September 19, 2016
by Kelsey Rogers
1 Comment

7 Facets of Employee Engagement and 40 Easy-To-Implement Action Items

By Catherine M. Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

I’m a subject matter expert on the topic of workplace bullying, and that means being an expert in everything opposite of workplace bullying. I eradicate workplace bullying for my clients by helping them replace bullying with a positive workplace culture and engaged employees. When employees are engaged, when you have a positive workplace, then you do not have workplace bullying.

What is employee engagement?

A 2014 Gallup Poll defines employee engagement as being involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to work and the workplace. Gallup is talking about a profound connection here. How many of us can say that our employees feel an intense connection to our business, our products or services, and our mission? Unfortunately the Gallup Poll found that only 31% of employees do.

I like to say employee engagement is happening when an employee gives over their mind, body and soul each day at work. Mind refers to the decision that an employee makes every day, every minute, to be engaged. Body refers to the behavior or actions they take each day to further your business and the mission. Soul refers to emotions and feelings that one has towards work – if employees feel happy, for example, they will produce.

Seven Areas of Focus to Build Engagement

I’m the kind of person who looks for patterns, and in doing a whole lot of research on building engagement I’ve noticed that, no matter what list, article or book you read, ideas for building engagement always fall into one of 7 categories:

7 Categories to Build Engagement

© Catherine Mattice/Civility Partners


#1 Feeling Valued

Feeling valued is about being appreciated, understanding why your role is important, and feeling like you’re contributing to the organization.

For example, when I was the Director of HR for a financial services company, we hired file clerks who came in after high school each day to file.

In my naivety, when I trained them for their jobs, I told them, “Here’s the stack of papers, pick up a paper, find the number it corresponds with, and file it. Repeat.” I didn’t make any attempt to help them see why this was valuable, partly because I didn’t see the connection until something bad happened.

One clerk took large chunks of paperwork and stuffed it into random files in an effort to reduce the amount of filing she had to do. She did this several times, because she didn’t think it mattered.

Clients were getting angry that we’d lost their information and customer service really suffered. Turns out, file clerks are contributing to customer service, and of course good customer service means more customers. My file clerks didn’t see the value in their jobs because I’d failed to help them see it, but now I realize every single job in your company provides value. It’s your job to help each person see that.

Here are six things you can do in that regard:

  1. Look employees in the eye and say “thank you” once in a while.
  2. Start all staff meetings off by opening the floor for people to thank each other for things, however minor they might be.
  3. Cover a wall with paper, and let employees graffiti successes and thank you’s.
  4. At your next staff meeting, and/or on social media, announce something specific each employee has done in the last week that you appreciate.
  5. Ensure your onboarding program includes time to talk about why this new person is valuable.
  6. If an employee has an idea, actually listen to it. Discuss it, and if it will not work, talk about why.

#2 Work

To be engaged, employees must feel a connection to the work itself. They must also feel autonomous and flexible in their work schedule, be challenged by their work, and understand the link between their job tasks and the organization’s mission.

I once did a training for a company who had been set up by the city government to kill mosquitos. The town had a mosquito problem, and this agency was set up to solve it. On a break, I asked one employee standing near me to tell me more about the company. She said, “We kill mosquitos. That’s all we do.” Another employee overheard her and jumped in with, “Is that all you think we do here? We are saving the community from West Nile Virus!” He saw a connection with the mission, and I guarantee he was more engaged than the first employee.

Here are seven things you can do to help your employees see connection between their work and the mission, and to feel flexibility and challenge:

  1. On Fridays, require the lights be turned off by 5 pm (or require they turned off by 6 pm Monday through Friday).
  2. Reward employees with half-days off.
  3. Offer the opportunity to work from home sometimes.
  4. Talk about how each and every employee is connected to the mission, often.
  5. Make stretch goals part of your performance management system.
  6. Determine if your work/life balance programs really meet the needs of your employees.
  7. Be careful who you acknowledge as corporate heroes – if you say you have a culture of work/life balance, for example, don’t promote people who work 80 hours a week.

#3 Relationships

To be engaged, employees have to believe that there is strong teamwork and trust among the team. Employees must receive constructive feedback along with positive feedback, receive effective and useful communication from peers and managers, and believe in the group’s ability to make good decisions.

Here are seven action Items you can implement in order to help build relationships at work:

  1. Take company field trips during the work day as a way to let people socialize and get to know each other.
  2. Train everyone on how to give constructive feedback.
  3. Schedule time specifically to give positive feedback.
  4. Ensure your performance evaluation forms require accomplishments and positive skills be addressed.
  5. Serve as a role model by encouraging your staff to give you feedback too.
  6. Do a community service project as a group.
  7. Be transparent – I bet there’s a lot of things you don’t share with your employees that you probably should.
  8. Encourage your CEO to give “state of the union” speeches at least once a quarter, if not once a month.

