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The importance of praise in the workplace

According to a study by the Institute of Leadership and Management into what makes workers most productive, increased pay and bonuses are not the top motivators. Over 1,000 employees across the UK have been asked to identify one thing that would motivate them to do more and 31% of them said ‘better treatment from their employer’, ‘more praise’ and ‘a greater sense of being valued’.

From a psychological point of view there is a strong correlation between telling someone that they have done something well and them repeating that behaviour in the future. Therefore, providing employees with the appropriate praise can be an extremely effective way of changing unwanted behaviours and encouraging the behaviours that you want to see more of.

As well as the above, praise is important for creating a good working environment and happy, confident employees. However, giving praise doesn’t always come naturally to us. So, here are a few ways to give praise to your employees:

Make your praise specific

Don’t just throw random praise at an employee and expect it to motivate them. Relate it specifically to something they have done well, ideally soon after they have done it. Praising an employee for the sake of it won’t come across as genuine, they need to know what they’ve done well. It doesn’t need to be a big statement, "I’m really impressed with how you just handled that call, well done" is more than enough.

Don’t just praise the obvious people

It is easy to notice work done by more talkative and outgoing employees as they will often openly communicate their good work. However, it is likely that there are people in your company who are really good at doing more behind the scenes tasks which can easily go unnoticed. So, even though it may mean you need to make a conscious effort to notice it, it is important that these employees don’t feel their efforts are being ignored.

Provide some external recognition

We all enjoy getting recognition from others, but sometimes making it public goes a long way. Praising a team member at a group meeting, in a company newsletter or even on LinkedIn can be really powerful.

Get them to share their expertise

There are a few ways of doing this. If you’re not sure the best way to do something, ask one of your team for help. Without realising, you are actually offering praise by showing respect for someone’s knowledge or experience and acknowledging that you trust their judgement on a task. Also, if you notice a team member doing something particularly well, talk to them about it and allow them to share their expertise with the team. This is a win-win situation as it educates other employees whilst boosting morale of the individual who is sharing their knowledge.

These are just a few really simple ways to boost people’s motivation and confidence so try getting (in case you haven’t done so already) into the habit of doing them as they can easily be overlooked. It will always be appreciated!