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Looking for What People Do Right

Want to give your employees a shot of dopamine? Sincerely compliment them. Receiving positive feedback lights up the reward centers in our brains and cause them to release oxytocin, the bonding hormone. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to remain loyal to their employer, even when things are rocky. One sure-fire way is to look for something right and speaking up.

Those shots of feel-good hormones matter. Dopamine is the chemical cocaine triggers (explaining the reason that the brain scans of people in love look a lot like those of crack addicts). It is the chemical underpinning of feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment. This translates to feelings of value and loyalty; leading to reduced turnover and higher employee satisfaction ratings. 

Sadly, leaders rarely gush. According to the Gallup Q12  Poll, “fewer than one in three American workers, can strongly agree that they’ve received any praise from a supervisor in the last seven days.” These findings are the breadcrumbs back to low employee engagement.

But, before you start tossing out, “good jobs,’’ left and right, it’s important to understand which types of praise motivate each of your employees. This can range from a simple email or quiet, “nice work on project xyz,”, to a more public shout out at a team meeting. Keep it specific, and tied to something you truly notice. 

Another reason daily praise helps us is that it combats the negativity bias in our brains. When you search for good things, you help to retrain your brain to scout for positives. Your employees will thank you and your day gets better.


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