This employee retention speaker and employee retention author is a huge believer in praise…when someone exceeds expectations. Praise should not be doled out for every little thing that a person does. Praise is different than appreciation which should be given out for things a person does that are done in the normal course of doing a good job. It’s takes the form of saying things like “nice job,” “looks good,” or even “I appreciate that.” When someone exceeds expectations, you want to make a bigger deal out of it and tie it into how what they did REALLY made a difference. The problem we have is that when someone exceeds expectations and we give out the praise, we often follow it by using the two great erasers… “if” and “but.”
When we do this great job of praising someone and then say “but” it wipes out everything that was said prior and the only thing that the person hears is everything after the “but.” What you have just done is take what should be an incredible positive and powerful moment and turned it into a real negative. This employee retention trainer sees this happen all the time when leaders give out praise. I tell them…give out the praise and then SHUT UP! Hard as it is to do, never add the “if” or the “but” because all it will do is really anger the person you are trying to praise.
I believe that the reason we use the great erasers is because we are now so big on continuous improvement. There is nothing wrong with continuous improvement. It just has to take place in a different time and place…not right after someone has just hit it out of the park and you have praised them. Most people are always trying to get better and know they have to continuously improve but using the great erasers right after praise hurts your continuous improvement because the person will be so PO’d that they will not be thinking continuous improvement. I won’t state the adjectives they will be thinking!
When someone hits it out of the park and exceeds expectations it’s critical to bite your tongue and let the person bask in the glory of their accomplishment. You can deal with what could have been improved in due course. This employee recruitment speaker has learned over the years not to taint something this significant because all you do is unconsciously disrespect that person by doing so. That isn’t consistent with giving your employees C.R.A.P….Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise and you always want to be giving your employees C.R.A.P.! Why? Because C.R.A.P. Works!