Quality professional praise can have a huge positive impact on your employees and your workplace in general. Learn ‌how to praise someone for their work by reading our comprehensive guide below!

Table of contents
  1. Why Is Professional Praise Important? 
  2. When to Offer Employees Professional Praise
  3. How to Phrase Your Praise: Words to Recognize a Coworker
  4. Things to Consider When Offering Professional Praise
  5. 6 Tips for Written Praise
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQs

Providing regular professional praise is an important part of fostering a positive, motivated workforce and maintaining a culture of recognition at your company. There are many ways to recognize team members—from praising them for their special efforts and achievements to giving compliments to employees for their problem-solving skills and personality traits.

Professional praise can empower your workers and make them feel valued, leading to them becoming more engaged and productive at work.

However, praising someone effectively isn’t always as easy as it sounds. To help you out, we’ve created a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know about how to praise someone professionally. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Professional praise is important to recognize staff members’ contributions and any outstanding achievements. 
  • You can praise your employees for everything from a major achievement or milestone to exemplary skills and personality traits. 
  • When used correctly, professional praise can boost productivity, improve your retention rate, and lead to a more positive atmosphere in your workplace. 
  • Ensure your compliments to employees aren’t ambiguous or too personal, or else they could be misconstrued.
  • Provide praise that’s specific, appropriate for the recipient, and has a professional tone. Give your compliments as soon as possible to ensure they’re well received and have the desired effect.

Why Is Professional Praise Important? 

There are several reasons why offering professional praise is important.

Firstly, when you praise employees, it can lift their spirits and help them become more confident. Workers can feel accomplished and start to believe in themselves and their skills more and more. With improved (or even newfound) confidence, employees are more likely to take on additional responsibilities, tackle new challenges, come up with creative solutions to problems, and aim to deliver an even higher quality of work.

Employees who feel engaged and appreciated also typically put more effort into their work and are more productive overall

At the same time, happy employees are much less likely to leave in search of better employment. This means that learning how to praise employees for their work can directly lead to better employee retention

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Additionally, professional praise contributes to a culture of positivity and recognition at your company, boosting morale and job satisfaction.

This can lead them to think more positively about the organization as a whole, which can improve your reputation in the industry and with prospective talent.

🧠 Did You Know?

Over 80% of American employees feel underappreciated or under-rewarded for their work, and research shows that recognition is one of the biggest motivators for productivity and company loyalty. This is one of the main reasons it’s vital to regularly praise your staff members.

Furthermore, when employees feel like their accomplishments, skills, and traits are valued, they’re more likely to enjoy showing up for shifts and putting in good-quality work.

This can help eliminate costly, frustrating issues like absenteeism, presenteeism (also known as quiet quitting), consistent lateness, and overall disengagement. 

🧠 Did You Know?

Absenteeism, presenteeism, tardiness, and disengagement are some of the telltale signs that an employee is about to quit

All of these outcomes are excellent for your bottom line and may even help you improve business profitability.  

When to Offer Employees Professional Praise

Knowing when to offer a compliment to an employee is pretty straightforward. You can give professional kudos to team members whenever they do something that’s praiseworthy or exhibit traits that are worthy of recognition.

You can also offer written praise (via email, instant message, your employee app, etc.) or verbal praise (in person, over the phone, during a face-to-face or virtual meeting, etc).

screenshot from Connecteam app of both update mentioning the employee of the month and the reward for it

You might offer employees praise in the following instances:

For specific achievements or milestones

First and foremost, you can compliment your employees for specific achievements or milestones that are worthy of recognition. 

For example, praise could be due if an employee exceeds performance targets or wins an award. 

You might also like to recognize employees for service to your company, such as when someone has worked with you for a specific number of years. 

💡 Pro Tip:

Use a work management software solution like Connecteam that comes with an employee timeline feature. This makes it simple to track milestones and work anniversaries so you can offer praise at the perfect time.

For going the extra mile

This could be something as simple as an employee completing extra work-related training, putting in a few additional hours to meet a deadline, or volunteering to take on some additional tasks or responsibilities.

This is one of the best times to say thank you to staff, as it can help them to feel like their extra efforts were worth it.

Modern way to reward your employees

For their creativity and problem-solving skills

Recognizing outstanding creativity and problem-solving will empower your employees to continue thinking outside the box and putting in the extra effort to come up with solutions to issues.

For their personality or personality traits

You can also compliment employees on certain personality traits. For example, you might praise someone for taking a new employee under their wing and treating them with extra kindness during onboarding. Or, you could compliment an employee’s punctuality or work ethic.

For high-quality teamwork

As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. Rewarding employees for teamwork and collaboration will motivate them to continue with it, which should increase overall productivity. 

Thanking the team for collaborating well is also a great way to recognize and commend strong employee relationships, helping to encourage a sense of togetherness across your organization.

🧠 Did You Know?

Connecteam’s Recognition & Rewards feature is perfect for shouting out multiple employees at once. Put employees and their achievements front and center and reward your staff for a job well done.

Get started with Connecteam for free today!

When new team members perform well

It can be difficult to get started in a new workplace, and new employees can feel stressed and anxious about their performance. 

As an employer, think about complimenting new hires for a strong initiative, for picking things up quickly, or even just for asking good questions. This can help them feel more relaxed and like a part of your team from the very beginning.

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Have a new employee starting soon? Read our guide on how to make new employee announcements fun and engaging.

When employees are struggling or having a tough time with things

If you know an employee is having a bad day or struggling in their personal life, a compliment could be just the thing to pick them up.

