Everyone enjoys being praised. However, most managers only praise their employees during the annual performance appraisal.
When done properly, employee feedback can lead to huge improvement in employee engagement.
Over the years, I have heard employees complain that they work hard but they never get appreciated. “I did all the work, but my boss took all the credit”, “I worked late nights and was on 24/7 standby and all that happens is I was taken for granted” and “I worked 10 years at this company and my manager has never once said anything about my performance”. It is indeed a sad situation that many of us find ourselves in throughout our working years.
As a manager, one of the most important skills you need is to deliver feedback to your employees. While it seems that giving positive feedback may be easier than relating negative feedback, managers find that it is not always easy to give positive feedback that leaves lasting impressions on their employees.
Here are some strategies to guide you on how to deliver positive feedback to your employees the right way:
1. Be specific about what is it that you appreciate
Don’t just tell your employee that he or she did a good job, but which aspect of the job he or she did brilliantly. Saying “Thank you for completing the report 2 days in advance of the deadline” is far better than saying “You did a good job”. Being specific adds meaning to the praise and motivates the employee to improve their skills in that particular area. Being precise does a lot more both for the employee’s ego and helps improve their quality of work.
2. Share your feelings
One way to do this is to use “I” statements. “I” statements focus on the feelings of the speaker and state how things are from the speakers’ perspective. For instance, when you say “I feel worried when you came home late without informing me” rather than “Why are you never back on time?”, the focus is on how the action affected you rather than the receiver’s behaviour. Use this technique to share positive feedback with your employees. “I” statements such as “I like that you have taken the initiative to approach the client to follow-up on this project” and “I am delighted that your suggestion has saved the department $5000”. This method helps to foster positive communication between you and your employees as you share your feelings and thoughts in an open manner.
3. Personalize the recognition
An employee who has been working for 10 years at the company appreciated the silver plaque as recognition of his contributions and loyalty to the company. But he was thrilled when he received 2 soccer balls autographed by David Beckham-his favorite soccer player from his manager. The value of having an employer who truly cares about his employee, knows who their employees are outside of their jobs and goes the extra mile to show their appreciation is priceless. Personalised recognition means that the manager has to get to know their employees well enough to know their likes and dislikes. Examples could be a handwritten note, thoughtful gifts such as memberships, books or gift cards. Personalized recognition increases employees’ trust in you and pushes them to work harder for you.
4. Do it intermittently
Instead of giving praise every single time, reserve it for only moments where you feel that the employee has made a powerful impact on work. This will also have the effect of motivating others to put in extra effort. Too much praise may diminish the value of it. Another thing to note is that some bosses might end up saving up all the positive feedback only for the annual performance review. Performance management should NOT be a one-off event and managers should give regular feedback to their employees. When managers consistently highlight and recognise good efforts, employees will be motivated to do their work better.
5. If you see it, say it
It is crucial that you point out the positives as and when they happen. Positive feedback allows employees to develop performance to a higher level. Research has shown that good feedback is timely, relevant and targeted. Obviously, employees will not learn much from feedback provided weeks or months after they have completed an assignment or task. Immediate feedback is preferred especially if they are handling complicated matters or mechanical tasks, as this will reduce the risk of developing faulty misconceptions or incorrect procedural skills. Furthermore, if employees know that what they are doing is desired, they will strive to do it even better.
We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?
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