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Recognition of a job well done is one of the most effective employee retention tools you can employ. But to get the most mileage from the compliments you bestow, be specific. When people know exactly what they did and why it benefited the company, it’s much more meaningful than a simple, off-the-cuff, “Way to go.”

To really be heard, try phrasing praise like this: “Angela, when you took it upon yourself to handle that customer complaint on your own, I felt relieved to know I can count on you to do the right thing even when I’m not around.”

Formula: Observation (what the person did) + Benefit (to the organization) = Meaningful recognition.

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