Employee recognition – it pays to tell your employees the good stuff

good stuffWhat if we told you that being positive encourages more engaged and productive employees?

According to a Gallup Survey, ‘leaders who focus on employee strengths are a third more likely to manage actively engaged workers compared with managers focusing on weaknesses’.

But if you’re thinking that the solution to having nothing good to say is to say nothing at all, you’d be wrong.

Managers that give little or no feedback fail to engage 98% of their workforce.

In fact, you’d get better results from offering your employees comments highlighting their failings, when contrasted with no acknowledgment of their existence whatsoever. It turns out we just want to have our input noticed, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.

But in most scenarios, the impact of the good still far outweighs the bad.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that employees reacted to a negative interaction with their manager six times more intensely than a positive one. So while there can be an appropriate time for providing negative feedback, it’s important to consider the potential knock on effect. It takes five separate moments of praise to balance out the emotional blow of one criticism.

Focusing on weaknesses may avert immediate unwanted behaviours and correct bad attitudes, but it won’t motivate the best from your employees in the long term.  In most cases, regular positive reinforcement and employee recognition will inspire people to strive for improvement and repeat what they already do well, but better.

This couldn’t be truer for your Gen Y employees who crave constant recognition for their contributions as essential to their motivation. And it’s not just isolated to the millennial workforce either. Throughout Asia-Pacific, employees’ cite consistent, positive feedback as the factor that would most improve their performance at work.

And while you may think you’re already dishing out sufficient amounts of positive feedback to your employees, approximately 70% of workers report that they are recognised annually or not at all. In order to effectively link recognition to improved performance, there’s a need to acknowledge your peoples’ contributions once every 7 days.

It may be unrealistic and impractical to give praise in every instance, but more often than not it’s better to focus on the positive stuff.

Besides, it’s not just good for them; it’s good for you too.



Sources:  Gallup Study: Impact of Manager Feedback on Employee Engagement, The Happiness Project, BlessingWhite Global Engagement Research Whitepaper, WhatWorks®,Employee Recognition – It’s Different for Every Generation, Steven Green, The Delicate Art of Giving Feedback, Harvard Business Review

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