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Published: February 7, 2024
5 min read
By: Anouare Abdou
Don’t be like the 85% of managers who aren’t sure how to communicate feedback effectively. Use these positive feedback examples to motivate your team.
You don’t need to be an HR expert to know that positive feedback is important at work. You’ve seen it first-hand: The entire body language of an employee can change in an instant when given a compliment about their work. That boost in happiness translates into higher engagement and better team dynamics.
But how often do you share positive feedback with your team? And what exactly do you say? This matters more than you think. According to Gallup, 80% of employees who say they have received meaningful feedback in the past week are fully engaged. The word “meaningful” is an important distinction.
Furthermore, the frequency of feedback is also crucial: workers are 3.6 times more likely to be motivated to do outstanding work when they receive daily (vs. annual) feedback from their manager. To help you improve your management skills, we’ll give you a list of seven powerful positive feedback examples you can use with your team – and why they’re helpful.
It’s worth noting that different people value different ways of being recognized, so using a variety of efforts can help you ensure that all your team members feel seen and appreciated.
Regardless of how it's delivered, the mere act of giving positive feedback to your team has extensive benefits, from increased job satisfaction to enhanced productivity and better career development.
Positive feedback also puts an emphasis on certain skills, efforts, and traits by pointing them out. This concept is called positive reinforcement: people are more likely to repeat the behaviors that they receive praise for, because it feels good to receive praise.
A virtuous cycle ensues: Employees feel naturally inclined to keep performing at their best, and their positive actions are met with more positive feedback and career opportunities.
Finally, positive feedback can be a powerful career development tool. Most people are unaware of their areas of genius. When managers highlight these areas, it encourages workers to explore and develop them further and positions them for success.
While corrective feedback – feedback about unwanted behaviors – has its place occasionally, giving positive feedback is much more effective. According to Harvard Business Review, the highest-performing teams received nearly six positive comments for every negative one. With this praise-to-criticism ratio in mind, aim to be generous with the amount of recognition you dish out.
Need more reasons to focus on positive feedback? Another HBR report revealed that high-performing teams share nearly six times more positive feedback than average teams. Fostering a culture rich in positive feedback is not only good for performance but also conducive to increased collaboration. It’s always enjoyable to contribute to a winning team.
According to Gallup, only 14.5% of managers strongly agree that they are effective at giving feedback. If you struggle with the idea of communicating feedback, you’re not alone. It’s an opportunity for growth that will only make you a better leader.
Also, learning how to give positive feedback can sharpen another important leadership skill: The ability to build trust. A report from WorkForce Institute revealed that 25% of employees say that managers can earn employee trust by giving helpful feedback.
In other words, giving positive feedback on a regular basis can expand your management skills in underrated ways.
Ready to start practicing? Use the following positive feedback loop examples with your team and watch motivation and performance increase.
“I want to take a moment to celebrate the outstanding work everyone has done on [PROJECT]. The resourcefulness and dedication that each one of you displayed was truly impressive and exceeded expectations. Thank you for your contributions and for embodying the strong teamwork and professionalism that sets our team apart.”
Why this works: It’s specific and helps team members understand what they did well. It’s tied to core values, which reinforces them. It recognizes both individuals and the group while highlighting impact.
"I want to let you know that I have noticed a huge improvement in your recent reports. You’ve deepened your analysis and delivered actionable insights. Your findings are also clearly articulated. Keep up the awesome work – your dedication to improvement is an inspiration to the entire team!"
Why this works: It acknowledges progress within an area of improvement, which is encouraging. It fosters a growth mindset and makes the employee feel seen and valued for their efforts to improve.
"Great job on achieving your sales goal! Your ability to build positive customer relationships and optimize our customer acquisition strategy played a pivotal role in meeting our objectives. Keep up the excellent work!"
Why this works: It highlights the person’s exact contributions, which makes it more meaningful than generic. It reinforces positive behaviors and also ties individual efforts to bigger company goals.
"I want to highlight your exceptional performance over the past year. Your focus on achieving goals, your ability to adapt to both challenges and opportunities, and your dedication to teamwork were noticed. You always show up with a positive attitude and desire to go above and beyond, which has fostered a positive environment in the team. Your commitment to excellence is obvious, and I appreciate the impact you’ve had on our success. Thank you for your hard work!”
Why this works: It recognizes several achievements and qualities, which is important during a yearly review. It emphasizes both the impact and the value placed on the worker’s contributions while providing positive reinforcement.
"I wanted to pass along great news – our client was extremely impressed with your project management. They specifically mentioned how comfortable you made them feel, how well you communicated and how organized you were. This positive feedback is a testament to your dedication to delivering projects on time while creating a seamless client experience. Great work!”
Why this works: It links the client's response to specific strengths and skills. It expresses gratitude and appreciation while reinforcing the value of the employee’s contributions.
"I wanted to commend you for the proactive approach you took to deal with [CHALLENGE]. You quickly identified and addressed the situation, which prevented issues from snowballing. Thank you for setting a positive example by taking ownership!”
Why this works: It sends the message that taking initiative is important by acknowledging it and tying it to team goals.
"Your ability to organize complicated concepts into simple, digestible information is inspiring. It makes for much more effective communication and helps project stakeholders stay on the same page. Thank you for bringing so much value to the table.”
Why this works: Gallup findings show that employees who received strengths-driven feedback had lower turnover rates and increased productivity, so it’s good to focus on employees' strengths in your recognition efforts.
Whether you share a stellar customer review or give a team member a shoutout for taking initiative, dishing out positive feedback on a regular basis is a powerful way to improve engagement. Positive feedback is much more effective than negative feedback and should happen on a frequent basis for the best results. If you must give someone a piece of constructive feedback, always do it privately.
And no, pointing out strengths and qualities isn’t just praising someone for doing their job. When done effectively, meaningful positive feedback reinforces the unique genius of each individual in a team while highlighting contributions that exceed expectations. It helps people understand their strengths and motivates them to keep leveraging them.
The examples above should help you get in the habit of delivering positive feedback to your team daily. Use them for inspiration but don’t be afraid to make them your own. Remember that both frequency and meaningfulness are key.
Finally, keep in mind that the right tech can take your efforts to the next level by turning employee recognition into a comprehensive system. Using a platform like Applauz, which is completely customizable based on your team’s unique needs, can take the guesswork out of recognizing employees.
Category TagsEmployee Recognition
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