According to an American study, 37% of managers admit feeling uncomfortable or unable to give their employees feedback. Yet this feedback is essential.
Feedback helps employees grow, learn and develop. If providing feedback sounds challenging in general, why not start by giving your employees more positive feedback?
To help you find the right words and genuinely help your employees thrive and progress, here are 18 examples drawn from different contexts to inspire you.
1. Employee having great collaboration with their co-workers
Wiliam, a waiter with several years of experience at your restaurant, has noticed that one of the new employees hired for the busy season is struggling with managing their section. He offers to help the new employee bring a few dishes to tables in order to lighten their load.
“Thank you, William, for helping the new employee during today’s busy lunch. I really appreciated your initiative. It clearly demonstrates your leadership and team spirit.”
💡 Put your feedback in context and make it more impactful by explaining why you’re taking the time to thank your employee.
2. Employee agreeing to work overtime
You notice that Mary often stays later than her scheduled shift to help her co-workers solve problems when there are many customers in the store. In fact, she’s often the last to leave at closing time, making sure everything’s been done right.
“I’ve noticed that you don’t hesitate to stay longer when your co-workers need help, and I really appreciate that. It makes a big difference to the team.
Do you think I should adjust the schedule accordingly and extend the weekend shifts so we don’t end up short-staffed too often? This way, you won’t always be the one who finishes last, and we could better respect your desired number of weekly work hours.”
💡 Ask your employees for their input in order to improve your staff management practices. Don’t hesitate to regularly send out anonymous questionnaires to be able to take action more quickly.
3. Employee agreeing to replace a co-worker
One of your employees has fallen ill and won’t be able to make their shift tomorrow. So you send all your employees a notification using your scheduling software to find a replacement. Amanda is the only available employee, but this means she’ll have to work overtime this week. Since no one else can replace the employee, you check if she agrees, and assign her the shift.
“Thank you, Amanda, for offering to take that shift tomorrow. I know this means you’ll have to work overtime, and I really appreciate it. If you ever need an extra day off next week to rest, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ll be happy to cover one of your shifts.”
💡 Demonstrate your appreciation of your employees’ efforts by pitching in when necessary.
4. Employee doing impeccable work
You hired Kathy just 2 months ago. She quickly integrated into the team, and already knows the routines of almost all the residents at the retirement home. Her work is impeccable and she is already 100% independent in all her tasks.
“I just wanted to tell you what an exemplary employee you are. You take your time with each resident and always treat them with the utmost respect, even when you’re in a hurry. You’re really making a difference in their lives. Thank you so much for your great work.”
💡 Demonstrating recognition with positive feedback helps build employee loyalty.
5. Employee taking initiative
Simon noticed that the department’s new employees sometimes seemed unsure of what to do when there were fewer customers in the store. So, he decided to update the task list and explained it to the newcomers in detail, so that they could become more independent.
“I noticed you helping to train the new employees the other day without anyone asking you to do so. Thank you very much for your help. If it’s alright with you, I’ll add your list to the online training platform. If you have any other ideas for improving new employee onboarding, we can arrange a meeting so that you can tell me about them.”
💡 Leverage positive feedback to encourage your employees to take initiative. If you point out the good things your employees do, they’ll be more likely to repeat these behaviors.
6. Employee troubleshooting a problem
A customer recently called your call centre for help with an online transaction. Charles answered the call but was unable to find a solution for the customer. So Martha took over and eventually found and fixed the problem. She also managed to make the customer happy in spite of their frustration.
“The way you handled that customer issue the other day was outstanding. You prevented the company from losing an important sale and kept a positive attitude throughout. What’s more, you did some great teamwork with Charles.”
💡 Offer more positive feedback to boost employee motivation and confidence.
7. Two employees settling an argument on their own
Two employees find it extremely difficult to work together, and this makes for a tense working atmosphere. You’ve already talked to them separately and asked them to make an effort to resolve their conflict. After a few days, they find a mutually agreed way of working together.
“Thank you for finding a solution on your own. I know it can be difficult to work with people who are very different from us. You’ve shown great maturity, and your efforts have made the working environment much more pleasant.”
💡 Follow up with your employees to highlight their achievements.
8. Employee achieving their goals
Julie set herself some ambitious goals at her last performance evaluation. You suggested she tamp them down to make them more realistic, but she was certain she could achieve them. In the end, she was right and even exceeded all her targets.
“I’m really proud of all the work you’ve done since your last evaluation. Not only did you achieve your goals, you went above and beyond. You’ve shown tremendous determination.
I’d love it if we could spend some time together looking at how the company could help you develop your skills and take your career to the next level.”
💡 Enhance your positive feedback by also discussing career development with your most promising employees to boost their commitment and motivation.
9. Employees quickly adapting to change
You’ve recently changed the POS system for your business and your employees have had to get the hang of the new system. The change took place very quickly and you didn’t offer as much training as you would have liked. Yet your employees are adapting to the new system without a hitch.
