You think words matter? According to a CareerBuilder survey, 50 percent of employees believe turnover would go down if managers simply recognized their efforts more frequently.

That brings up some obvious questions. Do you compliment your workers for doing good work? If so, how often? And if you're on a team, do you acknowledge your co-workers for their efforts? 

We spend the majority of our time at work, but most of the time we treat each other like strangers. When it comes to verbal praise, it's a lost art that isn't on our radar screen.

But consider it compelling. The companies in Gallup's study with the highest employee engagement levels use recognition and praise as a powerful motivator to get employees' commitment.

The study found that employees who receive praise on a regular basis increase their individual productivity, receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and are more likely to stay with their organization.

How regularly are we talking? Praise should be given once per week

28 ways to compliment co-workers

So, what can you say consistently that will cause your colleagues to gravitate toward you? What words will cause a peer to light up with a smile? What will have someone saying at the water cooler, "I love working with [insert your name here]!"

Here are 28 ways to expression appreciation, gratitude, and encouragement to the people you work with.


1. Having you on this team makes a huge difference.

2. The work you did to improve our customer ratings was fantastic!

3. It's inspiring to see how you always help new employees get up to speed.

4. The way you handled last week's crisis with your calm demeanor was a game changer.

5. It's so refreshing getting to work with you.

6. I am continually impressed by your results!

7. I absolutely love how you handled that customer!

8. What you have brought to this department the past three months has been invaluable.

9. Know that your role is important to our success. We can't improve further without you.


10. Thank you for always speaking up in team meetings when no one else does.

11. I'm grateful for your taking on the extra work when no one else stepped up.

12. Thanks for always being willing to lend a hand.

13. You've really made a tremendous difference here, and I'm thankful you joined the team.

14. You've gone above and beyond this week. Please take the rest of the day off.

15. Thank you for being so flexible. I couldn't have done it without you.

16. You were instrumental in saving the company from losing one of its best clients.

17. Just when I thought your work couldn't get any better, you pull that off! Thank you!


18. Don't worry. I trust your judgment on this decision.

19. I love your great attitude even during this tough phase. 

20. I know how hard this project is, but I just can't imagine working without you.

21. What can I do to help?

22. Thank you for being so flexible.

23. Is there anything any of us can do to help?

24. You are one of the most reliable employees I've ever had. I believe in you.

25. Even with your loss, I was blown away by your work ethic this week.

26. Know that we're here for you. Just ask us anything.

27. I just want to let you know how much you mean to the team. 

28. That was my fault. You deserve better.

Bringing it home

Of course, if you're blurting out these phrases loosely and without context, you're missing the point. People will feel most valued when it's sincere and attached to a specific performance or good outcome. The more specific you are about what you're affirming, appreciating, or thankful for the better; it makes the praise that much more meaningful and your co-workers are more apt to continue that behavior in the future.

What phrases would you add to this list for verbally praising your co-workers or employees?