How to Provide Impactful Praise and Productivity
How to Provide Impactful Praise and Productivity

How to Provide Impactful Praise and Productivity

Leadership Development, Company Culture, Employee Well-being   — 3 MIN


There is a positive correlation between employee recognition and employee engagement. According to a recent Gallup report in partnership with Workhuman, when recognition is done right employees are more satisfied, productive, and engaged at work. Praise in particular plays an important role in how employees feel valued, and it has a way of permeating the entire company culture. The benefits of employee praise have been well documented, and so making praise a part of employee recognition can do even more to positively engage employees.

Why does praise matter

Research has shown that employees like feedback and a lot of it. In a recent study, career expert Zippia found that 65% of employees wanted more feedback. Whether it be praise or constructive feedback, it can help an employee gauge their goals and course correct as needed. 

Feedback can also have a positive impact on an employee's performance. Feedback can be seen as a form of praise, 69% of employees said they would work harder if their efforts were recognized through feedback. With companies investing so much to boost employee productivity, praise is an easy way to keep your team motivated. 

Recognition that resonates 

Big or small, there are several ways companies can recognize an employee. Whether it be praise for a successful project or remembrance of a life event, taking the time to acknowledge an employee can change their outlook on the company. Here are a few examples of different types of recognition that managers can implement. 

  1. Written praise or formal feedback. This can be done in multiple forms via email, an employee recognition portal, or a shoutout in a meeting. Written recognition is good to use for any size win. It is more about taking the time to acknowledge an employee’s work or efforts on a project or in general. Written recognition can also continue to pay dividends for an employee when preparing for a performance review or asking for a raise. If not the direct manager, copy in the employee’s leadership to amplify the feedback/praise. 
  2. Rewards and bonuses. Taking it further, utilizing gifts, bonuses, or company perks can be another valuable form of recognition. Hard work should be rewarded; providing additional perks is an actionable way to show that. Examples include cash bonuses, vouchers to the company store, or travel and experiences like seats in the company box.
  3. Remembering important dates and milestones. This might seem obvious, but taking the time to recognize an employee’s work anniversary, birthday, and life event shows they are more than a number. This information is readily available to managers. Companies should implement a strategy to recognize these days and ensure each employee receives equitable treatment. Leading this charge can be an employee's direct manager: Since they are likely to have the closest relationship and knowledge to the employee, make it part of their leadership evaluation to provide praise to their reports, especially on these days. 
  4. Growth opportunities. The reward for good work isn’t always more work. If an employee is showing promise, provide ways for them to grow and develop. This can be sponsoring an employee to attend a workshop or industry conference, encouraging them to join a professional development group or mentorship program, or allowing the employee to work on a special project of interest. If an employee is provided opportunities to grow at a company, there is a better chance of retaining that employee. 

How to give (really good) praise

Giving recognition should be more than checking a box. For it to truly be impactful, it should be: 

  • Specific. Saying “job well done,” is not enough. Be specific in what an employee did well and why they are being recognized. This feedback will not only boost morale, but also provide positive reinforcement of desired behaviors.  
  • Genuine. Consider the messenger. Leadership has an important role in how an employee views their company and its culture. The relationship between employee and manager can skew how praise is received. Recognizing an employee’s efforts on a larger stage, like a team or all-hands meeting, can reinforce the sincerity of the praise and that you are dedicated to the employee’s success.  
  • Personal. Blanket recognition will not have the desired effect. Taking the extra time to personalize praise will have a lasting impact on the employee and their performance. 
  • Equitable. Ensure that each employee's recognition is distributed equally. If there is a team project, acknowledge each member of the team and the role they played. Additionally, don’t offer preferential treatment to certain employees. Recognition should be rewarded the same across the board. 

Inclusivity is a key factor for recognition to work. In our guide to building inclusive feedback culture, your leadership will learn how to recognize bias and learn how to provide empowering feedback. Fostering a culture of equity and inclusion will lead to a high-performing workplace. 

Companies might not think there is a way to quantify employee recognition, but in fact, companies save up to $16 million annually in turnover costs. The cost of not recognizing employees’ accomplishments is too high. Whether it be a personal note or dinner on the company, recognition can be the difference maker for employee retention and maintaining a strong culture.