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Top 10 Ways to Give Compliments on the Job

March 1 is World Compliment Day. It was started in 2003 by Hans Poortvliet, the Netherlands managing director of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and a Certified Recognition Professional. His mission was to create “the most positive day in the world.” 

Through World Compliment Day, Poortvliet reminds us how motivating a compliment can be, yet we don't give compliments as often as we should. "The deepest human need is the craving to be appreciated" said William James, the 17th century American psychologist. Below are the top 10 ways you can demonstrate appreciation for your employees and associates through compliments.

1. Compliment communication. While it may be inappropriate to comment on a person’s physical appearance, you can certainly compliment the person’s conduct and performance in a business environment or meeting. Take the time to say, "Your presentation really put our company in the spotlight" or "I was impressed by your clarity and speed."

2. Compliment change. If you recommended that an employee speak up more in meetings or work better with staff, then compliment the person when he or she does so that the effort is being seen and making a difference.

3. Compliment efficiency. Even when it's a person’s job to find better ways to do things, the execution should be complimented. Point out your appreciation for the faster, improved, and well done processes.

4. Compliment new ideas. No company can grow on finite knowledge. When an idea is presented—whether it’s an initiative, a process, or a solution—make sure you compliment the person for proposing it. Even if ideas are not implemented, complimenting staff for coming up with them increases morale.

5. Compliment loyalty. When your team shows up on a snow day, let them know how much their dedication means to the company. When your employee turns down an offer to work for a competitor because her heart is with your firm, let her know how much it mattered.

6. Compliment initiative. Whether an employee offers to hand-deliver a package to avoid a customer delay, calls back a customer to solve a problem, or presents a fantastic solution to a huge barrier, compliment him for sharing his drive and knowledge and for wanting to make a difference in the company’s success.

7. Compliment sensitivity. When your employees offer solace and comfort to each other for personal or professional reasons, let them know how impressed you are with their camaraderie and concern for each other.

8. Compliment struggles. When employees are working their tails off to solve a problem, compliment their perseverance, determination, and commitment. Don't let hard work even from unresolved situations go unnoticed.

9. Compliment smiles. When you see happy and content employees in the corridors or at their desks, let them know how good it feels to you. The compliment generates enthusiasm that, in turn, drives productivity.

10. Compliment results. Make sure that your company's recognition and reward programs are in place, functioning, and well utilized. And after any award ceremony, offer your personal compliments as those will have their own effect on employees.

For more information on World Compliment Day, visit www.worldcomplimentday.com

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Recognition Way and president of the Recognition Management Institute, www.realrecognition.com, which consults companies on improving employee motivation that leads to increased productivity and profit. He can be reached at [email protected] Also, tune in every Tuesday to his radio show, Real Recognition Radio