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How to Compliment Office Staff

by Heidi Cardenas

Complimenting employees is a key part of letting them know you appreciate their efforts and ensuring they are invested in your company's success. Recognition takes various forms, from formal presentations to friendly feedback. There are many ways to compliment office staff and other employees, but the most effective compliments are timely, sincere and personalized.

Remember to Say Thank You

As a manager, you naturally expect your staff to do a good job. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't express your appreciation for a job well done. A simple "thank you" can go a long way toward keeping employees motivated. Thank them for staying late or coming in early to ensure projects are completed on time, for keeping calm during crises, for participating in company charitable events, and for taking on more work in the absence of a colleague. Make sure you are specific in your compliments. Don't just say, "Thanks for the good work." Instead say, "Thanks for the great job you did reconciling the general ledger so quickly. You really took control and helped us deliver the reports on time."

Know Your Employees

Knowing your employees’ personal interests, such as who is a Nascar fan or who likes Coach handbags, gives extra meaning to your compliments and creates an emotional bond. A verbal thank you and handshake in the monthly sales meeting for a salesman who landed a big account will make him feel good and let the company know of his achievement. But taking the time to give him tickets to his favorite rock band, in addition to a compliment, will add even more meaning. It shows not only that you recognize the achievement but that you also care about the person.

Don't Wait

The best compliments are timely. They should be given just after an employee completes a difficult task or accepts additional responsibility. Many recognition programs are standardized and take place at the same place and time each month or year, but complimenting an employee for a job well done when it happens is personal, more sincere and demonstrates a deeper level of involvement.

Link Compliments to Expectations

Compliments show employees you are attentive and caring, but they also reinforce desired performance, behaviors and values. When an employee exceeds the call volume quota, for example, or stays calm, friendly and polite with an angry customer, your compliment serves as guidance that she should strive to do these things on a regular basis. Use the compliment as a way to help employees learn the importance of good work. For example: “I see you caught that error in the order for Excel Industries before it went to shipping because you double-checked it before approving it for release. That’s why we have that process. Thank you for following it and for helping us keep our error-free guarantee." This type of compliment reinforces company policies, procedures and desired behaviors.

References

  • 1501 Ways to Reward Employees; Bob Nelson Ph.D.
  • Employee Motivation: It’s Not About the Money; Tiffany Dow

Resources

  • Perfect Phrases for Motivating and Rewarding Employees, Second Edition; Harriet Diamond and Linda Eve Diamond

About the Author

Heidi Cardenas specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small-business advice, home and garden and home improvement. Her professional background includes human resources and business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She has studied horticulture and business administration, and enjoys guest blogging for publications including Herb Companion Magazine, Natural Home Living Magazine, and Mother Earth Living.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images