For the price (nothing), you can’t beat praise for its cost-effectiveness as a motivator. The key is to keep it specific and sincere. As long as it is genuine and timely, praise can work wonders as a VERY effective workplace motivator. But keep these four tips in mind.
- People often ask me what “timely” means; my own personal rule: within 24 hours of the event having occurred (or you finding out about the event).
- There is no such thing as “too much praise”. As long as the praise is directed towards something specific, you can’t overdo it.
- Praise is always best in person. But if that’s not possible, voice mail should be your second choice. If it’s a matter of giving it via e-mail, or not at all, then a short note is an acceptable alternative. But make sure that you keep within the 24-hour rule.
- And perhaps the most important tip: praise only works as a motivator if you actually say it out loud (or write it) to the person who deserves it. Don’t laugh … I can’t tell you the number of times supervisors and managers THINK about praising an employee, but don’t ever get to it because they get busy, or they don’t see the person, or they forget! So if you want your praise to count, you can’t just think it, you have to SAY it!
What’s your experience with using praise as a motivator in the workplace?