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Compliments can be powerful. They breed respect, gratitude, trust and a sense of possibility.

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If you are skeptical, you are likely costing your company money.

Studies show individuals who receive regular recognition and praise:

  • Increase their individual productivity.
  • Increase engagement among their colleagues.
  • Are more likely to stay with their organization.
  • Receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
  • Have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job.

For every upside, there is the downside.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the #1 reason people leave their jobs is because they “do not feel appreciated.”
  • $11B lost annually due to employee turnover.
  • 71% of employees were “not engaged,” or “actively disengaged.”
  • 130 million people believe they work for a company that doesn’t care about them.
  • Employees who dislike their boss display significantly higher blood pressure increasing their risk of coronary heart disease by one-sixth and the risk of stroke by one-third.
  • Rampant negativity costs the U.S. economy between $250 and $300 billion every year in lost productivity alone. Adding workplace injury, illness, turnover, absences, and fraud, the cost could surpass $1 trillion per year, or nearly 10% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A Harvard study looked at Best Buy and found that a 0.1% increase in employee engagement drove $100,000 in operating income to the bottom line of each store per year. Out of all the elements that affect engagement, simple recognition was the single most important factor.

And this doesn’t just apply to your workplace. The power of a compliment can transform your family, too.

  • Studies shows that “husbands’ expression of appreciation for their wives are, by far, the strongest predictor of the wives’ sense of fairness and satisfaction with how housework and child care are divided in the home”.
  • Researchers have developed a consensus on 9 behaviors that characterize strong, healthy families. Three out of the nine are related to positive communication, encouragement and appreciation.

A genuine effort to increase compliments costs you nothing, yet has the power to change everything.

In this vein, I want to issue you a personal challenge.

March 1st is World Compliment Day. Compliments breed respect, gratitude, trust and a sense of possibility.  Your people are representatives of what you stand for. Ask yourself, ‘Do your people believe in their own ability to influence and improve the lives and businesses of those they serve?’

You can elevate their confidence, productivity and ability simply by engaging in a few acts of personal gratitude towards them.  On Wednesday the 1st, seek out at least 5 opportunities to recognize people doing good work. We encourage you to post the compliment on their social media feeds, in writing, or in a group forum as public recognition. Better yet, get your leadership team involved in the challenge as well.

The key to compliments boil down to four principles.

  • Be specific.
  • Be genuine.
  • Do it now.
  • Keep doing it.

Here are some examples.

If he made your job easier:  When you decided to take on completing the monthly sales report, you really helped give me more bandwidth so I could finish writing that important proposal. That proposal could mean a huge win for the company and you helped make that happen. Thank you.

If she helped you feel better about your work: Sharing your presentation with the group really inspired us and reminded us of our pride in this company. You really exemplified our core values today.

If he saved the company money: By implementing some of your great recommendations for XXX, you have allowed the company to save a significant amount of money in 4th quarter. Your efforts improved profitability and make us stronger.

If she made the company money: By bringing in that last client, you have increased revenue by 5% over our previous quarter. I could see the hard work and perseverance you put in to make that happen. Keep up the good work. I believe you will continue to see more successes like this one.

If he taught coworkers something valuable: You truly made an impact on our department when you stepped in to help Lisa finish her project on time and on budget. Collaboration is key to our culture and to our ability to stay competitive in the marketplace. Your efforts make a difference.

If she improved the workplace culture: I just want you to know how much we all enjoyed those homemade cookies. It makes a big difference in everyone’s day when someone shows they care and puts in extra effort to show it.

If he acted like an owner: Though it was tough to step back and realize one of your favorite vendors’ quality has been slipping, you realized that wasn’t the best thing for this company and sought out better alternatives. I know it was a tough job; well done.

If she exceeded expectations: You saw how challenged the team was to meet deadline, and yet you worked long hours to make it happen and with grace. Your efforts don’t go unnoticed and I am glad to have you on our team.

If he saved the day: When you saw that the deadline was approaching quickly, you immediately jumped in and took the initiative to lead and get the job done. Great job taking ownership and really putting yourself out there.

If she avoided a disaster: When we recently had that challenging situation, you didn’t blame anyone, make excuses or assume it was someone else’s responsibility. You moved ahead to find a solution and made the trade show happen. That’s the exact type of attitude that we value here at our company. You get results and you lead by example.

Or try out this template from Entrepreneur magazine:

I couldn’t be more impressed with how you _______ the [hell/heck] out of _______. Not only did you _______, but you _______. Beautiful.

Experts tell us that there are 3 key drivers to engagement:

  • The relationship an employee has with their direct manager
  • Their belief in senior leadership
  • Their company pride

Giving your employees a powerful platform for confidence, engagement and self-worth is a game changer for everyone.

Go start now and tell me how it went. I’d love to hear from you.

Share your story about giving a compliment or about the effects of not feeling appreciated. Or maybe you have tips on using compliments and appreciation in an org? Send me a message at and let me know how it goes!

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