The Power of Positive Feedback in the Age of Quiet-Quitting
In an era of ‘quiet-quitting’, ‘act your wage’, and ‘bare-minimum Monday’, understanding what motivates your employees and engaging them on a deeper level is imperative for organizational success. Research has shown that we change when we feel successful, and this is precisely why harnessing the power of positive feedback should be at the center of every business.
However, as simple as it might seem, feedback isn’t always used effectively. For example, providing solely negative feedback, where the focus lies on employee weaknesses and flaws, can trigger feelings of despondency and apathy, which can lead to resistance to change and lower job satisfaction. This approach of criticizing without guidance is one reason for the rise of previously mentioned TikTok work trends, where employees are left uninspired, unmotivated, and disconnected from the workplace.
When used effectively, positive feedback can be a powerful tool in boosting employee motivation and engagement, improving performance and growth, while also minimizing the risks of staff turnover. A recent study has found that employees who received “meaningful feedback” in the past week were almost four times more engaged than the others, proving how effective feedback, where constructive criticism is matched with positive acknowledgment, can make such drastic and worthwhile impacts for a company. Understanding this simple construct will allow businesses to retain top talent and stay ahead in an ever-changing work environment.
Image credit: EZRA
Making Positive Feedback Effective
It’s important to ensure any feedback given is specific, purposeful, and actionable. Here are some ways to deliver it effectively.
1. Emphasizing your employee’s strengths
It’s been well-established that employees who feel that their contributions are acknowledged tend to be more engaged and devoted. This strategy of giving feedback not only reinforces desirable behaviors and encourages them to build on their strengths, but also promotes a culture of appreciation. Tapping into employees’ strengths when assigning more tasks will fuel their motivation and continual success.
2. The magic ratio
So how much positive feedback is enough to make performance flourish? Studies suggest that the magic feedback ratio is 5:1, meaning five pieces of positive feedback for every negative feedback. The reason is that humans tend to internalize criticism much more than praise, so when positive feedback outweighs the negative, employees are more likely to be receptive and see it as a valuable tool for their own personal development.
3. Incorporating two-way feedback
Two-way dialogues foster an open and transparent environment where employees feel heard and appreciated. This can also boost engagement levels and reduce turnover rate, because when employees have a chance to express their ideas and concerns, they will be more invested in the workplace and the organization as a whole.
Leaders can also benefit from this approach by gaining insights into leadership styles and identifying blind spots in the feedback process that are often overlooked.
Lauren Hunt-Williams: Lauren is a senior content executive at Artefact, a global data and AI consulting company. Her experience includes working with clients in different industries, such as business, coaching, and retail. Her passion for writing, along with years of experience, allows her to collaborate with industry experts for her writing and share that knowledge with a wider audience.