How to acknowledge good performers

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In our article, Giving employee feedback when there's a concern, we looked at how to talk to employees who have performance issues. But it’s important to acknowledge performance when it is good as well.

Studies have shown a correlation between how workers are recognized and their productivity. This doesn’t mean you need to give a standing ovation every time your employee does something small, but you’d be surprised how far a “thank you,” or even a brief acknowledgement of a job well done goes in terms of job satisfaction.

But what constitutes good performance?

You could recognize the safety measures an employee has taken:

  • Wearing the right protective equipment.
  • Learning a task before doing it for the first time.
  • Warning a colleague about a potential hazard.
  • Coaching a new employee on how to lift safely.

A focus on quality could look like this:

  • All the invoices get out on time.
  • Rework was at zero.
  • You beat last month’s/quarter’s results on standards.
  • An employee received a compliment from a customer.

Other factors you can recognize include:

  • Attendance
  • Efficient use of materials
  • Respect for co-workers
  • Making suggestions
  • Keeping work & common areas clean
  • Using machinery or tools with care

How to provide the feedback: 

  1. Be specific: When giving positive feedback, be specific about what the employee did well and how it contributed to the team or company’s success.
  2. Be timely: Give feedback as soon as possible after the achievement occurs. This helps reinforce the behavior and encourages the employee to continue performing at a high level.
  3. Be sincere: Genuine feedback is more effective than praise that feels insincere or over the top. Use a tone of voice and language that communicates your appreciation and recognition.
  4. Be inclusive: Recognize the entire team's effort and contribution to the achievement. This helps build a culture of collaboration and encourages everyone to work together towards shared goals.
  5. Offer opportunities for growth: Positive feedback can be an opportunity to discuss the employee's career development goals and how to achieve them. This shows that you value their growth and are invested in their success.

By providing feedback in a thoughtful and supportive way, you help your employees reach their full potential and contribute to the success of your organization. 

Incentivizing good performance: not just for sales jobs 

Implement policies that use incentives to motivate your employees and reward good work and actions. 

This is common practice in the sales world, but incentives are just as applicable in accounting, auto repair, food service, etc. Rewards don’t need to be monetary. You can offer days off, more breaks, job title enhancement, public recognition, prizes, etc. The sky is the limit!

Recognizing and acknowledging employee achievements is just as important as addressing performance issues. Positive feedback helps boost morale, motivation, and engagement.  Workplace recognition not only creates motivated employees, but it creates a happier, more cohesive work environment. A strong disciplinary process is important, but an even stronger workplace recognition policy may mean discipline will not be necessary.