by R. McGhee | Nov. 8, 2021 | 5 Min Read

The art of professional praise: how to compliment your staff

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Business executives, entrepreneurial leaders, and department managers work tirelessly to find ways to unlock the key to increased motivation, productivity, and success. Understanding how to praise someone professionally at work can go a long way in accomplishing this.

From workplace tools to company culture, organizational leaders constantly seek new ways to harness employee talent and energy for better business outcomes. So, why is the simple task of professional praise and affirmation often overlooked in professional workplaces?

While it’s simple to say, “nice job” or “thanks for this” at the end of your emails, it takes a thoughtful leader to know how to praise a team for their hard work and dedication.

Are you ready to learn how to compliment your employees in a way that genuinely impacts their attitude and work?

In this article, we’ll explore the power of workplace recognition and how to compliment your employees. As you read, you’ll learn actionable techniques to add praise effectively into your interactions with your most valuable assets: your staff.

Let’s dive right in!

Is professional praise really that important?

​​Studies continue to show that job performance and company loyalty ties directly to how recognized and appreciated employees feel. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most people want to feel good about their work, and praise from their managers or coworkers often helps them do just that.

When you think about how to compliment coworkers, you have to consider your approach. This goes beyond the words you use to the context you use them in. The more specific compliments you give, the more you can reinforce organizational strategies and inspire commitment to your overall mission.

The benefits of consistent and intentional workplace praise

A culture of deserved and meaningful recognition should be a key focus for companies with ambitions of success. The benefits of doing so are pretty astounding.

Here are just a few of the ways praising your staff can impact them:

While it’s important to understand the benefits of learning how to compliment your employees, it’s equally (if not more) important to understand the consequences of not doing so.

The consequences of NOT learning how to praise a person for his/her work

Just as there are benefits to praising your employees, there are also downsides to not providing professional praise.

When employee recognition is missing from your company culture, your organization is more likely to experience:

  • High employee turnover
  • Coworker rivalry
  • Lack of trust amongst coworkers and in management
  • Dissatisfied customers
  • An unengaged, unmotivated workforce

So, how do you get all good without the bad? Let’s dive into the specifics of how to praise a team member or team.

The art of professional praise

You know that expression, it’s an art, not a science? That couldn’t be more applicable to this topic.

When learning how to praise someone professionally, it’s critical to realize that what may work for one employee may need to be altered to benefit another. While it's easy to fall into the trap of showering praise on everyone around you, this can quickly lose its impact.

Instead, think about how you can show appreciation for another person without appearing fake or disingenuous.

Here are some ideas for how to compliment someone at work:

● Acknowledging exceptional work

● Using encouragement for motivation

● Celebrating milestones and anniversaries

● Rewarding progress toward a job-specific or overall company goal

● Congratulating someone on a win or an accomplishment

Let’s take this one step further, and show you specific ways to do this.

How to praise someone professionally

Are you wondering how to compliment your staff effectively?

While complimenting someone's output at work is great, you can make it even more meaningful when you tie your professional praise to something personal and specific.

Make professional praise personal

It may initially feel silly, but using someone’s name in a compliment shows you really see them and recognize their individual contributions.

For example, let’s pretend you have an employee who worked diligently on a spreadsheet for a project.

You could quickly and excitedly say, “Thanks for this!”

However, if you want to know how to compliment someone at work more personally, you could say, “Jennifer, I really appreciate your dedication to creating this spreadsheet for our team!”

See how the second response uses the employees name and compliments their work ethic?

It may seem like a small difference and detail, but personal praise is more powerful than generic praise.

Make professional praise specific

In addition to making praise personal, you also want to make it specific —don’t just praise the act, praise the effort and recognize the result.

Using our example of Jennifer from above, here’s how to compliment coworkers in a way that’s specific: “Thank you, Jennifer. This spreadsheet is just what we’ve been missing. It will help ensure our team accomplishes every phase of this project.”

Not only did you use her name (personal praise), but you also provided her with greater context of the magnitude of her work and contribution.

The recipient, whether it’s an employee or coworker, will highly value praise that's personal and specific.

How to compliment your staff: more tips and tools

Professional praise can be vocal, but it doesn't have to stop there. And especially given our hybrid work places, it can be tough to rely solely on verbal, in-person praise.

Instead, effective managers and leaders need to utilize all communication channels to recognize success, encourage progress, and affirm efforts.

Consider the different ways you engage with your team throughout the week. How can you use those tools to further empower your team?

Here are some ideas on how to praise your team, even when you don’t see them in person:

  • Email: Sending a quick email with some words of encouragement is a quick yet effective way to let someone know their efforts don’t go unnoticed.
  • Letters: Drafting a personalized letter to recognize how someone went above and beyond is one of the sincerest ways you can deliver professional praise.
  • LinkedIn Shoutouts: Want to really bring a smile to your staff's faces? Create shoutouts on LinkedIn to publicly broadcast your celebration of their performance. This is an easy and effective way to showcase how to compliment coworkers.
  • Internal Intranets: Though it may require a bit more effort, internal recognition on a company intranet will make your team feel extra important. If you want to know how to praise a team in a way that feels big, this is a great option. They’ll feel proud and appreciated knowing the whole company can log in and see their hard work.
  • Employee Coaching & Training Software: If you're offering ongoing development and growth opportunities (which you should be!), consider using a learning technology platform that enables employees to track their progress and feel inspired. The two-way communication offered by most learning platforms can allow managers to praise employees as they accomplish tasks and excel in trainings.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel appreciated for the work they do. When you encourage professional praise amongst your employees, coworkers, and teams, you’ll help foster a work environment that’s collaborative and motivated.

The more encouragement and affirmation people receive at work, the better they’ll feel about themselves and the company overall. It's human nature!

Learn how to compliment your employees with Unboxed

Professional praise is an important and powerful tool for any manager. Knowing how to compliment your staff and doing so properly can lead to great benefits, like:

  • Increased productivity and worker morale
  • Enhanced relationships with customers, clients, and coworkers
  • Improved job satisfaction and retention rates

But knowing how to genuinely praise someone for his work is an art that involves giving praise that’s both personal and specific. And in addition to verbal praise, you can leverage different channels of communication, like a hand-written note or LinkedIn post, to show appreciation to your employees.

Are you interested in learning more about how to praise someone professionally?

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we’re dedicated to helping companies empower their managers and employees for greater business success. Our online coaching platform, Spoke®, is an incredible tool that allows managers to track employee progress and praise employee performance in real-time. With Spoke, you also get capabilities like:

  • Continuous learning opportunities
  • Two-way communication between managers and employees
  • Real-time reporting
  • Data-driven AI learning

And in addition to all those benefits, Spoke is the perfect way to provide Skill Agility™ for your team—the ability to quickly respond to business challenges and opportunities.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how Unboxed can help your company elevate its development and training programs to create a unified, motivated, and inspired company culture—praise included.

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