“I know that the system change happened quickly and that it was demanding for you. So I wanted to acknowledge how quickly you learned and mastered the new system. The transition went really smoothly thanks to all your hard work.”
💡 Don’t hesitate to give positive feedback to your entire team when the situation calls for it.
10. Employee exceeding expectations
You recently asked one of your employees to help you update the customer records at your pharmacy. He took the time to call a dozen or so customers while continuing to serve customers in-store. He even put together a tracking document to make sure the whole database was done, and created a working structure involving the rest of the team in order to complete the task as quickly as possible. This has saved you an enormous amount of time and stress.
“I’m impressed with your work updating customer records. I never expected you to help me this much. Thank you so much for taking the lead on this one—it saved me a lot of work and stress.”
💡 Highlight your employees’ achievements at every opportunity to show that you recognize their contribution to the company.
11. Employee developing new skills
Danny shared with you that he would like to fast-track his career and move into a management role within the next 2 years. So you advised him to take some management courses and read a few books to expand his knowledge. He tells you that he has taken your advice and has even signed up for night classes to keep learning and developing.
“I’m really proud of your effort. You’re definitely on the right path to developing your skills and reaching your goals. If you ever have any questions or need advice, you can always come see me.”
💡 Be there to help your employees and give them helpful advice to enable them to develop their skills.
12. Employee setting boundaries
An employee writes to tell you about challenges facing his family. He’s worried about the impact this could have on his work, and would prefer to give you a heads up.
“Thank you for your being so frank and open. I understand how difficult and delicate this situation can be. Please know that you have access to help through the company’s insurance. I took advantage of it last year and it was really worth it. If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to contact me.”
💡 Show empathy when your employees are going through a rough patch.
13. Employee motivating her colleagues
Sandy brought homemade cookies for the whole team this morning. She knew it was going to be a long day at the pharmacy. She remained cheerful throughout her shift, encouraging and helping her colleagues whenever she could.
“I wanted to tell you what a huge difference your attitude made today. Your smile was contagious and you brightened the day for the entire team.”
💡 Give specific feedback so that your employees know exactly what they’ve done right.
14. Employee suggesting a new idea
Erika comes to you before the evening meal service to share an idea. She has come up with a solution to make the service more efficient for parties of more than 10 and would like to try it out this evening. You green-light her suggestion. The night is going much better than usual.
“Thank you so much for sharing your idea with me, Erika. I think this new way of doing things is better than what we were doing before. If you have any other ideas for improving our work and making things easier, don’t hesitate to let me know.
If you’re up for it, I’d like you to be the one to introduce this new way of doing things to the rest of the team, since it was your idea.”
💡 Encourage your employees to share their ideas, and give them the credit they deserve.
15. Employee making strides
You met with Laura a month ago because her performance wasn’t up to your expectations. After discussing it with her, you established several things to do to help her improve. You decide to have a follow-up meeting with her.
“I wanted to meet with you to tell you that I’ve noticed several improvements since our last discussion. Your attitude toward your colleagues has greatly improved and you seem to be fitting in better with the team. This is also reflected in the service you offer your customers. Your hard work is paying off.”
💡 Don’t forget to use positive reinforcement with your employees. In the right situation, positive feedback can go a long way.
16. Employee needing reassurance
A customer was particularly nasty to one of your employees, calling him incompetent. You witnessed the whole episode and your employee did nothing wrong. He comes to you tearfully when the customer asks to speak to the manager.
“I just saw what happened. I wanted to make sure you know that you’re an excellent employee and that you’re very competent. The customer’s behavior is unacceptable, and I’ll take it from here. You can go take a break if you’d like to take a few minutes to relax and recover.”
💡 Demonstrate your belief in your employees’ abilities when they doubt themselves, to boost their self-confidence.
17. Employee always on time and present at work
Jack has never been late for work since joining the company 12 months ago. He hasn’t missed a single day of work.
“I wanted to acknowledge how diligent you’ve been at work. You’re never late and you’re never absent. Your work ethic and punctuality make you a very reliable employee.
That being said, I wanted to make sure you’re aware that you’re entitled to 2 sick days per year. If you’re ever ill, don’t hesitate to take these days off to rest.”
💡 Always put your employees’ well-being first.
18. Receiving glowing comments about an employee’s work
A customer left a Google review about the quality of the service he received during his stay at your hotel. He also praised one of your employees for his helpful advice on activities to do.
“A customer wrote to tell us how great your service was. He was impressed by your kindness and really appreciated the time you took to advise them. Thank you for always offering personalized service—you truly embody our company’s values. I’ll post the message on the bulletin board in the staff room for the whole team to see.”
💡 Don’t hesitate to let your team know about the good work an employee did. Some staff management software packages can even help facilitate employee recognition.