Cheat Sheet

Recognizing and Engaging Employees For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Recognizing and Engaging Employees For Dummies

By Bob Nelson

Recognition is the primary driver of all employee behaviors. Therefore, you should make sure it’s the primary driver of employee engagement in your workplace. This Cheat Sheet includes articles that show you how to make this connection. Here you can find suggestions, advice, and tactics you can use to recognize engagement, to get the results you want, and to tie your recognition efforts to your company’s core values.

14 Ways to Recognize Employee Engagement

The link between employee recognition and employee engagement occurs on several levels: first, through reinforcing specific desired behaviors; second, through recognizing specific desired results; and third, through recognizing specific desired end states — that is, the environmental culture and core values you’d most like your company to be known for. The following table shows typical engagement behaviors and provides examples of ways you can recognize those behaviors.

Desired Type of Engaged Behaviors by Employees Potential Recognition Activity to Deploy
Understanding corporate mission Use photos, videos, and stories to recognize examples of work
that tie into the mission with
Understanding professional expectations Support question asking; create quizzes and contests about job
descriptions
Providing input on workplace matters Solicit and thank employees regularly for input; make sure
upper management is present during key discussions and
meetings
Making suggestions Actively solicit and recognize ideas, and give employees the
autonomy to try them; trumpet successes and “successful
failures”
Engaging in teamwork and collaboration Recognize team progress; celebrate milestones and final
achievements
Taking initiative Recognize proactivity and those who ask questions; support
extra efforts by allowing flex time and more resources
Quality work and/or service Recognize attaining quality standards, error reductions, client
satisfaction scores, and positive customer feedback
Problem solving Recognize creative group processes, brainstorming, and
innovative solutions
Bonding with manager and building relationships Encourage face time and learning about each other by making
common areas available
Connecting with others Hold recognition celebrations and town hall meetings; provide
networking opportunities by increased access with others
Learning and developing skills Host games and friendly competitions that are based on
workplace and professional skills
Participating in career development Offer workshops, mentorship programs, and time off and/or
funding so employees can attend seminars
Pursuing career paths Give employees job variety, opportunities, and professional
movement
Showing excitement and having fun Hold celebrations and parties

13 Ways to Get the Results You Want from Your Employees through Recognition

One of the key principles of employee recognition is that you get what you reward. This idea seems simple enough, but often, managers and executives inadvertently reward the wrong behaviors. The following table shows you how to recognize to get the desired results; it also warns you about common “misrecognitions.”

If You Want . . . Then Recognize . . . Not . . .
Profits Profitable sales Any sales revenue
Teamwork Collaboration Internal competition
Quality Process improvement Inspection
Effective training Skills used on the job Training time
High performance Results achieved Seniority
Problem solving Problems found and solved Problem hiding
Knowledge sharing Organizational expertise Individual expertise
Leadership Quality of leadership Just management
Creativity Creative ideas Conformity
Aiming high Meeting stretch goals Over-performance
Safety Safe behavior Reported accidents
Cost containment Reduced spending Keeping within budget
Customer service Customer loyalty Lack of complaints

8 Ways to Recognize Core Values in Employees

One key element of successful workplace recognition is tying your recognition to your company’s core values, mission, and vision. To create the workplace culture you want to obtain, you should systematically recognize the specific values that are core to your organization. You can see examples of how to recognize and reinforce some of the most common organizational values in the table that follows.

Sample Core Value Potential Recognition Activity to Deploy
Service Recognize employees who provide exceptional service to
customers (or internal service to other employees)
Quality Recognize attaining or exceeding quality standards
Execution Recognize process improvements and improved efficiencies
Innovation Recognize creativity and problem solving
Teamwork Recognize employees helping one another
Learning Recognize development of new skills, exploring new capacities,
and learning from mistakes
Inclusion Recognize obtaining input from diverse sources when making
decisions
Safety Recognize safe work practices and the reduction of safety
incidents, errors, and injuries