Best Practices HHS Leadership

Supporting Employees Through Positive Affirmation

By Brian Weed, HHS CEO

Leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve systems, and sometimes it can feel like the to do list is never ending. With an extensive list of tasks to accomplish, it can be easy to focus on areas of improvement rather than acknowledge the great things your team is already doing. While taking time to discuss improvements is crucial, it’s also important to note all the positives happening every day. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in making employees feel good about their job and ensuring they feel appreciated in the workplace. When sharing comments or evaluations with employees, here is a method that will not only help you provide feedback for items that might need to be improved upon, but also will allow you to show your appreciation as well.

Utilize The Sandwich Method for Positive Feedback

One common method for providing feedback is the sandwich approach. In this method, you start by providing praise for what the individual is doing well, offer some critical feedback for what needs to be improved, and then end on a high note with more praise. Here’s an example of how it might look:

Hey Sarah, I just inspected the discharge clean you did earlier today. Great job with the room setup—everything was in precisely the right place and looked really nice!

One thing that I would love to see you work on is high dusting. I know that can be easy to forget since it’s out of sight, but please make sure that you’re getting those hard to reach areas with your duster.

You’ve been doing such a great job with your daily cleans and I really appreciate all of your hard work. Thank you!

I started by telling Sarah what she did well in the cleaning process, noted where she could work on improving, and closed by noting more positive feedback. This is a great method to try to let employees know that you appreciate their work and also help them understand how they can continue to improve. 

Take the Time to Appreciate a Job Well Done

Challenge yourself by taking it one step further and choose a day to identify only the positive things that you see at your organization. Take the time to go out of your way to give positive affirmations and recognition to those around you. For example, when you see another leader provide great coaching to an employee or have a positive interaction with organizational leadership, tell them. Or if you see an employee performing their job well, give them the kudos they deserve. 

Beyond just making someone feel good in the moment—which is worthwhile in its own regard—recognition can have powerful effects in the workplace. People who feel recognized and are proud of themselves take pride in their work. Studies show that recognition not only boosts individual employee engagement, but also increases productivity and loyalty to the company and can lead to higher retention. These are items that we all struggle with at times, and providing positive recognition is a simple way that we can all fight these negative trends. When everyone on the team feels proud and is confident in what they’re doing, they’ll put their best foot forward, and your organization will see powerful results. 

Positive reinforcement is important and valuable in the workplace, but of course there are also times when providing honest, sometimes difficult feedback is necessary. I’ll continue this conversation in my next blog post and share best practices on how to approach providing critical feedback when needed. Pairing these two practices together—continuous positive reinforcement and straightforward, honest feedback—will help ensure that your team knows what they are doing well and accepts responsibility for the areas where they need to continue to grow.