The power of praise and recognition in any workshop

The power of praise and recognition in any workshop

The most powerful kind of motivation for workshop team members is incredibly simple – recognising a job well done.

There’s a secret to retaining good team members – and it’s much cheaper (and more effective long-term) than offering a pay rise.

If you’ve been in business a long time and you’ve successfully retained your top technicians, chances are you’re already onto it. No matter how long you’ve been in business, it’s something you can introduce today. For free.

It’s praise.

Yep. The most powerful kind of motivation for team members is incredibly simple – recognising a job well done.

Why do employees need praise?

Being praised makes people feel good. This isn’t “touchy-feely stuff”; it’s science.

When we praise someone it triggers the release of dopamine, the chemical that controls the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. And it doesn’t just make them feel good, the dopamine can help them think in more innovative ways, helping them solve problems more creatively.

Couldn’t you do with a bit of that on the workshop floor?

What’s the impact of praise?

Research proves that if you offer genuine praise regularly enough, it can have an enduring and positive effect on employee engagement, performance and retention.

Researchers at Gallup found that employees who received regular praise were more productive and engaged and more likely to stay with their organisation than those who were not regularly praised.

The study even found employees who are praised:

  • Get higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and
  • Enjoy better health than employees who are not praised.

Where should that praise come from? Ideally, it should be from either the employee’s manager or a high-level boss.

What about poor performance?

None of this means we ignore poor performance, of course. But there’s a trick to discussing that with employees, too.

If all staff ever hear is negative feedback, motivation will plummet. If you’re generally offering more praise across the course of a week than you are criticism, then you’re on the right track.

If you’re offering employees praise, don’t throw a criticism in there at the same time. When they walk away, all they will remember is the negative bit.

When you offer criticism, offer it constructively, so the employee knows you’re there to help them improve.

What’s the best way to deliver praise?

Empty words have little value – people can see right through them. This is backed up by the research: Gallup found that only genuine achievements should be praised.

“Unearned praise can do more harm to an individual and a work group than none at all,” their report said.


  • It prevents employees knowing when they need to improve
  • It can diminish the impact of genuine praise.

How to harness the power of praise

Here are some key points to remember if you want to harness the power of praise in your workshop:

  • Always be on the lookout for great work that’s worthy of praise
  • Only offer praise when you mean it
  • Praise the effort and process more than the result (this is particularly relevant for diagnostics!)
  • Don’t give praise and then follow it up with negative feedback in the same conversation
  • Give constructive feedback when required, but do so less often than you offer praise.

If you’re doing all of the above, then staff performance and motivation should be high. The side effects include a higher retention rate and, potentially, lower wage pressure.

Considering praise is free, it’s a pretty cost-effective way to protect your best asset: your staff.

Looking for other ways to recognise your staff? Why not use your Capricorn reward points to buy vouchers for your top-performing team members? Take a look at what’s on offer here.

This article was published 20/07/2020 and the content is current as at the date of publication.