• Richard

    This just is not true. Employees are sick to death of gimmicky, motivational programs like this. “Good job!! Thank you!!” Lay on the hype!! Employees can see through this, especially when you are praising pretty average performance. If you really want to motivate employees, you need to hire extremely successful, principled, brainy, hardworking, non-greedy leadership who model all these things without patting themselves on the back and expect the highest level of performance from everyone.

    • Sunshine

      I agree with Richard. “Good job!! Thank you!!” is helpful sometimes. But the main things is the leaders/managers need to lead with integrity and respect.

  • Richard Still

    It depends on what kind of culture your employees want to work in. If they WANT to work in a family/clan culture where everyone is valued and appreciated and eats the birthday cake, then your advice is correct. But it is not correct in every instance, some people want to work in a competitive environment where winning is praised, some want to work in unstructured adhocracies, some people want to work in organizations with clear rules and responsibilities. I think before you start putting ‘ataboy’ post-it notes on everyone’s monitor, take the time to find out what KIND of company they want to work in.

    • TheSmileCeo

      This is a great point, but coming from a background in professional sports their can be a culture of competition and praise in the same place. One persons “wins” do not have to come at the expense of another’s. I do agree that the most important step is to measure accurately first and understand the culture that is desired and what that actually sounds and feels like to employees and executives and to then make the effort to support the development and maintenance of that desired culture.

  • TheSmileCeo

    This is our kind of article, we’re all about praise, and are placing a heavy emphasis on facilitating Peer 2 Peer recognition to increase the levels of positivity in the workplace and reduce the weight on managers to do all of the praising. @plasticity

  • kate

    Well written. I work for an organization that rarely praises. I started with the organization in a management roll and beganpraising my team–Whale Done by Ken Blanchard, anyone??–and the morale change was significant. I don’t have ro get praise to do a good job, but it sure makes a differece in morale…an important difference. Good article. Now if only I could convince the leadership above me to read and follow these suggestions, they’d have a happier head office and overall happier and more effective team.

  • Jennifer Scott

    Great post, and solid tips towards improving motivation in the workplace. I caution that employers really want to focus on encouragement, not on “praise”. Being specific and genuine will help that. “Great job!” is not nearly as effective as “It is really apparent that you worked very hard on that project and the customer really appreciates it. You must be very proud of yourself.” Encouragement fosters self-confidence, invites creativity and develops intrinsic motivation, vs. true praise which fosters a dependence on someone else telling you that you did a good job.

  • Barbara

    I notice that the women here say one thing, and 2 of the 3 men say another. I’ll go with Jennifer, Kate and Smile CEO. Do we need to factor in gender issues here? I see the other male respondents are rather scornful of praise, characterizing it as “ataboy post-it notes” and “birthday cake”. These responses make me shudder. I know very few women who respond positively to a highly competitive or authoritarian work environment, or one where good performance is expected but backpatting is not the norm. Perhaps in addition to finding out what kind of workplace employees want, it might be good to check what sex they are.