Do you ever feel like there is way too much appreciation going on in your workplace? If you said no, you’re not alone. Your team would probably say the same thing.
A recent Gallup survey revealed 65% of employees haven’t received recognition in the last year. This directly correlates to the studies that consistently report that two-thirds of American workers are disengaged.
Employees who don’t receive recognition are 51% more likely to look for another job, are less motivated to produce more and better work, and they are less likely to respect you as a leader.
But when it comes to giving positive feedback, many leaders don’t know where to start. Here are the five most common questions.
1.) Why should I praise someone for just doing their job?
Two words: positive reinforcement. What gets rewarded gets repeated. If you want them to keep doing their job, let them know that their work is appreciated. One study concluded that 81% of employees would produce better work more often if they received personal recognition for their efforts. That seems like a good return on investment for a few sincere words of appreciation.
2.) I don’t need praise, why do they?
Everyone has different internal drives that determine what motivates them. Recognition is one of the top motivators along with challenging work, growth opportunities, job security, being part of a team and compensation. If you happen to be motivated by growth opportunities, you may not understand why someone needs a pat on the back. You might even think they are being needy. That kind of thinking is a barrier to your own growth and could hold you back from achieving your goals. The best leaders understand that everyone is different, and they meet people where they’re at without judgment.
3.) How do I give praise without sounding phony?
The secret to meaningful recognition is to make it sincere, specific and timely. If you are specific and timely and you are genuine with your praise, you will come across as sincere. Instead of a generic ‘Good job!’ try saying, ‘Thanks for taking the initiative to help John get that order out. I really appreciate your teamwork.’ The person is more likely to repeat the behavior when they know what the praise is for. Say it as close to the event as possible. If you wait, it loses its impact.
4.) Should I praise in public or in private?
Give your praise where the employee is most comfortable. Many leaders are hesitant to give recognition in public. They worry it will create jealousy or resentment. Forget those fears. One benefit of praising in public is it shows lower performers what’s possible. It can be the shot in the arm they need to step up. Looking for opportunities to give shout-outs for positive behaviors, both big and small, in public creates a culture of appreciation.
5.) How often should I offer praise?
This is a good question because praising too often can be as bad as not praising often enough. Running around giving high-fives, thumbs up and generic ‘thanks’ is exhausting for you and uninspiring to your team. Provide positive praise to each person on your team once a week. I know what you’re thinking — some people aren’t doing anything worth praising on a weekly basis. Look harder.
Did your chronically tardy employee show up to the meeting on time? Let them know you appreciate their effort. What about the people who come in day after day and do their job? Nothing more, nothing less. Let them know you appreciate being able to count on them.
The benefits of appreciation are clear: increased retention, motivated team members who work hard, and respect for you as a leader.
Liz Uram is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, consultant and author. Uram’s written four books packed full of strategies leaders can implement to get real results, real fast. Visit Lizuram.com.