Stop Telling Someone He is Doing a Good Work!

Now that I have your attention, let’s put it differently. By the way, it’s not to stop telling them that they’ve done a good job, rather to tell them exactly what they’ve done that you think is a good job. In this article, we will look at how to better recognize the work of employees to have lasting positive behaviors. Let’s start with the idea that you need to demonstrate value-added recognition in the eyes of your employees in order to motivate them  

I had bosses who told me: “Hey, it went well today, right? Thank you!”. I was happy to get this feedback… but I was wondering what exactly I did right that day. 

So, when I ask them what was well done, they answer vaguely without knowing exactly what. Although the feeling is positive, I wanted to reproduce some actions because it motivated me to know that it was recognized. 

When we give feedback to an employee, we often generalize, which does not necessarily lead to a repetition of the positive behaviors.  Feedback is the information (work-related) that allows the employee to adapt, change or retain their behaviors and/or attitudes. In fact, the author Fall (2015) tells us that recognition at work strengthens the confidence and motivation of employees, as long as it is through meaningful conversation. 

What if my bosses had said to me, “Hey, it went well today, didn’t it?  I liked how you handled the busy periods where there were a lot of customers.  You are well organized, calm and confident.  The customers seemed to like it. Thank you!”. With these specific observations, I knew where I stood. Even if I know I’m organized, knowing it has been noticed by my superiors motivates me to continue this way.

A successful feedback approach is the SAR model (Situation – Action – Results). The purpose of this type of feedback is to help leaders and supervisors visualize a model to provide positive information and encourage individuals to take more initiatives and complete their tasks effectively. Let’s see how the model works:   

1. A specific situation: “… how did you handle the busy moments.” 

Present a situation or task in which the employee played a role.  Choose a specific event and do not generally describe it. 

2. The action: “You are well organized, confident and calm.” 

Describe the actions taken by the employee and focus on them. Even if it was a team project, talk about the work of the employee in question, not the collective efforts.  Be sure to explain what he did, not what he should have done. 

3. The result: “All clients seemed to appreciate it.” 

The coach must present the results the employee achieved through their actions. What happened? How did it end? What did the employee accomplish with this action?  

Behavioral coaching is a type of feedback that effectively predicts an employee’s future performance based on an analysis of past performance in a similar situation. Positive feedback is simply a recognition of an employee’s good work to encourage them to continue on this path.  It should focus on a specific behavior and emphasize the benefits of adopting and maintaining such behavior. 

The next time you have to “pat in the back” one of your employees, make sure you are specific! This will encourage them to continue in the right direction. So, how are you going to show recognition to your collaborators today? 

Sources :  

Fall, Amar. « Reconnaissance au travail : validation d’une échelle de mesure dans le contexte des entreprises ». European Review of Applied Psychology, vol. 65, no 4, July 2015, p. 189‑203. ScienceDirect,  

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