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Employees want to feel like they matter.

Employees want to be recognized when they are doing well, and seek feedback on where they can improve. .

If you want to retain your best talent, it is crucial that you are able to communicate, give recognition, and provide constructive feedback.

Here are a few tips:

  1.  Go out of your way to look for the good.  Make an effort to find a presentation, email, or project that an employee is exceeding at, and articulate your positive feedback. The best way to increase and inspire positive behavior is to give it yourself.
  1. Be specific with your feedback. 
    1. For example, a brief “this looks good.” is simply lazy feedback. Instead, try this: “Sue, when you spoke with the team and had the hard conversation about getting the project complete on time and on budget, I was impressed with your leadership skills. You were able to conduct and complete that project flawlessly and with clear communication to your resources. I look forward to seeing you continue the same approach on future projects.” 
  1. Send a strong message.

Put your recognition in writing and copy others to not only give that person more positive visibility, but to also give a great example of positive work for others to learn from. For example, “Steve, you really made a difference to this team when you…”. This not only gives clear, positive feedback to Steve, but provides great examples of good work to the greater team.

  1. Increase your frequency and, when appropriate, be brief.
    1. Effective feedback doesn’t have to be lengthy.  It can be a quick…
    2. “You made my day because…”
    3. “We couldn’t have done it without your…”
    4. “I am so proud of your…”
    5. “You were right on the mark when you…” 

There’s no need for formality at all times – feedback can be a quick slack, email, or phone call. Keep in mind, while positive feedback can be delivered in many ways, it’s essential for you to use your best judgment on how it’s delivered.

If there is one takeaway for you to remember, it would be to be deliberate with your recognition. Here’s a great place to start: try to commit to a communication goal for yourself (e.g., find one positive action per week, per employee. Schedule a meeting with a new employee to clearly communicate your expectations so that there is no confusion, etc.). From great leadership comes great teamwork, execution, and camaraderie.