I’ve seen various surveys over the last three decades demonstrating the power of praise in business. I’m often met with doubt when I claim recognition to be the number one factor in retaining or losing valuable employees. Many managers believe money is the prime motivator for most employees, and while that may be true for the underpaid and truly money motivated, for most, praise is a more powerful incentive. Ask yourself this – have you ever accepted or kept a job that paid less than another opportunity? If you have, then money wasn’t your primary motivation. Has praise and recognition, being part of a team, a fun work environment, and interesting work been more important to you than money?
In Leigh Branham’s book, “The 7 Hidden Reasons Why Employees Leave, (pdf)” he says —
“Employees need to feel a sense of worth. Feeling confident that if you work hard, do your best, demonstrate commitment and make meaningful contributions, you will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.”
5 Ways To Use the Power of Praise in Business
- Praise activities, not just results. By recognizing positive activities, regardless of the results, you not only show understanding and involvement, but you’re also reinforcing the behavior
- Praise character — Praise who someone IS, not just what he or she does
- Praise soon and often — If the employee has done something praiseworthy, do it as close to the event as possible. If your praise is real, from the heart, and founded in fact, you can’t give too much praise
- Praise in front of peers — If you really want to show your appreciation, give it an audience
- Praise in writing — Write a thank you note, send an email, or send a card
How important is praise at work? When praise is missing from the workplace, a majority of employees will consider leaving to find it, and even if they stay, it can negatively affect performance and production. Losing valuable employees is painful. Finding replacements and training them is costly. Losing the personal connections made in the work place takes a toll. If you want to put a dollar figure on it, you can. According to President of Bliss & Associates Inc., William G. Bliss, the cost of employee turnover is close to 150% of the employee’s annual salary.
Do you give praise as often as you should? Do you share recognition whenever it’s deserved? If not, let’s make a commitment to give more praise.
Give praise everyday and your best people will stay.
If you’d like to learn more, I recommend beginning with these two articles on how to give praise in the work place.