When people are offered consistent, actionable feedback, they can gain better insight into their successes and opportunities for improvement. Positive feedback is especially important because it increases morale, encourages good work and helps provide a sense of purpose. In this article, we discuss the importance of positive feedback with 10 examples of positive feedback you can use for your next employee performance review. We’ll also discuss how to give positive feedback effectively for happier employees and a more productive work environment.
What is positive feedback?
Positive feedback is a form of evaluation that focuses on an employee's strengths, talents and accomplishments. When you provide positive feedback, you are telling your team members what they're doing correctly and should continue to do. Negative feedback is the opposite, as it focuses on what they did wrong or need to improve.
Positive feedback examples
Here are several common workplace scenarios you can use to provide positive feedback to employees:
- Example 1: Employee is working overtime
- Example 2: Employee is contributing to meetings
- Example 3: Employee is submitting high-quality work
- Example 4: Employee needs a boost in morale
- Example 5: Employee has new responsibilities
- Example 6: Employee finished a difficult assignment
- Example 7: Employee helps their coworker
- Example 8: Employee does additional tasks outside of their role
- Example 9: Employee handles a conflict well
Example 10: Employee meets their goals
In the sections below, we’ll offer specific examples of positive feedback you can give in each of these 10 scenarios.
Example 1: Employee is working overtime
To meet the client's needs, Sam has worked overtime. She does this with a positive attitude and understands it will benefit her team. Give her feedback that shows how much you appreciate her extra efforts.
Positive feedback you can give: "Thank you for putting in the extra effort during this busy time at work. I understand that staying late isn't easy, but the team truly appreciates it. You are a valuable member of our team, and your positive attitude has helped us all continue to feel motivated."
Example 2: Employee is contributing to meetings
During meetings, Tom has shared many new ideas and insights that are helpful for the team. Let him know how this is benefiting your team.
Positive feedback you can give: "Thank you for being prepared for our meetings, Tom! By coming to each meeting with well-researched and thought-out ideas, you're helping us move forward in our process. I look forward to our next meeting."
Example 3: Employee is submitting high-quality work
Ava finished all of her work on time and paid attention to the details. Make it clear she is meeting your company's expectations.
Positive feedback you can give: "Ava, your work looks great! It's clear that you care about your work and take the time to do it correctly. I especially liked that you asked the client about their design preferences before creating their website, and I'm excited to see what you do next."
Example 4: Employee needs a boost in morale
You can tell that Nathan has been lacking confidence lately. Tell him what he is good at and that you're here to make his work experience a positive one.
Positive feedback you can give: "Hey Nathan! You've been doing a great job lately. You're so talented at staying flexible on any project, which helps everyone on the team. You have grown so much in your role since starting here. Thank you for your hard work, and let me know if there is anything I can do to make working here better."
Example 5: Employee has new responsibilities
Devon recently got a promotion and is handling his new responsibilities well. Give feedback that lets him know he was the right choice for the position.
Positive feedback you can give: "Promoting you to lead graphic designer was the best choice for our company. I am glad to see you are challenging yourself and are open to more responsibilities. Management especially thought your strong attention to detail made you the right candidate for this role. All of your hard work has paid off and will continue to in the future."
Example 6: Employee finished a difficult assignment
Raquel has been struggling to finish a task she has never done before. Throughout this challenging process, she has maintained a positive attitude and continued to try her best. Let her know that you were confident she could handle the challenge and this will help her career growth.
Positive feedback you can give: "I'm really happy with your determination to finish this project. I know it wasn't easy, but I knew you could do it. Your helpful attitude makes it clear that you can continue to take on new challenges and grow with the company. Thank you for your extra effort."
Example 7: Employee helps their coworker
Jessie has been helping the new intern, Rico, with his training. He has been responsive to all of Rico's questions, helping him feel comfortable in his new role. You want to tell Jessie that he is helping both Rico and the entire team by being such a great leader.
