How to Commend an Employee

by Oubria Tronshaw

Regularly recognizing your workers' efforts and accomplishments is integral to boosting employee morale. Don't mix your praise with critical feedback, however, or your commendation won't seem genuine. According to a 2011 CBS News article, the best bosses let compliments stand on their own and save constructive comments for later.

Right Away

Acknowledge your employees immediately after they do something commendable to maximize the effectiveness of your appreciation. According to, the longer you wait, the less your commendation will mean.

When Deserved

If you walk around work commending all your employees all the time, your praise will pack a less potent punch. Don’t be the boss that cried, “Great job.” If you want your compliments to mean something, only dispense praise when employees truly deserve it.


When recommending employees, focus on exactly what they’ve done to get your attention rather than giving a general summation of their character. Instead of generic comments like “I’m commending you for being such a wonderful person” or “I appreciate your positive influence,” get into specifics. Say, “I want to commend you for taking charge on that research project” or “Thank you for consistently treating customers with respect and appreciation.”


What makes one employee feel appreciated might not work for another. Some employees might enjoy public appreciation, while others may prefer to receive accolades in private. If you’re giving gifts, make sure to give something your employee will actually use. Don’t give a gift certificate for a car wash and detail to the employee who rides the bus.

Spread It Around

Although you might have exceptional workers who really deserve constant recognition, singling them out constantly can cause a tense work environment. Pay close attention to the efforts and successes of every member of your team so you’ll have good reason to spread the praise around.

About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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