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The Impact of Positive Feedback

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Everyone likes to hear they are doing a good job. No matter if you’re a mechanic, a chef, or a teacher, receiving positive feedback increases moral and motivation. 

Charles Sujansky—CEO for KeyGroup, a consulting firm focused on leadership development and coaching—believes giving both positive affirmation and constructive criticism is essential for any business. 

Sujansky spoke with Ratchet and Wrench about why positive feedback is pivotal and gave steps every business owner can take in recognizing good work from employees. 

AS TOLD TO PAUL HODOWANIC

Set expectations.

Providing positive feedback is really a form of performance appraisal. A supervisor or manager giving positive reinforcement to an employee who’s done a good job or has gone above and beyond expectations. But to do that, expectations need to be established. 

Employees need to do what their job is, what they’re responsible for and how success is measured. If clear expectations aren’t set, how do they know if they’re doing a good job or not?

That should start from the first day, but continue past that day as well. When an employee is hired, they need to go through an onboarding process in which the manager sits down with them and goes over the job description. From there, goals should be established. We call that SMART goal setting:

Specific 
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-based

Set those goals within the first few weeks of employment. Or if you haven’t done this in the past, set up meetings with all your employees to establish them. Monitor them and make sure to recognize when they’ve achieved their goals. A good place to check-in with these is during an annual review meeting.

You want employees to do a good job and most employees want to do a good job. It’s about communicating your expectations for what the employee is supposed to do. That’s the bottom line. 

Make it timely.

An annual review meeting should be your starting point. But you shouldn’t wait until then to recognize good work. Positive recognition should be timely. If an employee hits a goal, or shows great customer service working with a tough customer, don’t wait for a formal setting. Show the employee you are paying attention to their work and recognize it as quickly as possible.
The longer you wait, the less weight it holds. Same thing goes for constructive criticism, correct behavior right away, don’t wait. 

Then after that, I’d also recommend doing it in front of the other employees. If you have daily or weekly meetings with your staff, segment off time to go through all the positives since the last meeting. When employees see their co-workers doing good work and getting recognition, it motivated them to work hard as well.

Verbal communication is just fine. 

Recognizing positive achievements doesn’t have to be a difficult and complicated process. The most effective and efficient way is through verbal affirmation.

You did that in less time than what was allotted. It looks great. We got good feedback from the customer. That was a really nice touch that you made sure the car was very clean on the outside and inside before delivering it to the employee. 

It makes the employee feel good about themselves and helps them understand what’s expected and how to do their job in a better way.

The bottom line is it increases morale, employees feel good about themselves, they become engaged and when they’re engaged they’re better performers. It just helps the business overall.

There are other ways to recognize positive achievements, such as bonuses. If the company has the resources to give them, it’s a good strategy and a good recruiting tool. However, a simple verbal affirmation will suffice in almost any scenario and it’s no extra money out of the pocket for business owners. 

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