The Power of Praise in the Workplace

Praise. It’s one of those small things that can offer huge rewards. And in fact, one of the basic tenets of psychology is that by rewarding a specific behavior, you are increasing the likelihood that that behavior will be repeated. It works in parenting; it works in managing too.

So what are some of the other benefits of offering praise to your employees?

As executive recruiters in Houston, Texas, we know besides being a strong motivator and reward for good work, praise can also make your employees more open to receiving constructive feedback, as well. If they only hear the negative, then eventually they will begin to shut out your comments. But a mixture of positive and negative is more effective in keeping employees on track because they are more open to hearing about how they can improve.

In addition, praise also helps enhance an employee’s loyalty to a company. If they feel like their boss cares about them, is paying attention to what they are doing, and rewards hard work and a job well done, they are more likely to remain engaged.

Unfortunately, as executive recruiters in Houston, Texas, we know many managers don’t praise often enough…or at all. This is for a variety of reasons, such as a lack of time (i.e. with so much to do, it falls to the bottom of the “to do” list), a tone set from the top (i.e. many managers don’t receive praise from their managers and therefore don’t give any in return), and a total focus on employees’ failure to deliver expected results (i.e. only offering feedback about the negative).

So if you’re one of those managers who doesn’t praise often enough, but wants to, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Be genuine.

Don’t give praise just to give praise; be genuine in your efforts.

Be timely.

Don’t wait until annual performance reviews to offer your employees praise. Continuously observe performance and when you see a job well done, offer positive comments to your employee immediately.

Be specific.

Describe the specific behavior or result that is the focus of your appreciation. Not only does specific praise motivate employees more, but it also shows them that you’re paying attention to what they do.

Be open.

Don’t just praise in private; be open with your praise. Acknowledge hard-working employees publicly serves two purposes: 1) It obviously motivates the employee being praised and 2) it demonstrates to your other employees the kinds of behaviors that are praise-worthy.

The bottom line is that while praise only takes a few seconds to deliver, its impact can be long-term in your office environment.