A simple compliment can make an employee’s day. And, HR leaders know that workplace compliments are important to the success of your bottom-line too. Let’s start with some quotes on the topic:
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Writing assistance site WhiteSmoke, in “How to Compliment an Employee,” suggests:
“A short compliment letter or email can go a long way in making [employees] feel an essential part of the business. The more effective your workplace communication skills, the happier your employees will be, and the better you will be able to deliver your goods or services to customers.”
You’ll find some sample workplace compliment letters on WhiteSmoke.com, as well as at Write Express, in “Compliment or Praise an Employee’s Work Performance” by Mel Luthy, chief editor.
Daily Muse writer Katie Douthwaite, in “The Secret to Motivating Your Team,” cites a recent study, “Bersin & Associates Unlocks the Secrets of Effective Employee Recognition.”
“[The study reveals] companies that provide ample employee recognition have 31% lower voluntary turnover rates than companies that don’t—a good sign that those employees are happier. Plus, basic psychology indicates that employees who are affirmed for good behavior are more likely to repeat those actions—and that, in the long run, will build a stronger company.”
Workplace compliments are clearly beneficial from a number of standpoints, but only if they’re done right. Ross McCammon, articles editor at Esquire magazine, offers a few don’ts in Entrepreneur’s “The Power of Praise in Business–and How to Do it Right.”
- Ending an expression of praise with “… and stuff” nullifies the praise.
- Ending an expression of praise with “… now get back to work” also nullifies the praise.
- Praise followed by criticism is not praise.
- Praise followed by praise is probably a little too much praise.
- Praise followed by criticism followed by praise is a sandwich.
“Create the habit of complimenting good employees as each specific situation arises, and create a snowball effect for the good of your business,” Douthwaite writes.
She provides steps for effectively giving workplace compliments:
Step 1: Say thank you–two words so simple but meaningful that generations have glorified them as two of the most powerful in the human language.
Try: “thank you for your hard work today” or “thank you for the ideas you presented in our meeting.”
Step 2: Be specific. Your compliment coupled with your specificity tells her she’s not only on the right track, but which track.
Try: “Thank you for your input in today’s company meeting, introducing manufacturing feedback into our new product development.”
Step 3: Go public. You can use email, your corporate newsletter or a company meeting.
Sharing accomplishments is proven to inspire other employees to raise the bar.
Step 4: Document praise. If you are inspired to compliment an employee, write a letter and include it in her personnel file;
Documentation will help you assess her potential promotion or raise in the future, as well as be a part of her permanent employee record.
Step 5: Share feedback. If you do receive a compliment from a client, customer, colleague or vendor toward your employee, tell him!
Forward the email with a note from you–and a “thank you”–and copy to his direct supervisor and your human resources department.
Step 6: Give rewards. A reward doesn’t have to be fancy.
A simple thank you note with a $5 gift [such as a Certificate of Gratitude for ice cream] goes a long way.
Step 7: Pay it forward. Compliment employees in other organizations.
Next time you call your utilities company or a travel agency and receive fantastic service, ask for the representative’s manager and tell him what a great job she did.
Make it your business to notice good work or goals met–by individual employees or teams–and say thank you. It’s a bottom-line booster, and besides, it feels good.
For comprehensive how-to information on workplace compliments and building a vibrant culture of recognition, download our FREE eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving” now.
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