Being praised makes people feel good. Praise stimulates feelings of pride, pleasure and self-esteem. This happens because being praised triggers the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone in our brain. But even better, dopamine release contributes to innovative thinking and creative problem-solving at work.
“… employees who received regular praise were more productive …”
However those effects are short-lived and to have an enduring impact on employees’ performance, praise needs to be offered regularly. Surveys undertaken by the Gallup Organisation in 2004 of more than four million employees found that employees who received regular praise were more productive, engaged and more likely to remain with their employer. Those employees who believed they were not adequately recognised at work were three times more likely to report intentions of leaving their employer within the following year.
“high morale at work attributed to recognition by management …”
Another study by Gostick and Elton (2007) looked at motivational factors in more than 200,000 employees over a 10-year period found that 94.4% of the employees reporting the highest morale at work attributed this to recognition by management of employees’ efforts andachievements.
“results only applied if employees regarded the praise as genuine …”
Managers who offered praise and recognition were more respected and admired by their employees. Employees receiving such recognition of their efforts said they were more motivated to work harder and willing to go out of their way to help colleagues or support their employer.
However, the research also found these results only applied if employees regarded the praise as genuine. Employees were quick to recognise when praise was unearned. Unearned praise not only prevented employees from knowing when they need to improve, but reduced the impact when genuine praise was offered.
“being praised makes employees feel good about themselves and is likely to boost their performance …”
So the evidence supports the benefit of praising genuine efforts and achievements of employees. Being praised makes employees feel good about themselves and is likely to boost their performance. Praise provides that positive experience or ‘uplift’ that increases morale, motivation and engagement.
Start making it a habit to find a way to deliver genuine praise to the people you work with.