Positive feedback you can give: "All the training you have done with Rico has been very helpful. You're giving him a great start to his internship. I have taken notice of your leadership skills and will keep this in mind for future projects."
Example 8: Employee does additional tasks outside of their role
After all her work is done, Morgan arranges events for her coworkers to attend. Everyone enjoys going to these events, which boosts company morale. Show Morgan how this extra work is appreciated and not overlooked.
Positive feedback you can give: "Hey Morgan, I noticed you've taken it upon yourself to organize team-building activities. You do a great job at this, and everyone has so much fun at your events. Please let me know if you need any help with any future events."
Example 9: Employee handles conflict well
You witnessed Lois resolve a conflict between two of her peers, Matt and Brandon, during a team meeting. Conflict resolution skills are extremely valuable in team working environments; let her know you appreciate her stepping in to help her two colleagues find a solution.
Positive feedback you can give: “Lois, you did a fantastic job managing the conflict that came up during this morning’s meeting. Conflict is inevitable, especially when we’re on deadline and people are stressed, but you knew how to make both sides feel heard. If it wasn’t for your kind and quick response, I think we’d still be dealing with it.”
Example 10: Employee exceeds their goals
You set an ambitious goal for Sean, but by the end of the quarter, he had exceeded it by 25 percent. Let him know his hard work didn’t go unnoticed.
Positive feedback you can give: “Sometimes I get so focused on the numbers that I don’t stop to celebrate the individual work that was put in to achieve it. Sean, for the past three months I’ve been able to rely on you hitting your goal out of the water. You set a great example for everyone on the team. Keep it up!”
FAQs about giving positive feedback
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions you might have in regards to providing positive feedback to your employees:
Why is positive feedback usually better than criticism?
Positive feedback is usually preferable because it makes others feel good about themselves, which leads to a more motivated and determined team. It also makes it clear what they are doing right and should continue to do. While criticism can be useful, make sure to provide it in a way that will help your team member and not hurt their feelings.
What should I do when writing positive feedback?
When writing positive feedback, you should make sure you're being specific about a team member's skills or contributions. Explain the impact they've had on your company, and make sure to express your gratitude.
When should I give employees positive feedback?
Give employees positive feedback when something they do helps the company, their coworkers and their career growth.
It's important to provide positive feedback when an employee does any of the following:
- Works overtime
- Contributes to meetings
- Has new responsibilities
- Helps a coworker
- Takes on additional tasks outside of their role
- Has finished a challenging project
Why is positive feedback important?
Though constructive criticism is important to utilize sometimes, providing positive feedback is often more beneficial. It can help your team feel motivated and engaged in their work. It also helps them understand your company's standards.
Too much criticism can decrease morale and make team members feel self-conscious about their ability to fulfill their roles. With the right mix of positive feedback and constructive criticism, they can instead feel proud of their accomplishments while understanding what skills they need to develop.
Tips for giving positive feedback
It's important to provide thoughtful positive feedback to your employees. Most people want in-depth evaluations instead of simple praise. They want to know why it is good, what is working and what skills they excel at.
Here are a few things to consider when writing positive feedback:
- Make it specific. If your positive feedback is vague, they won't know which of their skills are good and which ones they need to improve. Tell them specifically what they've been doing well and what you liked about it.
- Give it in a timely manner. If you notice they're doing something well, say something right away. If you wait too long, they may decide to do the project in a different way. Immediate positive feedback can boost their morale and motivation, helping them continue to do good work.
- Let others see it. You can give positive feedback in many ways, whether that be verbal, over email or in your company's instant messenger. By writing it somewhere everyone can see, your other employees may feel motivated to work harder so they can receive similar feedback.
- Praise everyone eventually. Make sure to praise all your team members when they deserve it. This can help you ensure that everyone feels like an important part of a team.
- Explain their impact. When your team members know their work is contributing to the company's success, they feel that what they are doing is important.
- Give the right amount of praise. Only give positive feedback when it is earned. By giving the right amount, it is still special and noteworthy to employees.