Have you ever been complimented with a generic “you’re doing a great job”? This praise normally comes from someone who has no idea what it is you are working on. How does that type of recognition make you feel? We are guessing that it doesn’t make you feel all that great.
Unfortunately, as an executive, you can become too busy to give the sincere kudos a particular employee deserves. “Improving employee morale” can become something to check off on your list of things to do. Instead of giving general, “keep up the good work!” accolades, here are ten ways to give your employees tangible praise:
1. Create a reporting system that allows for praise as well as correction.
Too often internal reporting is only negative. Employees tell superiors what others are doing wrong and not noting all of the positive impacts their fellows have had on the company. Encourage a system in which employees can commend their co-workers for their good works. The help provided or successful project should be specifically noted in the report. This type of positive reporting system gives employers and executives real, concrete praise to provide.
2. Acknowledge production
Tangible products can always be admired sincerely. This is one of the many reasons we encourage business owners to have their employees track measurable results. When you see that an employee has been consistently doing their job successfully, you can both acknowledge their production and find out what has caused the success and work out how a production spike can be replicated.
3. Be specific with your compliment
A general pat on the back or “you’re doing great” can feel insincere. With employee metrics, you can be more specific with your praise. You can also stay up-to-date on your best employees by asking managers who they could not do without and why. You may be surprised who is actually holding down the fort in a department.
4. Save corrective criticism for later
When someone receives a compliment with a caveat (you did great, but…), the praise gets lost in the mix. Instead of trying to soften the blow of criticism with a compliment, share your praise sincerely and then correct your employee at a later time.
5. Give credit where credit is due
If a particular employee came up with the idea for a particular project or worked night and day to make an endeavor happen, make sure to give him or her credit for their work.
6. Provide tangible thanks if it is appropriate
When an employee does something that deserves a bonus or a reward, be sure to reward that person. This not only gives their work a solid acknowledgement, it is a motivation to continue to do great work.
7. Surprise someone with a thank you
We had a client who wrote on the “For” section of a paycheck to a particularly high-performing employee “for being a rockstar”. The employee got a big kick out of it when she read her paycheck. Small, thoughtful demonstrations of appreciation can really show employees that you are sincere in your gratitude.
8. Encourage troubled employees
Even troubled or troublesome employees will get things right and do great work once in awhile. Be sure to encourage them as they work hard to give you their best. Praise is often self-reinforcing, so by pointing out what you appreciate about someone’s work, you are more likely to get repeatedly good work.
9. Recognize teams as well as specific employees
Some teams are put together by managers and some teams form naturally among employees. Be sure to recognize the work of teams and their benefit to the overall business, as well as complementing the work of particular employees.
10. Imply praise
It is important to show employees that you value them, even if they haven’t yet accomplished something extraordinary. You can encourage great works by implying that employees are praiseworthy. This is done by asking for help, ideas, and feedback on particular projects. You will not only validate your employees, but you will likely learn something new or gain insight through their actions.
Employee engagement is a big concern in companies large and small. A simple acknowledgement of a job well done can foster great employee engagement, and provide employee satisfaction as well.
Business Success Consulting Group provides consulting services and business coaching to executives and HR. Give us a call to find out how we can help you resolve employee management and morale issues.