Positive Employee Feedback Phrases: 35+ Examples to Inspire Your Next 1:1
The idea of receiving professional "feedback" puts employees on edge. And for good reason – feedback, whether positive or negative, can be a career make-or-break moment.
But when delivered effectively, positive feedback is a powerful tool to motivate and inspire employees. It helps them feel valued and appreciated while providing direction on how to excel in their role.
Unfortunately, giving feedback isn't always easy – even when it's positive. It's difficult to find the right words and phrasing that are both helpful and meaningful.
🔄 What is employee feedback?
Employee feedback is the act of providing employees with information about their performance at work. This can either be positive or negative feedback, but it should always be clear, concise, and specific.
Feedback goes hand-in-hand with development - it aims to help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses before setting performance goals.
➕ What is positive employee feedback?
Positive employee feedback is also known as reinforcing feedback (the opposite is redirecting, which is constructive feedback.) It is designed to encourage and motivate employees by highlighting their strengths and accomplishments.
So long as it's delivered effectively, positive feedback improves employee morale, increases productivity, and promotes a positive work environment.
Why phrasing matters
Pay attention to the way you phrase your feedback. Effective performance review phrases for positive feedback should be specific and genuine. They must avoid generalizations, vague language, and empty compliments.
For example: "You're doing a great job!"
is not as effective as
"I appreciate the extra effort you put into X project last month. It paid off and produced X results for us."
The first is too general and could apply to anyone, while the second phrase is specific and tailored to the individual.
"You're the best employee I've ever had!"
is not as effective as
"I've really enjoyed working with you this past year because you've helped lift morale and boosted our sales profits by X%. You've been a great asset to the team."
The former is OTT and comes across as insincere. But the second phrase gives more detail and highlights the individual's positive impact on the team.
When giving positive feedback, always take the time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. 39% of employees feel underappreciated at work, so the words you use will significantly impact the employee's reaction and motivation.
❓ Why does giving positive feedback matter?
Delivering positive feedback comes down to psychology. Employees want to receive recognition for their work and crave assurance that they're on the right track. Taking Gen Z as an example, 66% of this generation would prefer to receive feedback at least every few weeks, while 40% of employees want a daily check-in with their boss.
Receiving positive feedback validates employees' efforts and makes them feel appreciated. It also gives them a boost of confidence and motivation to continue doing their best. 84% of highly engaged employees feel their employer recognizes their efforts when performing well.
When you give positive feedback regularly, it creates a positive work environment and enhances employee engagement. Employees who feel appreciated and supported are
- more likely to be engaged in their work and
- less likely to seek other opportunities.
A Yoh survey reveals that 24% of employees would consider quitting their role if their manager doesn't offer sufficient performance feedback.
💬 35 sample positive feedback phrases
Feeling stumped for what to say? Here are 35 examples of positive feedback phrases for your next 360 review or 1:1 meeting. Feel free to use them as templates for your own employee performance reviews.
Strong communication skills are essential in any workplace. Why? They help build trust, foster collaboration, and prevent misunderstandings.
But Gallup research reveals that only 7% of employees feel communication is accurate, timely, and open in their workplace. If this is a problem in your organization, encourage positive communication by sharing some of the following teamwork positive employee feedback phrases:
- "I appreciate the way you express your queries and concerns to me. In line with our open-door policy, I always welcome hearing how you're feeling about your workload. This level of feedback assists me in supporting our team members."
- "I noticed that you copied me into an email to a client this morning. Thank you for keeping me in the loop on the progress of your project outside of team meetings. It's been beneficial to receive regular updates from you and ensures we're on the same page as we move forward."
- "I feel you've adjusted remarkably well to our new remote work communication policy. It can be challenging to communicate virtually, yet you've been doing a great job of using video conferencing and our asynchronous tools to stay in touch."
- "One thing I admire about you is your confidence when communicating with clients. You always come across as professional and knowledgeable while using excellent listening skills. This builds trust and credibility."
- "Your communication always remains calm and professional even under pressure. We really appreciate how you handle difficult conversations."
Interpersonal skills are essential for every workplace because they resolve conflicts, build working relationships, and foster teamwork. If you have a staff member who excels in this area, let them know with some of the following:
- "A coworker has reported how comfortable you made her feel as a new hire and gave her specific examples and ideas for areas of improvement. It takes a lot of patience and thoughtfulness to support others, and I'm grateful you took the time to help her adjust."
- "I've noticed you go out of your way to get to know people. You have excellent active listening skills and make an effort to learn about their interests and backgrounds, which helps build strong relationships. This is an important skill in our line of work."
- "You always keep an open mind and welcome others' suggestions. This shows a lot of maturity and respect for others, which is essential in a team environment."
- "You're very patient with people, even when they might not be having the best day. I know it's tough, but your positivity makes a big difference to those around you."
- "I feel you're very diplomatic when dealing with delicate situations. You always find the right words to diffuse the tension and keep everyone calm."
