This article is an excerpt from Insight’s leadership playbook. Offer an employee some praise via company announcement to publicly thank them for their work. Also, praise via company announcement demonstrates the type of accomplishments you consider to be worthy of praise, encouraging the entire team to focus on the types of contributions you deem most important.

Overview

Stand up in front of your team and recognize the incredible efforts of a team member. Explain the challenges they faced, their process, the result, and the value their work provided to the company, clients, and/or team.

Why We Praise via Company Announcement

Being recognized by peers and leadership can be very meaningful to some people. The validation that comes from acknowledgement of one’s accomplishments can be very satisfying. Public recognition is meaningful because: it recognizes that the person’s work was valued by others; the team member is being acknowledged by a company leader as having made a positive impact; and the team member’s peers will likely follow on with acknowledgements of—or questions about—his great work. One positive statement of recognition from you can turn that person’s entire day into a stream of positive interactions with their peers. The good vibes may even extend after work hours as the team member tells their friends and family.

Recognition is part of a positive feedback loop. You are signaling to an employee that their work was noteworthy. They exceeded your expectations and you have expressed a sincere appreciation for what they have done. Your public praise for their good work sets expectations for the rest of the team: they will see the caliber of work that is noteworthy in the opinion of company leadership. Praise therefore reinforces desirable behaviors, as people will want their own moment of fame for good work and the person you recognized will strive to get their next public acknowledgement.

How We Praise Employees via Company Announcement

Consider the person you are praising

Not everyone is comfortable receiving recognition or praise, whether in public or in private. Some are easily embarrassed or feel stress or anxiety when they are the target of a room’s attention. Ask yourself if you’ve seen this person’s reaction to public acknowledgement in the past before standing them up in front of the company.

Inform the team member of what you’re doing

When you ask the person being praised to stand up or come to the front of the room, they may feel uncomfortable if they don’t know what is coming. Prepare them for what you intend to do if you believe they may be unaware of the significance of their work. Simply informing them that you’d like to tell everyone about their good work during an all-hands meeting is sufficient to set reasonable expectations for the meeting.

Describe the challenges the team member faced

Were there obstacles in the way of doing good work? Difficult-to-meet deadlines, a lack of adequate resources to do the job, or some other surprise encountered by the team member along their way? Outline why this person’s work stood out to you. If the work was easy, it’s probably not worthy of a company announcement. You are building a narrative, and every story needs a good antagonist.

Describe the positive aspects of the team member’s approach to their work

What specific approaches, behaviors, tools, or innovative ideas were exhibited in their work? Something that doesn’t feel novel or interesting to the praised team member may be meaningful to others. For instance, if they slightly adjusted a process or used an unexpected tool to produce better results, it’s worth mentioning. If they simply built up experience through practicing their craft and focusing on improving a specific skill that contributed to their great work, mention that. While your immediate goal is to praise the person who did great work, any company announcement you make will indicate to the team what you expect and what you value. This can be a great opportunity to remind people that you value ongoing training, diligence, attention to detail, innovating thinking, or any other attributes that contributed to the team member’s excellent work.

Describe the positive outcomes of their good work

Once you explain how the good work occurred, list a few reasons why the work was good. What were the positive results you or others witnessed after the work was done? Did a process get streamlined, a new service offering defined that can be sold by your sales team, or a struggling employee received meaningful help from the praised team member? Whatever the results that you or others have noticed, share them with the team to reinforce why you felt the good news was worth sharing.

Describe the overall value of their good work

Finally, describe the overarching goal achieved or positive impact effected on the company, your team, or your clients. Whose job or life or product is better in some way because of the good work this team member has done? If you’re working in healthcare, did they directly or indirectly save lives? If you work in manufacturing, have they found a way to reduce workplace incidents? In other companies, have they saved money, generated new revenue, or made a job function more efficient? This statement of overall value can simply be a summation of the positive outcomes you just listed. A short sentence with a strong, positive adjective will be most memorable and help reinforce the importance of the team member’s work.

Expected Results

The team member you praise should feel an immense sense of pride in their work. Their peers and others in the company should walk away with a clear understanding of why the team member’s work was important. Over time, as you continue praising people for great work and otherwise recognizing their contributions, you should see a more motivated workforce that regularly has outstanding news to share.

You will also be seen as a bringer of good news. A leader with good news can unfortunately be more rare than it should be in many workplaces, leaving employees with a negative perception of company announcements from managers. You are negating any of those perceptions by consistently recognizing and praising good work, fostering a greater sense of mutual respect and satisfaction between yourself and your team.

Example

Jim is a marketing consultant who recently thrilled a client with work that exceeded the client’s expectations. The client, a national safety equipment brand, called his manager, Anne. The client tells Anne how Jim really went above and beyond for them, and that they expect their marketing campaign will raise awareness for new equipment that reduces workplace incidents on residential construction sites across the country. Anne realizes that Jim has not only satisfied a valuable customer, but has made a positive impact on many lives.

Anne: I’d like to take a moment to tell everyone about Jim’s most recent marketing campaign. He’s been working on a workplace hazards campaign that highlights the benefits of some new equipment designed to improve safety on residential construction sites. I just got a call from Jim’s client telling me what a great job he has done.

Anne: You see, our client knows that their products are important but aren’t necessarily exciting to potential customers. Everyone needs hard hats, for example, but there are plenty of companies that make hard hats and most of them look pretty similar. Jim heard our customer’s concern, knowing that they needed an appealing marketing campaign that would stand out from their competitors. So instead of focusing on the visual appearance of this new line of equipment, Jim decided to focus on the experience of people using it.

Anne: Where a typical ad might showcase the equipment on a mostly blank page and say things like “30% stronger” or “more resilient to wear than other brands,” Jim focused on the people who make it home after using his client’s safety equipment. He described how many workplace incidents are avoided each year by companies who use our client’s equipment. He showed a smiling family greeting their hard-working father at the front door. He built a campaign that made people feel informed, but more importantly, he made people feel safe.

Anne: This campaign, I’ve been told, will undoubtedly bolster our client’s brand perception with their target customers. They love Jim, they love his work, and by extension they now love all of us. Jim’s attention to detail and empathy for the consumers of these products has given us a client for life. Thank you, Jim, for thinking outside of the box to give our client a unique and emotionally compelling message to share with their customers.

Research

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