Harvard Research Finds Employees Need a 6:1 Positive Feedback Ratio to Perform Their Best

3 min readFeb 9, 2017


According to a Harvard study, the average employee ideally needs 6 positive pieces of feedback for every negative review received. Unfortunately, many customer feedback systems don’t honor this rule of thumb. Employees are rarely involved in the customer feedback process, and usually never get to see the feedback directed towards them. It’s common that upper management teams are the only ones who receive access to these insights. If employees do happen to hear any feedback, however, it’s mainly negative.

It’s easy to focus on the bad stuff and what needs to be improved. That’s just a prime example of human nature. However, “employees need to receive 6 positive pieces of feedback for every 1 negative piece of feedback about themselves,” according to a Harvard study. It’s difficult for many companies to work this rule of thumb into their processes, however, especially in a busy workplace.

It all started with the growing pains I experienced during my beginnings as a small business owner

Back when I was still operating Nom Nom Truck, we suffered from a broken employee feedback process. Here’s how it went: I would regularly log into Yelp before bed, terrified of the next negative review that might pop up. Since Yelp has an extremely inaccurate view of your customer base (less than a 1% response rate, in my case), a great majority of the feedback that stood out was negative. Whenever I saw a bad review, I could never identify the employees our customers were talking about. There were rare cases in which our employees’ names were mentioned, however, so I would bring these particular reviews up during one-on-one meetings.

Employees rarely see positive feedback about themselves. If they happen to check Yelp, the bad reviews tend to stick out the most, which can put a damper on their morale.

The feedback systems that were available to us disappointed me, as I found that no process was in place that addressed positive responses. It also didn’t meet Harvard’s standards for their magic 6:1 positive feedback ratio. It turns out, a lot of other business owners and employees had this pain point as well. So, after Nom Nom Truck closed, my husband Nico and I started discussing a new business idea — a dream system that would help managers and owners get their employees involved in the customer feedback process. Praiseworthy ensures that the healthy positive feedback ratio remains constant at all times, and that every employee gets an awesome daily dose of positive reassurance. We also give employees the ability to show their peers and managers what an unbelievable job they’re doing, and we are now helping 1000+ small businesses deliver millions of positive feedback interactions directly to their front-line associates.

Motivating employees can be tough, but positive customer feedback works wonders. Praiseworthy can help you motivate your employees by showing them how awesome they are. Take Brandon’s story as an example.

One of the unique things that set Praiseworthy apart from the other feedback systems, is our ability to close the gap in the customer feedback loop. Employees love seeing what customers have to say about them, and since over 95% of all feedback is positive, they are motivated by it on a day-to-day basis. This feedback is also a great talking point to use during one-on-one meetings, bringing up the positivity and love that employees create around your customer experience.

We even use Praiseworthy to motivate our internal teams — support and sales. This positive review is about one of my favorite teammates, Sue (I call her Super Sue), and it really exemplifies what an amazing job she is doing. As a business, it is important to celebrate your wins and ensure that you are continuously building a stellar team.

We at Praiseworthy are obsessed with motivating small business teams and keeping your employees happy through positive customer feedback. We also find great joy in showing you the great organization you’re building. In today’s day and age, everyone needs positivity, attention, and love on a regular basis. If you’d like to sign your customer-facing team up to receive Harvard’s 6:1 positive feedback ratio, you can do so here.




Customer feedback, the easy way http://praiseworthy.co Recommended by the creators of NPS http://ow.ly/VZKuI