Recognizing a job well done or an “over the top” achievement is always welcomed by your people. Research has shown that praise and recognition are as important and, in some instances, more important than money.

For example, if you received a note written to you from your boss, you have likely kept that the longest in your drawer; in fact, you may still have it. Why is that?

Because praise works for everyone, there is no such thing as too much praise (as long as it’s sincere). I have learned that regardless of individual preferences, virtually all employees want to hear what great work they have done. By the way, they wouldn’t mind hearing it over again. It’s like a sweet melody to the heartstrings.

I like this quote from Rosabeth Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School, “Compensation is a right; recognition is a gift.”

Below are some reminders for praising your people, taking individual preferences into account:

  • Private: go directly to them and give it verbally.
  • Public: in the presence of peers, family members, and the boss.
  • Spontaneously: catch people doing something right and thank them then and there. If possible, personally, or a voicemail or email (Thanks to Ken Blanchard, author of the One Minute Manager).
  • Specifically: no generic, please. Praise specifically what the action was and why it is worth recognizing and praising.
  • In writing: send a card, memo, or letter (preferably handwritten; I promise they’ll keep it).

Here’s something to remember, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use anymore”—Gladys Bronwyn Stern.