Praising Employees the Right Way: 8 Strategies for Effective Praise

Lauren Deegan

It’s a foregone conclusion in the business world that praising and recognizing employees is important to organizational success. It helps motivate, encourage and guide your workforce. It has so many positives that there’s just no arguing against praise for employees.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone does recognition. Some organizations simply ignore the research and forge on without it. Others heed the call to recognize employees but do so in ways that are completely ineffective. Both of these strategies fall short, which is why we don’t endorse them here at Cristaux International.

What we do believe in is sound, meaningful and effective praise. That doesn’t mean overhauling your organization’s recognition program or trying to launch a complicated new praise initiative. It simply means using a few tried-and-true strategies for praising employees effectively. These are eight of our favorites.

Always be genuine

You know when someone is giving you a false compliment, and so do your employees. Such empty praise isn’t effective at communicating appreciation or letting employees know their true value. Make sure that praising employees is a thoughtful act, not just a habit.

Praise on time

No one wants to be recognized for an achievement weeks or months later. That’s why Olympic Medals are awarded at the end of an event, and it’s why professional sports teams get a trophy right after a championship game. When you see an employee going above and beyond, recognize them right then.

Go out looking for the good

As a business owner or leader, it’s easy to go on the hunt for what your employees are doing wrong. When you spend your time trying to catch employees doing something bad, you just make them resentful. Instead, spend your time trying to catch your employees doing something good. It will help build confidence among your employees and will motivate them to do even better.

Surprise employees

It’s okay to use the same praise strategies time and again, but you should work in some surprises too. Take a stellar performer out for lunch, bring treats for a hard-working team or send a high-performing department home an hour early. Simple surprises will enhance and highlight your recognition efforts.

Be as specific as possible

If you give genuine praise that’s too vague, your team members may enjoy it but won’t be sure what they can do to earn your praise again. That’s a big problem. You want the praise you give employees to drive positive performance in the future, so highlight exactly what it is you are praising.

Spread the love around

No doubt there are some employees in your organization who are just better at what they do than others. It’s easy to praise these people all the time, but you need to spread the love around too. Look for what each employee does well so that you can praise and develop that.

Make recognizing positive performance a core organizational value

A praise program is most effective when everyone participates in it. That means that you should encourage your team members to recognize and praise one another. You can create formal initiatives to do so, adopt an enterprise network with feedback tools or simply ask employees to give a shout out to someone else at a weekly meeting.

Set aside the constructive feedback for now

Many business leaders can’t resist throwing some constructive feedback in with praise. Stop. Yes, everyone could be better at what they do. You want to help employees achieve their professional goals, but it’s good to let people bask in the glow of a job well done too. Offer constructive feedback at a private meeting instead.

Aim to round out your regular praise routine with special recognition events and ceremonies. Here at Cristaux, we believe that these reinforce your organization’s values and strength. Whether they’re custom awards or hand-picked gifts, such tokens up the value of daily praise.