In the world of human resources, we hear time and time again that “Positive Feedback” is crucial to retaining great employees. Too often we provide constructive feedback and even negative feedback when a problem or error occurs. This scenario often leads employees to feel under-appreciated and can lower morale and productivity. Taking the time to provide your staff with positive feedback has been proven to increase staff morale, promote engagement and boost performance.
Individuals tend to avoid things that cause pain, and constant negative feedback most certainly will cause an employee pain. Praise, on the other hand, gives one pleasure, and this in turn can lead them to engage with management and share new ideas.
Most forms of positive feedback require only a few minutes of a manager’s time. The capital investment of positive feedback pales in comparison to replacement costs. An occasional “thank you” from manager to employee does go a long way. It helps your employees feel emboldened because they are doing their jobs well and feel appreciated. Giving feedback more often when appropriate will help your employees to accept negative feedback and work towards improvement, rather than putting up their defenses.
Business owners and managers need to find ways to tell their employees when they are at their best and highlight specific instances when they are making their best impact. This approach has the potential to increase engagement and performance, encouraging employees to be authentic to themselves while consistently reaching their true potential. Businesses waste potential when they don’t talk about the positive impact people make, and we need to use positive conversations to inspire instead.
Giving positive feedback to your staff isn’t just about recognizing them and making them feel good. There is much more to it, and great managers understand this. They take a few minutes to consider how to give praise that will be truly useful. It is also important to do this in a timely manner – do not allow time to pass without telling someone you know how much you appreciate them and what they do for the organization.
A few tips on giving meaningful feedback:
Individualized – choose your approach and words so that they have the biggest impact on the recipient. Not everyone responds to the same compliment in the same manner.
Be specific – describe the precise behavior so that the recipient understands what they have done and that you noticed it. You may also describe the impact of the behavior to encourage a repeat performance.
Authentic – people know right away when you are not sincere. They can tell if you are exaggerating or have some ulterior motive in mind. If you don’t genuinely believe someone’s behavior deserves recognition, then don’t give the praise.
Top performing companies got to be where they are because they consistently search for ways to make their best even better. Effective feedback benefits the giver, the receiver and the entire organization.
By Mary Schmidt, CPP, Human Resource Director