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Engagement or recognition.Which comes first?

By February 16, 2014 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

If you manage a team you might wonder what comes first: engaged, motivated and personally invested employees or productive great work?
Are your employees carrying out great or exceptional work because they’re engaged, or will they become more engaged after doing great work?

Let’s start at the beginning. Most employees will start any new position or role engaged and ready to work to the best of their ability. As time goes on, either the employee will stay engaged, re-engage at a deeper level, or they will pull away to do minimal (or less than) work, becoming disengaged.

What happens at the moment of re-engagement? What’s the key difference between an employee who produces great work and one who doesn’t? Many surveys around the world have come up with similar conclusions – the difference is how a manager recognises their employee and motivates their everyday work.

Your proactive actions as a manager can engage employees, which will produce personal investments that yield great performance. This engagement isn’t even dependent on the challenges the company faces. Every company has its challenges: resources, regulations, compliance, market, and even questionable leadership. What every manager can do, despite company challenges, is to recognise and reward great work, behaviour or performance when they see it.

When you recognise great work several positive things happen.

Firstly, your other employees understand the standards they are being measured by for their own production. A vital part of staff recognition designed to improve engagement comes when that recognition is transparent and consistent across the organisation. Everyone can see the behaviour being recognised no matter which department or division they work in.

Secondly, the recognised employee is re-engaged and motivated to perform at an even higher level. A lift in performance from a re-engaged staff member can have a big impact on your bottom line.

Third, you create an environment that inspires your employees, highlighting that the work they do is meaningful and worthy of notice. Your entire team is more likely to engage and produce great work when they know they are appreciated and valued. Seeing their colleagues being recognised often inspires them to lift their own performance with a positive impact throughout the business.

The difference between engaged, productive employees and those who are not isn’t usually that the first group are part of a company without problems; it’s that their managers have found a way to communicate to their employees they are valued, appreciated and special, which in turn re-engages the employees in their work.

If you want to develop employees who produce great work, maybe it’s time to look at how they’re engaging and then find a way to recognise their efforts. But also look at your managers to make sure they can recognise contribution and performance from their team. As has been stated many times in many surveys, workers do not leave their jobs, they usually leave their managers. So make sure your managers know how to recognise staff who go “above and beyond”, and how best that recognition should take place. It is important to understand that not all staff like to be recognised the same way. Some will want public recognition, others will not. So learn what works best for each team member.

Happy, motivated, appreciated, respected and engaged employees will do great work, which means your other employees will re-engage, who will then also produce great work.

When you consider the alternative, high levels of staff turnover with a cost of around 150% of salary to replace someone, getting your team re-engaged is a low cost option with a high return on investment.

To learn how Brownie Points can help you engage your team call us today on 03 9909 7411 or email us at

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