Sincere praise and small gestures are two of the best ways to acknowledge your employees for their contributions to your organization.
The power of praise
An inexpensive, yet powerful way to recognize your employees is to offer praise – either verbally or in writing. This shows that you notice and value their efforts and accomplishments.
How to give effective praise
It might be easy in an email to say, “Hey, you’re doing an amazing job!” but studies show that specific praise is much more effective. Here’s how to give specific praise:
- Use the person’s name.
- State the specific behaviour, task or accomplishment.
- Include a detail or two of what you noticed.
- Explain how the behaviour made you feel.
- Explain how the person has contributed to the overall team or organization.
- Thank them.
Here’s what you might say in an email to Matthew:
“Hey Matthew, earlier today I saw you differentiate your science lesson on photosynthesis. You connected with your visual learners with the images on your projector and tied it all together with a song. I was happy to see your students so engaged with the material and having fun at the same time. Your enthusiasm and creativity is infectious! Thank you for being a valuable part of our learning community.”
Other tips for giving effective praise
- Day-to-day recognition has a high impact on boosting your employees’ morale. People want to be recognized for big accomplishments as much as they do for small things that often go unnoticed!
- It’s easy to praise someone at big events such as ceremonies or celebrations, but try giving praise on an informal and more frequent basis. One-on-one feedback can be received as more personal and sincere.
- Give timely feedback! Make sure to recognize your employees sooner than later. If you see something positive from an individual, make sure you acknowledge it.
- Praise individuals as well as teams.
- Your praise doesn’t always have to be verbal. You can also give feedback over email or in a handwritten note.
According to our recent study on employee engagement, 82% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift.— OfficeVibe
Small gestures go a long way
Small gestures are inexpensive but thoughtful ways to recognize employees. Consider the following options:
- Handwritten notes or thank-you cards.
- Gifts at the beginning of the school year, winter break and at the end of the school year. Remember, these gifts don’t need to be extravagant. The best gifts are thoughtful and useful. Branded notebooks, pens and mugs are a great way to kick off the school year for teachers.
- Who doesn’t like food? Provide snacks and refreshments at meetings, reward the team after an achievement or do it spontaneously.
A simple “hello” at the start of the day and “goodbye” at the end of the day is an obvious but sometimes overlooked form of recognition.— Hrcouncil.ca
- The HR Council offers lots of ideas for informal recognition programs.
- Officevibe has a comprehensive guide to the value of employee recognition programs.
- Read more tips on effective employee recognition from the Cutting Edge.