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Staff retention - compliments

Published over 6 years ago by Elkie Holland

[Image credit]

As a manager you are responsible for the smooth running of company affairs. You know that this takes the effort of every person who reports to you. 

When an employee has brought a big project in on-time and on- budget you may want to express your gratitude in a personal way that shows total understanding and appreciation. 

You may want to provide a compliment that will motivate him/her, as well as to thank them for the work that they have already achieved. 

Here’s how to make your compliments reach their heart, not just their head, to impart a positive affirmation that will make them feel that you really understand and care. 

There are three parts to a successful compliment, namely: the Reason, the Feeling and the Result. Putting these parts together will send a message to your employee that will lift their spirits and send their ego flying! 

The Reason

To give a successful compliment you need to identify what the other person did that encouraged you. Why do you want to give the compliment? What did your employee do to warrant it? 

You need to pinpoint the reason why you want to give them a compliment so that your employee can understand why you are giving it. 

Describe the project that they were working on. Don’t use only a single sentence – provide at least three sentences to describe your employee’s involvement with the project. 

When you see exceptional work performance there is reason to provide a compliment that imparts meaning, so go into as much detail as possible about the project itself. 

The Feeling

How did you feel when your employee completed the project and produced a result that was much higher than expected? 

When a compliment is given that seems to have no just cause, it appears to be superficial. Terms like “Wow” or “Fantastic” are loud expressions suitable to be used at baseball or basketball matches and won’t suffice to touch the heart of an employee. 

You will need to put your own emotions into words – and for some of us, this can be close to impossible. Here are some emotive words that you can use to help describe how you may be feeling: grateful, excited, surprised, happy, pleasant, relaxed, peaceful, thrilled, tickled pink, joyful, elated, ecstatic, pleased, thankful, relieved, overjoyed, glad. 

Disclosing your feelings or emotions to an employee produces communication at an emotional level, bypassing the intellect. This is a deeper level of communication that reaches for the heart, not just the head. 

Since most work relationships are driven by position (e.g. manager to employee), you may find this part of the message more difficult to deliver than expected. However this is where you are able to produce the greatest gains in manager-employee relations. 

The Result

In order to create a compliment that reaches the heart, you need to be able to tell an employee how their actions have helped out the business. Be as factual about this as possible. You will need to provide some visible figures that represent the percentages gained as a result of their work. 

For example, did it save the company money or eliminate expense? Did the project have any unforeseen problems that were easily solved by the employee? Why are things different because of their work? 

This is part three of the message and provides a meaningful basis for awarding your employee a compliment that they deserve. 

Putting it all together

Here is the formula for producing a great compliment that touches the heart: 


With a little practice this formula provides you the ability to land a meaningful compliment into the heart of your employee that says quite strongly, “Well done!” 

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