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8 Examples of Giving Positive Feedback to Employees

Anja Zojceska | 4/17/2019 | Culture & People

Most managers think that giving positive feedback to employees is simple. However, simply saying “Great job!” isn’t enough if you want to give a meaningful, productive feedback that will really stick with your employees and reinforce their positive behavior. 

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Why is it important to give positive feedback to your employees?

Positive feedback in an incredibly powerful and effective tool which should be a part of every manager’s toolkit. 

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Gallup researchers have studied human behavior for decades and discovered that building employees' strengths by giving them positive feedback is a far more effective approach than a fixation on weaknesses. 

Actually, an organisational psychologist Dr Marcial Losada did a very interesting research and discovered that in high performing teams the ratio of positive and negative feedback was around 6 to 1

This means that the average employee ideally needs 6 positive pieces of feedback for every negative review received.

Importance-of-giving-positive-feedback-to-your-employees

Unfortunately, most managers tend to take their employees’ good performance for granted or praise it only in the context of a constructive, corrective feedback. 

Here are a few reasons why many managers don’t offer a stand alone positive feedback:

If you share some of these beliefs, get ready to be mind blown! Giving positive feedback to your employees has numerous proven benefits - including improving your company’s bottom line. 

Statistics that prove the benefits of positive employee feedback

Contrary to popular belief, giving positive feedback to your employees isn't just about recognizing their effort and making them feel good. While those are important factors, there's a lot more to it. 

According to Gallup’s research, giving your employees an effective positive feedback has many other benefits, including:

Giving-positive-employee-feedback-benefits

Benefit #1: Higher employee engagement

Gallup survey found that 67% of employees whose managers focused on their strengths were fully engaged in their work, as compared to only 31% of employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses.

Benefit #2: Improved employee productivity

A Gallup’s study of 530 work units with productivity data found that teams with managers who received strengths feedback showed 12.5% greater productivity post-intervention than teams with managers who received no feedback. 

Benefit #3: Lower turnover rate

In one study of 65,672 employees, Gallup found that those who received strengths feedback had turnover rates that were 14.9% lower than for employees who received no feedback (controlling for job type and tenure). 

Benefit #4: Greater profitability

In a study of 469 business units ranging from retail stores to large manufacturing facilities, Gallup found that units with managers who received strengths feedback showed 8.9% greater profitability post-intervention relative to units in which the manager received no feedback.

In short, employees who are given effective, positive feedback regularly are more engaged, productive, stay longer with the company and show greater profitability

Thus, every manager should learn how to give meaningful positive feedback. 

How to give positive feedback to your employees?

Most people think that giving positive feedback is simple. However, simply saying “Well done” or “Great job!” isn’t enough if you want to give a meaningful, productive feedback that will really stick with your employees and reinforce their positive behavior.

If you want your employees to learn and grow from your positive feedback, you should make sure that your feedback is always:

How-to-give-positive-employee-feedback

1. Genuine

Don’t praise your employees just for the sake of it. People will see straight through you and your whole relationship will be ruined. Give positive feedback to your employees when you have a concrete reason. Be direct and honest. 

2. Timely 

Make sure that your feedback is timely, given in-the moment. Don’t wait for a scheduled meeting or a performance review to give your employees positive feedback. Waiting to recognize your employees can leave them feeling as though their hard work has gone unnoticed

3. Specific 

Gallup has found that employees are more likely to learn and grow when they receive immediate feedback that is specific. Avoid giving vague praise and say exactly what your employee did that you find commendable. Your feedback should be crystal clear and to the point.

4. Focused on effort

When you give positive feedback, focus on your employees’ effort and behavior (what they do) rather than on their personality traits or talent (what they’re like). That way, you will encourage growth mindset in your employees and help them build determination and resilience. 

5. Framed in bigger context

If you want to make your feedback more impactful and powerful, frame your employees’ accomplishments in a bigger context. Explain the impact of their achievement on others (colleagues and customers) and link it to your company’s bottom line. 

6. Followed with appropriate body language

Pay attention to your body language when you deliver positive feedback. How you say things is just as important as what you’re saying. Make sure to smile, keep an eye contact and use appropriate facial expressions and hand gestures.

