How to Give Kudos at Work

Coworkers talking in office.
Coworkers talking in office. (Image: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Recognizing employees for a job well done is critical to keeping them happy and productive. Feedback of this type is necessary in order for employees to feel appreciated. It also reinforces an understanding within the entire workplace on what type of character is valued, because kudos given the right way showcase characteristics and values that the employee's action demonstrates, according to a 2012 article from "Fortune" on the best ways to give thanks at work.

Saying a Word of Thanks

Whether you choose to give kudos to employees with a simple word of "Thank you!" or write a personalized thank-you note, explain why you're appreciative or proud. For instance, an employee working past her scheduled work hours to help in a crisis when she did not have to should not simply get a kudos statement of, "Thank you for staying late." Say exactly what you value in her character for the actions she took. For example, "I value your dedication and dependability in the face of our crisis."

Choosing the Right Gift

A gift may be appreciated, but the meaning is lost without a personalized note. The note should say specifically what you are thankful for and how it contributed to a positive outcome. Also indicate you put some thought into choosing a gift the employee can use. For example, if you're giving him a gift card to a coffee shop, you may add the message, "To make up for the several hours of sleep you lost for working late, hope you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee today and the rest of the month."

Giving Recognition

Giving kudos at work isn't just about saying thank-you. The employee needs to be boosted to feel valued within the workplace by all and that means giving recognition where the higher-ups and fellow co-workers can see it. At the same time, if done improperly, public recognition can "cause competition or ill feelings among employees," advises an article from Snagajob on giving kudos where kudos are due. Publicly recognize your employee when it's clear she went above and beyond, and in giving the recognition, make it clear everyone has an equal chance at it, so the praise doesn't come across as favoritism.

Build Engagement

Kudos in the workplace have more meaning and value to the employee being recognized when the presentation gives co-workers an opportunity to participate and offer praise. In these instances, you aren't the only person acknowledging recognition should be given but a popular majority. One way to give kudos within the group is by starting regular employee meetings with shout-outs to those who deserve it and encouraging other employees to chime in. There should be engagement and camaraderie in the process.

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