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5 tips to acknowledge your employees

February 2, 2021

“Well done!”, “Great job!” and “Doing well!”. Are these kinds of encouragements the correct ones to motivate people? For HR and team leaders it is not always easy to find out how to give positive feedback. Team leaders tend to have the feeling they must give an applause for everything, even small things. But do they really have to do that? And how to compliment them best or even better? Or do you simply give recognition for a great job in the form of a bonus? A lot of employers think that money is the best way to give acknowledgement. Nothing is less true. From the moment employees earn a good salary, you’d better express your appreciation otherwise.

Employees crave for positive feedback, acknowledgement of their talents, responsibility and autonomy. Positive feedback results in extra deployment and better performances. Leaders who give positive feedback are thought of as better leaders and employees will speak positively about the firm. Thus, the company can attract new talents.


How to give positive feedback? Team leaders mustn’t always give recognition for everyday work. Acknowledging something extra though is a good idea.

1. Be precise

Be sure to make clear what exactly you want to praise. A simple “well done” is meaningless. You could say: “I loved the way you structured your presentation. Your audience totally understood your story.”

2. Be personal

Adjust your acknowledgement to the performance and the talents of the employee. Extra big efforts deserve extra positive feedback. Little pats on the back of course are also great, customized according to the performance.

3. Be authentic

The way you give positive feedback must be in line with who you are. You can’t pretend. Be sure to be credible and honest.

4. At the right moment

Somebody does something extraordinary, give that person acknowledgement right away. Don’t wait till next week or even worse, until the next performance review.

5. In the correct context

Be sure to compliment the other in a professional context. Why is it so great that his or her job was executed that well at this moment? Did your employee perhaps bring in a new customer? Did the work he or she did contribute to a specific project?

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