In these instances, look for something you can truly praise them for, but don’t go out of your way to make up praise that isn’t true. 

How to Phrase Your Praise: Words to Recognize a Coworker

Finding the right tone and choosing the right words are crucial when you’re providing professional praise to anyone—direct reports, colleagues, and superiors alike. 

Here are 8 example phrases you can use when recognizing a coworker. 

  1. Thank you for your help with… 
  2. I admire your ability to…
  3. I enjoyed working on… with you.
  4. Your… skills are excellent.
  5. You are an incredible [job title].
  6. Your work ethic is amazing.
  7. Congratulations on your [achievement]!
  8. Thank you for being a team player.

Remember, the most important thing is to remain professional and courteous when communicating with your colleagues. You can use the above phrases by filling in the blanks with your own words. 

You can also write your own original praise, but ensure it’s genuine, personalized, and unambiguous. The person you’re praising should know that you mean what you say, and should never feel confused or like you’ve given them an empty compliment.

screenshot of Connecteam's rewards and recognitions feature

Things to Consider When Offering Professional Praise

Think about the recipient

How you compliment someone will depend on their position in the company and their relation to you. For instance, the tone and style you use when praising your boss will usually be different from when you’re praising an employee or coworker. 

Example of praise to your boss

“I want to express my sincere gratitude for your guidance over the past few weeks as we’ve taken on this new project. Your leadership skills are truly inspiring. Thank you for being an exceptional supervisor.”

Example of praise to your colleague

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with you on delivering the Q3 earnings presentation earlier this week. Your communication skills are excellent and greatly impressed me and the rest of the team.”

Example of praise to your employee

“Thank you for your outstanding performance in completing our latest project. Your attention to detail and ability to come up with creative solutions had a huge impact on the project’s success. Keep up the awesome work!”

Keep your language and tone professional

Maintain professional language when you’re offering praise—no matter who you’re offering it to. This helps ensure your intention or meaning isn’t taken the wrong way. 

For example, don’t compliment people on something like their clothes. Instead, focus on their workplace achievements and actions. 

It’s also important to use the right tone for your workplace. You might be more casual in your praise if you work in, for example, a fast-food restaurant. Or, you may be a little more formal if that matches your workplace’s environment.

Make sure your compliments are specific

Generic compliments can also sound disingenuous, and they can indicate a lack of effort on your part. Make sure you praise people for specific events, achievements, or traits. This helps them know exactly what they’ve done right and makes them feel genuinely appreciated.

For example, instead of just saying, “Thanks for being a good colleague,” you could say, “Thank you for helping me complete our most recent project. It was great collaborating with you and learning from your expertise. You’re a fantastic colleague!”

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Use the right timing

Timing your compliments right will ensure they have maximum effect. Don’t wait too long after the person has accomplished something or exhibited a specific trait, or else your praise may feel hollow. 

Instead, offer praise as soon as possible to let people know that you really mean it and were thinking of it immediately. 

6 Tips for Written Praise

Written praise can be difficult to get right, especially if it’s something you’re not used to giving. 

The following tips can help you write quality praise for your coworkers, direct reports, and anyone else at your company.

  • Use professional greetings with the appropriate tone. Avoid slang greetings like “hey” or “what’s up.” Instead, go for something like “Dear [first name]” or “Hello, [name].” 
  • Use ‌professional letterhead with your name, address, and date if you’re writing a physical message of praise, such as a letter or a written thank you note to team members.
  • Use a descriptive subject line if you’re writing an email. 
  • Keep written praise succinct and to the point, and don’t ramble with unrelated content. Start by stating why you’re sharing the praise, give the praise, and then wrap your message up.
  • Use a polite sign-off that’s appropriate for the relationship you have with the person you’re writing to. This could be a simple “thanks” for someone you know well, or a more formal “best” or “sincerely” for someone you’re less close to professionally.
  • Remain professional, specific, and unambiguous throughout your written message, just as you would when giving verbal praise.  

Example templates for giving written kudos to team members

Example template for praising an employee

Dear [name],

I am getting in touch today to thank you for your [specific trait/contribution/skill]. 

You went above and beyond while working on [specific task/project], and I am truly grateful for your contributions. 

Keep up the wonderful work.

Thank you again, 

[Your name]

Example template for praising a coworker

Hello, [name].

I wanted to take the opportunity to say how impressed I was with the work you did in completing [specific task]. 

Your [specific contribution] was a major reason why [the task] succeeded, and the [specific trait] you demonstrated was remarkable. I continue to be impressed by your skills and expertise. Great work!


[Your name]


Providing high-quality professional praise can have numerous benefits—like boosting employee confidence, increasing productivity, improving job satisfaction, and contributing to a culture of recognition at your company.

However, it’s important to learn how to praise someone professionally to ensure your compliments are well-received. By following the guidance outlined in this article, you can ensure you’re always delivering professional praise effectively.

For more information on acknowledging team members’ efforts, check out our guide to employee recognition and how to implement it


How do you respond to a professional compliment? 

When responding to a professional compliment, it’s a good idea to begin by simply saying thank you. You can also acknowledge any assistance you may have had from other team members or third parties. You can then express appreciation for the learning opportunities and experience that you gained by working on the project in question. 

What happens if you don’t praise your employees? 

If you fail to praise your employees effectively, you may experience a variety of consequences. For starters, your employees may feel a sense of discontent or like their work isn’t appreciated. This can lead to poor work ethics, a negative workplace atmosphere, and a high employee turnover rate. 

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