Ensuring that employees are getting the kinds of rewards and encouragement that they need can be a challenge. John F. Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” In my work conducting employee satisfaction surveys, people often tell me that one thing their manager could do better is to give them positive reinforcement. While not a term that I’d had familiarity with, I’ve been introduced to the importance of the “atta boy.” There is a universal appreciation for getting pats on the back, thanks and compliments.
Incorporating more positive feedback into your workplace can be easier said than done. Here are three surefire ways to boost positivity:
1. Just do it
Put positive feedback at the top of your to-do list. Make a point of offering thanks and praise, to your employees whenever you can. Start small and build on your success; challenge yourself to offer praise to at least three people each day and keep track. Make that goal bigger each week.
2. Build a culture of gratitude with your managers
Recognize that positivity starts at the top. Be a good role model and help your managers incorporate positive feedback into their interactions with employees. Offer ongoing coaching and encouragement to all managers and supervisors. Measure progress and success just as you would measure financial benchmarks. Each week ask your managers to share with you a sample of the positive feedback they gave their staff members. This builds accountability, informs you of the good work happening in each department, and helps reinforce the behavior.
3. Get everyone involved
Initiate a program for all staff to participate in. Repurpose an underutilized bulletin board in the employee break room as the “Kudos and Compliments board.” Add forms that staff members can post to offer thanks to each other for small things that make a big difference. Encourage everyone to get involved by sharing the sentiments in your employee newsletter. Offer drawings and small prizes for both givers and receivers of compliments.
Encouraging positive reinforcement, kindness and gratitude may offer the highest return on investment of any workplace initiative that you will introduce this year. Consider all the ways that you could reward your employees and the impact that the various rewards might have. Then go out and pat a couple of them on the back and tell them “atta boy!”