Building Workplace Positivity
Workplace positivity grows through appreciation and, specifically, great compliments. Start practicing today, World Compliment Day, to get ready for Employee Appreciation Day later this week.
Held annually on March 1, World Compliment Day has its origins in the Netherlands.
World Compliment Day is not commercially oriented, “so everyone can afford to participate,” according to a history at WorldComplimentDay.info. It “simply addresses the basic human need for recognition and appreciation. … And therein lies its power.”
Hans Poortvliet, a Dutch recognition professional and the driving force behind the annual event in the Netherlands, points out that compliments cost nothing but have a huge impact.
“Nothing stimulates more, gives more energy, makes people happier and, as far as business is concerned, increases productivity and commitment faster than sincere appreciation,” Poortvliet says. Ultimately, if every person pays a compliment to at least three people, “we will definitely create the Most Positive Day in the World!”
A Compliment Is Appreciation In Action
What’s the difference between appreciation and compliments? Structure and value, according to Inc. contributor and WorkItDaily.com founder J.T. O’Donnell’s article, “10 Compliments You Should Give Daily.”
“Lots of people think appreciation and compliments are one in the same,” she writes. “I disagree. You can appreciate someone by saying things like, “thank you,” “great job” or even “you’re the best,” but a compliment takes it a step further by explaining the value the person provided that made you appreciate them.
“Compliments are a form of structured gratitude, which is proven to have extremely beneficial affects in the workplace,” she writes.
Visibility and transparency through social media are making it harder to hide a toxic workplace culture, according to a recent Washington Post article.
Despite the bottom-line value of a positive culture, “corporate culture has long been the sort of squishy management consultant term that’s hard to define, even harder to change,” the Post’s Jena McGregor writes.
The compliment gives us something concrete we can do to improve culture — today.
Ultimately, workplace positivity depends on a culture where sharing compliments feels comfortable and commonplace.
If you and your team are out of practice, it may feel a little strange at first — but the more you trade compliments, the easier gets. And since receiving and giving compliments feels great, you’ll all be motivated to continue passing along the positivity!
7 Tips for No-Fail Workplace Compliments
Is there is such a thing as a bad compliment? Yes, especially in the workplace, where professionalism and hierarchical power dynamics are factors. Appearance is one topic to generally avoid.
According to Certification Magazine, compliments like “You look nice today” are easily misconstrued (“Do I normally not look nice? Is he flirting with me?”).
Also, comments about appearance do little to motivate excellent performance: “That’s why it is smart to stick to compliments based on colleagues’ actual work rather than personal appearance.”
Don’t leave your compliment up for interpretation. Follow these tips for giving clear, genuine compliments.
1. Give the Compliment You Mean
Take a minute to think it over. Give your compliment some thought. Don’t pay a compliment you don’t actually mean — the recipient will sense your insincerity.
2. Compliment Behind-the-Scenes People, Too
Your stars deserve praise, but don’t forget the employees who make their work possible. Janitors, contract workers, interns, IT support staff and administrative assistants often go under-recognized. They’ll appreciate the boost of a sincere compliment!
3. Recognize a Range of Skills
It takes all kinds to operate a company. Don’t forget to recognize “soft skills” like emotional intelligence, positive attitude or ability to negotiate. For example, the customer service rep who soothes and finds a solution for an angry customer deserves kudos for practicing empathy and negotiation under pressure.
4. Take Individual Effort Into Account
Did the employee put in extra effort to learn a new skill? Were they struggling with an aspect of their job but persevered to improve their performance? Let them know you noticed.
5. Say Why It Makes a Difference
Bring it home by explaining why the employee’s effort is meaningful to you and to the company. Be specific — tie it to results (a good Yelp rating, an increase in sales, a faster rate of delivery, etc.)
6. End with Thanks
Don’t forget to punctuate your compliment with a genuine “Thank you.” People remember and value these two little words!
7. Go Public
When it’s appropriate, publicly recognize employees. World Compliment Day is a great time to share your employee appreciation on social media! Tag @ComplimentDay and use the hashtag #ComplimentDay and #WorldComplimentDay for greater reach and to share in the joy of giving and receiving compliments.
Need More Workplace Positivity Inspiration?
Download your FREE Day-to-Day Employee Recognition Calendar, your guide to building a successful workplace culture of positivity and gratitude.
“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author
The gThankYou Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Download yours today, absolutely free.
Here’s to a happier workplace in!
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