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It seems that a lot of what we talk about in HR and management involves rules and policies. We make sure policies are updated as laws change and discipline employees who can’t seem to follow the rules. When we are so caught up in such things, it can be hard to think of giving positive feedback when things actually go well. Giving positive feedback should be a big part of what HR and managers do in a company. Here are some easy tips to make it a part of your approach to taking care of your employees.
Positive Feedback – Timing & Frequency
Just as with feedback that is part of corrective action, positive feedback should be timely. Do not wait until the performance review months after a project has been completed to tell an employee they did a good job. Tell them immediately upon completion of the project. If an employee went above and beyond by putting in long days or managing an unusually stressful project, mention those specific things in your feedback. Let the employee know that you noticed the long hours.
Spread the positive feedback around, and avoid playing favorites. If all your positive feedback only goes to one or two people, others in the office may grow to resent your favorites. Acknowledge the good things all your employees do.
The Power of Incentives & Recognition
A pat on the back is a good way to acknowledge a job well done, but sometimes it takes more than that. When it comes time for performance reviews and annual increases, look back at the things an employee did well. Of course one of the best ways to reward top performers is with a pay increase or bonus, but there are other ways to recognize employees. Remember that a good benefits program sends the message that you value your employees.
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As I have mentioned in previous posts, establishing an incentive program is a fun way to incorporate positive feedback into your work culture. At one of my previous employers we had a program where managers were given tokens to distribute to employees to recognize a job well done. The tokens could be cashed in for gift certificates, movie tickets, T-shirts, hoodies and more. Just remember that an incentive program should not be your only way to recognize good work.
Consider taking time to recognize employee achievements during staff meetings or having an employee of the month. Also, remember to share customer or client feedback with your employees—especially when it is good.
Saying Thank you
When I was a kid, my mom was always big on thank you notes. Whenever we got a gift or someone went out of their way to do something for us, she reminded us to write a note. This is a practice I have carried over to my adult life. In the workplace, this can take the form of a verbal “thank you.” But sometimes a person goes above and beyond, and a written thank you can do a lot to show someone they are appreciated. Skip email and grab a card. Written thank you notes are becoming rare in the digital age, so make the extra effort, write a note and leave it on the recipient’s desk.
Showing someone that you recognize how hard they have worked and that you appreciate what they have done does not have to be elaborate or time consuming. In fact, positive feedback often takes far less time and energy than coaching an employee who is underperforming. There is no worrying about whether or not you will say the right thing or if an employee will get defensive. A simple “thank you” or “good job” can do a lot to show employees they are appreciated.