Public recognition can be a powerful motivator, encouraging employees to present their best work. Yet praising one team member can sometimes cause feelings of jealousy or resentment in those who don’t receive the recognition. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep employees motivated and feeling upbeat. Here’s what you should know.  

1. Keep It Fair

When giving praise, make sure you’re fair. If you publicly call out one piece of good work but stay silent about someone else’s equally valuable contribution, it can look like favoritism. Also, ensure that the level of praise is comparable to the level of accomplishment. Consistently praise good work whenever you see it, regardless of who created it.  

2. Keep It Professional

Avoid praising personal traits or qualities, which can build understandable hurt for those who don’t happen to have those qualities. Instead, focus on the work itself, especially as it relates to business goals and objectives. If a team delivers the accomplishment, be careful not to single out just one team member for praise – spread the recognition all around!

3. Keep It Honest

In a competitive culture, even the fairest and most professional praise can come across as dishonest. Build an open and honest company culture. Give your employees reason to trust you. Then, when you dole out praise (or criticism), they’ll believe what you say.   

4. Involve the Team  

Whenever possible, create opportunities for team members to praise each other. This could be at a weekly meeting or submissions for an Employee of the Month award. Not only do your team members see things you might miss, but sharing team member comments as part of your praise shows employees that they’re valued across the board.  

Public praise can motivate employees to do their best, but it can also cause issues if it seems dishonest. Creating an open work culture, remaining professional and fair, and involving the team can help set the stage for a positive experience for everyone!

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