Kudos: A Sure Fire Skill for Employers

Your employee, Travis, was on fire yesterday. Out of his last twenty sales calls, fifteen walked away making a purchase. With plenty of reason to feel proud, Travis approaches you to provide an update. Expecting an enthusiastic response, Travis is taken aback by your casual remark, “nice … keep it up.” 

Noticing his accomplishment drew little attention from you, Travis feels less motivated going into the next day – his body language appears defeated. After three consecutive sales calls end with no purchase, Travis hangs up the phone before looking up at the ceiling and muttering to himself, “Why do I even bother?”


As noted from this scenario, failure to genuinely acknowledge employees for their hard work can impact their job performance. 


Consider this significant question: How do you provide kudos to employees in a way that is meaningful and magnifies their motivation?


It’s not rocket science, but it is also easy to misuse. Stick around to see how you can add employee recognition to your repertoire of leadership skills.


Conveying Kudos Through Your Words


Surveys conducted by Sirota Consulting reveal only 51% of workers are satisfied with the recognition they received after a job well done. This low percentage suggests that managers fail to show meaningful appreciation to their employees. When giving employee recognition, keep the following in mind:

1.  Giving Praise Ought to be Genuine  – in other words, recognize employees from the heart. When Travis puts on a spectacular job performance, that should excite you; you should want him to know it. If you are pleased with his work, letting him know boosts his morale and work performance. If leadership approached Travis and gave him genuine praise, Travis probably would have shown up more determined the next day.


 2. Tell Them Specifically What They did  vagueness undermines the genuine vibe. For example, instead of saying good job, you might say, “Wow! That task you finished is supposed to take two people. Not only did you complete it by yourself, you did it to perfection – excellent work!

Showing gratitude verbally only goes so far- action speaks louder. Continue reading to see how you can motivate employees with thankful gestures.


Providing Kudos With Your Gestures 


Studies show an employee’s job performance is greatly enhanced when they are motivated. Showing employees you recognize and value their hard work motivates them to keep up the good work.


As mentioned in my blog on Motivating Employees, an employer needs to be well received if he wants his employees to work their hardest. Taking time to give employees recognition will make you more likable. Below are a few tips to help provide employee acknowledgment with your gestures:

1. Keep a List of Their Interests and Surprise Them With Awards – as a leader, get to know the people you are leading. Over time, you will engage them in numerous conversations. During some of these chats, learn about your employees’ interests. The next time they impress you, you can add some creativity to the awards, which will make your gestures all the more meaningful.


2. Give Them More Responsibilities if the employee is entrusted with more responsibilities, it shows a great deal of faith from the employer. Travis will feel empowered to put his best foot forward. He will think to himself, “Wow, my boss trusts that I can handle all of this. I won’t let him down!”


3. Provide Training and Development Opportunities – not only should Travis’ work benefit you, but he should also gain from working for you. Go the extra mile by providing opportunities to improve his skills. For example, if you know Travis has an affinity for a task, consider paying for a class at a local community college to take his skills to the next level.


4. Praise Them ASAP (Preferably Immediately) – the longer you wait to give recognition after an accomplishment, the weaker the potency. A helpful habit to establish is praising the employee as soon as you find out. 


Providing kudos verbally and nonverbally to employees is useful for motivation … but why should you do all the acknowledging? Read further to see how you can establish a recognition giving culture so that your employees are receiving praise from one another.


Incorporating Kudos Into Your Work Culture


4 out of 5 employees say acknowledging someone else’s achievements makes them want to work harder. Eighty-five percent (85%) of millennials crave instant gratification and feed off giving recognition to others.


To incorporate peer recognition into your work culture, keep the following in mind:


1. Give Public Team Praise – when the team receives recognition it will promote the idea that everyone is in this together. This gesture will induce people to congratulate one another and see the value in their teamwork. You can also encourage leaders to recognize each other for their hard work.


2. Encourage Employees to get Creative – Getting creative shows you put some thought into the gesture. When employees encourage one another, it helps build strong working relationships and creates a sense of team unity.


3. Find a System for Giving Praise That Fits Your Company – as an example, whichever team yields the most sales will win a team lunch, company’s treat. Whichever system you establish, make sure to stay consistent with it.  


Keep these tips and tricks handy when encouraging recognition – be it peer-to-peer or from managers.


  • When acknowledging employees, be genuine and specific
  • Provide opportunities that offer training and development
  • Praise employees ASAP for their accomplishments
  • Maintain consistency in using the system

If you are unsure whether your company comprises unmotivated employees, Novareté offers a free culture assessment. Learn if your employees feel recognized and valued – for free!