Problem-solving skills are highly sought-after, with 86% of employers seeking evidence of them during recruitment. Every business faces challenges, and employees need to exercise creativity to find solutions using this valuable soft skill.
If you have an employee who excels in this area, let them know with some of the following:
- "You excel at identifying any roadblocks and clearly explaining options and innovative solutions to the team. This allows us to move forward quickly and efficiently, which is vital."
- "I know you're very methodical in the way you approach complex problems. You take the time to consider all the options and gather input from others before making a decision. This attention to detail is much appreciated."
- "You're not afraid to take risks and think outside the box. I admire your creative thinking and willingness to try new things, even when they might not work out."
- "I feel you're very calm and level-headed when dealing with difficult situations. You always come up with creative ideas and find the right solution without panicking or getting upset."
- "I know you don't like to give up, even when the odds are against you. You're very determined and always find a way to get the job done, which is amazing."
Your company values should be more than just words on a page. They should guide your employees' actions and decision-making and help them understand what you expect from them. If an employee is living and breathing your company policies, let them know by passing on some of the following positive statements:
- "You're a true ambassador for our company values. Every interaction you have, whether with clients or coworkers, is an opportunity to show them who we are and what we stand for. Your approach is spot on."
- "It's so clear that you're passionate about your work and care deeply about company culture and our success. This level of commitment is very inspiring and motivates those around you."
- "When new hires join us, you can unpack the company's values and mission, explaining it in a way that truly excites and engages them. You have a real gift for painting the big picture and getting people on board."
- "You're always looking for ways to improve processes and make things run more smoothly. This attention to detail helps ensure we're always moving forward as a company."
- "You take feedback constructively and use it to improve your employee performance. This shows a lot of maturity and willingness to grow, which we respect."
Motivated employees are key to any successful business, with TeamStage reporting that engaged and motivated employees are 87% less likely to resign from their companies. They're passionate about their work, always looking for ways to improve, and never afraid to take on new challenges. If you have an employee who fits this description, reinforce this behavior by sharing some of the following:
- "I was delighted with the extra determination you put in to complete the project on time. Your high morale and approach as a team player carried us through to the end."
- "Your enthusiasm for your work is infectious. You have a way of making people believe in what they're doing, even when it might be tough."
- "I noticed you went above and beyond to help a coworker who was struggling. You showed genuine concern and took the time to offer advice and support. This was very kind of you."
- "I feel you're very encouraging and upbeat, even when things might be tough. You have a way of making people feel good about themselves, which is amazing."
- "Your positive attitude is really appreciated. You always find the silver lining, even in difficult situations. This helps keep everyone's spirits up and makes the day more enjoyable."
Employees who work quickly and effectively, without sacrificing quality, are an asset to any company. Gallup reports that employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are 3x more likely to be productive. If you're reviewing someone who fits this description, be sure to let them know with these sample positive employee feedback phrases:
- "We can always count on you to get the job done quickly and efficiently. You have excellent time management skills with a great knack for streamlining processes and making things run more smoothly."
- "I know you're always looking for ways to improve your performance and produce excellent quality of work. You're constantly asking for feedback and taking the time to reflect on your progress. This dedication is awe-inspiring."
- "You're able to work independently and always complete projects in a timely manner. We love your unique approach to productivity and the tools and processes you've introduced us to. This is a great strength, and we rely on you enormously."
- "I feel you're very organized and efficient in your work. You're excellent at self-evaluation and always know exactly what to do. This is a great asset to the team."
- "Your punctuality allows you to prioritize specific tasks and always stay on top of things. This helps us immensely and keeps the team running smoothly. Thank you."
Leaders are the glue that holds the members of a team together. They inspire and motivate their direct reports, always looking for ways to improve the team's performance. But leaders need motivation, too – so tailor some of these manager positive employee feedback phrases to their specific situation:
- "I feel you provide great direction to your team and are always clear about expectations. You give people the space to do their best work while still providing guidance when needed."
- "You're a true leader and always delegate tasks to the right people to put the team first. You're constantly looking for ways to help us grow and develop, which is much appreciated."
- "You have a great way of bringing people together and always create a positive and inclusive environment. This is a very valuable quality."
- "I feel you're very supportive and always available when people need you. You provide helpful advice and guidance while still respecting people's autonomy. This is a great balance of leadership skills to have."
- "Your performance management technique has improved enormously. Not only are your team encouraged following performance evaluations, but they also have fresh ideas of how to develop new skills and competencies."
📈 Establish a culture of continuous feedback
Employees don't want to wait once a year to receive positive words from their employer.
In fact, 80% of employees prefer to be praised in the moment rather than waiting for a 1:1 performance appraisal. Establishing a culture of continuous feedback means employees will feel appreciated more often and be more engaged in their work.
Zavvy offers a 360 review tool that gathers positive feedback more frequently and effectively. Our employee feedback tool is customizable and can be tailored to your specific needs, making it easy to commit to goal-setting.
Don't wait for annual reviews to give your employees the encouragement they deserve.
📅 Inject positivity into your workforce, book a demo with Zavvy today.