warmth or high regard, often have the biggest impact.
Who Should Give Praise at Work?
Managers, team leaders and other higher-ups should praise their employees to help build team morale and support individuals on the job. Employees will naturally look to authority figures for numerous tasks, including gauging their own performance, selecting the ideal next steps for complex projects and receiving external motivation. Your influence on the team means your feedback can play a significant role in shifting attitudes and outlooks.
Keep in mind that peer-to-peer praise also has a vital role. An employee receiving feedback from a fellow team member may sometimes feel more organic compared to overly formal quarterly or monthly reviews with managers. Peer-to-peer recognition can be more likely to encourage financial benefits for a company than feedback only from managers.
When to Give Praise at Work
It can be helpful to have a schedule or set reminders for yourself on when to give employees positive feedback, especially if you’re often busy with other tasks. You might try giving feedback to a few employees each day, or you could focus on acknowledging individuals you know have struggled with certain tasks but are improving.
If you do use a schedule or set reminders, remember not to make things so structured that you feel you need to meet a specific quota every time. Employees value feedback, but they also value feedback that’s authentic and doesn’t feel impersonal or like “going through the motions.” Get specific with the things you give recognition for, and try to avoid using general phrasing like “Good job” or “Keep up the good work” that could apply to anyone.
Stay mindful of opportune situations for giving praise, such as completing a big project, learning a new skill or satisfying a hard-to-please client. Make sure your praise is timely, too. Employees will take your feedback more seriously and feel the most gratitude when it comes immediately after a project they’ve done well on rather than weeks or months later.
You’ll also need to weigh when public vs. private recognition is best. Not every accomplishment will be publicly acknowledged — maybe you’re giving positive feedback to an employee during their monthly performance review. Consider, too, that some employees may prefer private feedback instead of being spotlighted during a big departmental meeting. Still, major achievements are worth showcasing among the entire team at the appropriate moments, especially if they affect other workers.
How to Give Praise at Work
Now that you know more about the importance of positive feedback, it’s time to put it into practice. Knowing how to praise someone professionally in a way that speaks to their wellbeing will help you shift your workplace environment for the better. Remember these tips the next time you want to commend employees:
- Let the upper leadership know: Passing your positive feedback on to the higher-ups expands your employees’ recognition outside of their own department, especially for large or complex assignments that were well done. Likewise, let individuals know when they’ve received compliments from others outside the department.
- Acknowledge the small things: The often-unnoticed efforts are what really pull a company together and create its foundation. Make sure you highlight those small wins to let your team members know you care.
- Communicate clearly: Your feedback shouldn’t leave room for misinterpretation or be too vague that the recipient is left confused. A statement like “Your recent work was amazing” is positive, but it doesn’t explain what the work was or why it was remarkable.
- Draw the big picture: Connect your praise of individual employees to your company’s overall mission. Knowing why their work matters and how it serves the organization’s purpose can motivate them to continue improving their efforts.
Here are some team praise examples you can pull ideas from and build upon:
- “Your results on this recent project have shown that you’re consistently improving.”
- “Your work ethic and continued dedication to your role are exemplary.”
- “Your patience in training other employees has been a big help for their confidence and knowledge retention.”
- “Your bright perspective and enthusiasm always uplift others and motivate them to do better.”
- “You meet every obstacle with a can-do attitude and aren’t afraid to reach out for help when needed.”
- “Your reliability and ability to meet deadlines during this busy quarter have really helped us meet our departmental goals.”
Connect With Exude Today for Employee Support Solutions
If you still need more ways to improve your work culture and uplift your team, we can help. Exude provides consulting services in Human Resources, Employee Benefits, Leadership Development, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We give business leaders the tools and knowledge to improve their positive impact on their workers, helping reduce turnover rates and holistically enhance the employee experience. Our mission is to support yours.
Get in touch with us today to learn how you can support your workforce with a more employee-centered focus.