What’s the best way to praise my top performers?

You know praising your employees is important. Gallup reported that the number one reason Americans leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated at work. Other studies have shown that regular recognition results in 31% lower turnover and 60% higher engagement. Make your employees truly feel appreciated:



1. No more saying “great work!”


An important part of praise is encouraging the rights sorts of behaviors. To do this effectively it’s important to be specific about what it was that you liked about their performance so it can then be emulated. No more saying “Great work!” Instead saying, “Your follow-ups and quick response time helped us land this new client,” provides much more information for your employee and others to follow.  


2. Challenge them


The best way to praise your top performers is by offering them new challenges which allow them to use their strengths or develop new skills. Offering stretch assignments or the opportunity to lead a project is a great way to demonstrate your confidence in their abilities. Each time you offer them a new opportunity explain which skills they will be developing and why you think they’re the right person to take on the assignment.


3. Teach them how to become future leaders


One mistake many managers make is that they focus most of their coaching on low performers. Don’t neglect your star employees because they’re doing well. Instead it’s never too early to start training new leaders. According to Deloitte’s 2016 study on millennials, only 24% saw leadership as one of their strongest skills upon graduation. Yet, 63% feel their leadership skills are not being fully developed in the workplace. As Generation X exits the workplace, companies may face a major management gap if they fail to develop their future leaders. What’s more, Deloitte reported that 71% of employees who were likely to leave their jobs in the next two years were unsatisfied with how their leadership skills were being developed.


4. Discuss their future goals

Top performers are more likely to stay with companies where managers take a genuine interest in helping them advance their career. Have a 1-on-1 with your star employees to discuss what their goals are for the future and how you can help them along the way.


This article is part of a management guide about how to become a better leader with feedback. 

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Manager’s Handbook: How will giving more feedback help my team?


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