Positive Feedback in the Workplace: It’s More Important Than You Think


In the workplace, feedback is very important. But most forms of feedback that go around aren’t positive. For example, during evaluations, managers often focus more on employees’ areas of improvement. Managers provide constructive criticism to help employees improve themselves and avoid repeating mistakes. 

Sure, these forms of feedback might be helpful. But they’re not enough. Employees need to receive positive feedback as well, such as praise and recognition.

Unfortunately, not all managers provide positive feedback to their team members. For instance, when an employee does a good job in accomplishing a difficult task, the manager might not think it deserves to be recognized. They may shrug it off as it’s part of the employee’s responsibility.

In a time when most employees are struggling to work, positive feedback has become more important than ever. The most obvious advantage of positive feedback is increasing employee morale. But there are other advantages as well that prove the need for managers to give positive feedback as often as possible.

Ways to Relay Positive Feedback

There are many ways to reward employees for their hard work. The most common form of reward is something tangible, such as gift vouchers. Some companies might also grant unconventional requests for employees. For example, the company might grant an employee’s request to acquire a unique desk that matches their office’s aesthetic.

But a powerful way to reward employees and make them feel appreciated is by giving them positive feedback:

  • One-on-one Verbal Feedback. A manager might approach an employee at their workstation and verbally commend them. The manager might also provide verbal feedback during a one-on-one interview.
  • Public Recognition. Positive feedback can also be relayed publicly, such as in a town hall meeting or a team meeting. 
  • Written Form. A manager can also opt to send positive feedback to an employee through chat messaging or email. This is convenient and less time-consuming. The employee also gets hard evidence of this feedback that they can revisit when they need motivation. 

Importance of Positive Feedback 

Promotes Good Work Ethic

Positive feedback can promote good work standards and encourage everyone else to adhere to them. For example, say a manager publicly commended an employee for executing tasks outside their job description to accomplish a task. Because of this recognition, that employee will be more likely to go the extra mile again in the future.

If provided in front of others, positive feedback becomes a lesson for other employees. They will be encouraged to do the same and always do their best.

Improves Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is one of the factors of employee retention. When employees are disengaged, they’re more likely to lose interest in their jobs and find better opportunities elsewhere. 

Positive feedback can help in keeping employees enthusiastic about their jobs. And when employees become engaged, other good things occur. For example, a high level of employee engagement increases productivity by 22 percent. Engagement also promotes employee retention.

Saves Money

Providing positive feedback to employees can indirectly help a company save money. A 2017 report stated that losing an employee can cost a company around 33 percent of that employee’s salary to hire a replacement. Not to mention, this process takes a long time, which means lost productivity.

If managers express their appreciation of their employees’ hard work, employees build loyalty to their employers. Employees will realize that their managers do care for them and recognize their hard work. As a result, these employees will stay in the company.

Improves Reputation

Reputation is important in business. A company with a positive image is more likely to attract skilled and competent employees. Also, consumers are more supportive of companies with a good reputation.

Thus, managers need to provide positive feedback to employees. In turn, the employees may spread the word about this with their family, friends, and other acquaintances. At this point, it’s only a matter of time until job seekers and consumers hear the news through the grapevine.

Next Steps

Not all situations need feedback. For example, if managers provide positive feedback for mundane tasks, such as replying to emails, they may sound condescending or insincere. But some situations where positive feedback will be helpful include the following:

  • Succeeding in a project where employees overcame various barriers
  • Taking additional tasks outside one’s role 
  • Helping a coworker in an unexpected situation
  • Accomplishing new responsibilities

There are many other situations where praise and recognition will help empower employees. At the end of the day, it’s up to the manager to assess in which situations they need to provide positive feedback.