Should you publicly praise employees?

Many companies use public or social recognition as a tool for motivation. So the question on this Q&A Monday is: Should you do that too? Maybe there are downsides to that?
 
And in fact, there is.
 

When not to publicly praise an employee

More often than not we need to collaboratively work with others to achieve goals and deliver results. And when work is interdependent like this, but you only praise one employee, people start to compare and wonder what makes them so special.
 
Scientists were interested in what that does to a team and found out that when you publicly praise only one of the team members, it changes how the team members relate to another. They observed that other team members became less connected to the person that was publicly praised. And when the team was of the impression that praising only one person was unfair, team performance went down because of the whole reshuffling that took place afterwards.
 

So should you stop praising employees publicly?

First off, at least be aware that this might have unintended consequences. The relationships and connections in the team get reshuffled. And team performance might drop when they perceive this whole procedure unfairly. 
Of course you can still praise these employees privately for their contribution to the team success. And publicly, why not celebrate the whole team?
 
I’m curious – what’s your take on this?
 
Have a great week,
Nicole
 
PS: Got a question you’d like me to answer? Email me!