Something went wrong, please try again later.


Can you just fill this in?

25 Jun 2015 - Blog

Can you just fill this in?

Today, after I’d chosen and paid for my beverage in a cafe, the staff member behind the till handed me my receipt and an extra piece of paper. He said to me: “can you fill this in, just go online, and there’s my name at the top, just fill that in for us.” I accepted the paperwork, sat down and reflected on the service I’d just received.

I decided that the service I’d been given was distinctly average. She wasn’t really rude in any way. The thing that struck me was that I felt he didn’t understand, or perhaps care, about why he had been asked to encourage customers to comment on the level of her service.

Surely, if an employee provides their name and asks you to give feedback on their service, they have a vested interest in the feedback you provide. If the employee valued their job, they would make a concerted effort to give the best service they could; no?

The survey

One of the questions asked me if there was a member of staff that I believed deserved an excellent service award. I decided my distantly average service didn’t deserve such an award, but I still wondered what made the staff member hand me the paper with his name on it after such standard service.

I wondered how there was such a disconnect between the recognition scheme at the store and the staff member seeming disengaged in process that would give her recognition.

How should managers or leaders engage people in activities that help business growth?

“Often, people believe employee engagement is about implementing a recognition programme or providing rewards for good work. Unfortunately, engaging employees takes more than a reward programme or two.”

So what’s needed to ensure the disconnect above doesn’t happen? It’s all about the why.

Share the why

To engage employees in work that develops the business, they need to believe in the wider organisational goals; employees need to believe in where the business is going and support the direction. They need to be inspired by a sense of purpose. However, employees will only believe if they a) understand the purpose; b) feel their contribution is important to achieving the purpose

Co-construct the why

If we instruct someone to do something without feeling like their views have been considered, they will be less likely to achieve what we ask. By involving employees in co-constructing a business purpose, employees will feel they are part of a journey and that their contribution is vital to achieving it.

Listen to employees’ why

A recognition programme is all well and good if all of your employees like to be recognised when they do good work. To some, recognition may be embarrassing. Others may think: why do I need recognition when all I’m trying to do is pay the bills. Some employees will work for recognition, others for a day off a month, others for a shift that allows them to pick up their kids from school. Understanding what engages your employees and meeting their needs is key to getting the most from them. 

“Employee engagement doesn’t need to be a puzzle, but it does need to come form the heart. People see through insincerity. Be true to your employees and they will be true to you.”


Back to Insights

Great insights.
Delivered to you monthly.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter for all the latest in workplace culture and engagement

You can unsubscribe by sending an email to at any time.

We never share your details with other organisations for the purpose of marketing.

You might also be interested in