7. Amplified with a gesture

If you want to make your positive feedback even more powerful, you should amplify it with a meaningful gesture. Think of a way to make your feedback special and celebrate your employees’s success. Go for a walk in the nearby park, grab a coffee or a box of candies and celebrate!

8. Personalized

Tailor your positive feedback to each of your employees. For example, some employees feel great when they’re recognized in the public, while the other might prefer receiving positive feedback privately. Get to know your employees and their preferences!

When should you give positive feedback to your employees?

There are 8 situations in which giving positive feedback is crucial

Always provide positive reinforcement to employees who:

  1. Meet or exceed goals

  2. Go an extra mile

  3. Help colleagues or customers

  4. Overcome an obstacle

  5. Take initiative

  6. Need a confidence boost

  7. Model good behavior 

  8. Do something minor, but worth recognizing.

Examples of giving positive employee feedback

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So far we’ve covered how and when you should give positive feedback to your employees. Now, let’s tie it all together with great examples

Check out these 8 examples of positive feedback given:

Feedback example #1: When an employee meets or exceeds goals

Here is what you can say:

“I got your report on your sales figures for this week. You’ve exceeded your goal for 30%! 

This is a big contribution toward our department goal this quarter. Nice work - you really nailed it! How did you do it? Did you do something different this week?”

Feedback example #2: When an employee goes an extra mile

Here is what you can say:

“Last week I was struggling with a tight deadline and asked you to help me by researching a few catering vendors. Not only did you send your report in two days before the deadline, but you also went above and beyond by conducting a very thorough research. You included all the necessary information and presented it in a one-page table that was simple to read. Your work made it really easy for me to make a decision quickly. Great job! Without your help, I wouldn’t be able to organize the whole event on time. The extra effort and time you put into this really made a difference. Thank you!”

Feedback example #3: When an employee helps colleagues or customers

Here is what you can say:

“Thank you for helping our new hires by explaining our sales process. The presentation you gave yesterday was very simple and easy to understand. The clear way you presented our sales process is going to help them get up to speed quickly. You've saved them probably a week's worth of work, since now they don't have to dig around for their own answers. They'll have your handy slides to use as reference. Thank you so much, your presentation really made a difference!”

Feedback example #4: When an employee overcomes an obstacle

Here is what you can say:

“I just wanted to tell you that your presentation at the conference yesterday was really great! I know that you’ve been nervous about giving a presentation in front of such a huge audience, but you did really well. Your tone of voice was authoritative and your message was clear and focused. When I compare the presentation you gave yesterday to the one you gave last quarter, you've come a long way. I especially liked how you used interesting examples that the whole group could relate to. Great job!”

Feedback example #5: When an employee takes initiative

Here is what you can say:

“Last week you noticed an invoice that didn’t seem accurate. I really like how you took it upon yourself to call our supplier, research that matter and have the mistake corrected. You took the initiative immediately, which saved us a lot of time, money and problems in the long run. Great job! ”

Feedback example #6: When an employee needs a confidence boost

Here is what you can say:

“I really appreciate the way you handled that customer issue yesterday. I know that working in customer service can be really hard sometimes. It takes a lot of energy and self-control to deal with an unhappy customer. I really admire your ability to stay calm and positive in difficult situations. Also, your ability to understand our customers' problems and quickly develop suitable solutions is a real next-level problem-solving skill.”

Feedback example #7: When an employee models good behavior 

Here is what you can say:

“You did an excellent job yesterday by gathering all of your team members and asking them for an input regarding XY. This really helped everyone feel like they were part of the process. I also liked how you asked everyone a question related to their expertise. It was a great way to encourage participation. What you did yesterday with that meeting is a great example of a true teamwork we would like to encourage in our company. Nicely done!”

Feedback example #8: When an employee does something minor, but worth recognizing

Here is what you can say:

“I received your article on XY. Thank you for submitting your work on time. I know you had a lot of tasks this week, but you’ve managed to finish your article on time anyway. I also noticed that you checked your work for typos and mistakes before submitting it. This may seem like a small thing, but it saved our editors a lot of time. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.”

Take your positive feedback to the next level!

Giving your employees positive feedback is crucial if you want to keep your employees motivated, engaged and productive

Give meaningful positive feedback regularly! But don’t just stop at that. There are many different ways to recognize your employees. 

If you’re looking for low-cost workplace recognition ideas, check out our list of 20 employee recognition ideas your employees will love! 

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