#4 Environment

The environment also matters when it comes to engagement. The organizational culture has to be positive and promote thriving employees, and the worksite itself has to promote production and engagement. Of course, Google is a well-known example, with its work pods, steakhouse, and sleek interior design.

Some action items you can implement in this arena include:

  1. Redecorate! No, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on this. But if your walls are gray, perhaps a new coat of bright paint is in order. If your cubicle walls are gray, perhaps an employee competition for the most creative cubicle space is in your future.
  2. Hold open discussions about different topics, such as what a positive workplace means to employees, or on topics such as professionalism, civility, customer service, etc.
  3. Visit a local “best place to work” award winner to find out what tips you can borrow.
  4. Ask each employee to create a 20 second video about how they live your corporate values.
  5. If employees have no idea what you mean by living the values, then revamp your values into something employees believe in.
  6. Create a culture committee focused on driving your culture.

#5 Trust in Management and Leadership

It makes sense that in order for an employee to be engaged they have to believe in their management team and in their leaders. Employees have to trust that the leaders make good decisions and that leaders are sharing what they know. They have to feel supported by leaders, and they have to believe that managers are giving them everything they need to do their jobs well.

A friend of mine told me a story about bagels. Everyone received an email from the Director of HR that she was going to start bringing in bagels every Monday. The following Monday he didn’t eat breakfast because he thought there would be a bagel waiting for him at work. There wasn’t, and there never have been. Bagel Monday has never been mentioned again.

My friend said he was really annoyed – he now had to work Monday morning without any breakfast. The following Monday he got a little more annoyed, and every Monday for a few months the bagel debacle stuck with him. It wasn’t that there were no bagels, it’s that he’d lost trust in the Director of HR.

If bagels can damage engagement like that, think about how much it is damaged when something that matters happens (or doesn’t, as the case may be).

To build engagement in this area, consider:

  1. A training program for managers on how to “do” performance management, including setting clear expectations and coaching performance and behavior.
  2. Offer mentor/protégé programs to provide the opportunity for “underlings” to build relationships with leaders.

#6 Professional Development

Plain and simple, adults have to grow. So part of building employee engagement means offering opportunities to get training, to learn from each other, and to be innovative and try new things. Stagnant is fun for no one, and it won’t help your organization increase its market share.

Here are five cheap action Items you can implement to help employees get their fix:

  1. Create a lunch n’ learn schedule for each department. Ask each department to pick a topic and train the rest of the company on it. It could be customer service, a process that department uses, something related to your core values, or something totally random.
  2. Create a book club and meet once a month to discuss the book of the month.
  3. Encourage employees to work with non-profits to gain experience. I served as the President of my local Association for Talent Development, for example, and gained experience managing the largest budget I’ve ever managed.
  4. Charge each department with a goal that is a little outrageous and reward them if they achieve it.
  5. Encourage employees to take webinars – there are free ones ALL OVER the internet.

#7 Rewards and Recognition

Finally, of course rewards are part of building employee engagement. Rewards could be anything from a thank you to an increase in compensation or a bonus.

To ensure you are properly rewarding employees:

  1. Ask your employees how they want to be rewarded.
  2. Write a handwritten note. I have little cards that say, “You’re doing a great job” and I just place them on my employees’ desk or hand it to them in the hallway. No big production, but I can see it makes them smile.
  3. Use employee work product as an example. If someone does something great, make it a teachable moment at the next staff meeting. Recognition and training all in one.
  4. Make sure the connection between performance and the resulting rewards are crystal clear.
  5. Send an email to the whole company about an employee’s success, and do it often.
  6. Take out an ad in the employee’s professional association newsletter or in your local newsletter, and share the employee’s success publicly.


Catherine_Mattice closeCatherine M. Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on national affiliates of FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and NPR. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released her second book, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.  Email her at

September 9, 2016
by Kelsey Rogers

Honoring Performance: Recognizing Elite Achievements

Recognize Your Top Performers with New Programs from Terryberry

BIG NEWS! Terryberry is excited to announce Kelleher Enterprises, a specialized performance marketing company, has joined Terryberry’s family of employee recognition solutions!


Kelleher, a well-respected brand in the recognition industry, has specialized for 34 years in Honor Club programs designed to drive increased performance and recognize elite achievements.

The addition of Kelleher to Terryberry brings together the strengths of both companies to offer you expanded recognition and incentive solutions…including a brand new module of Terryberry’s 360 Recognition platform: Honoring Performance.

The Honoring Performance module provides the tools you need for identifying and recognizing top performers in your business.

Honoring Performance Programs are ideal for…


  1. Sales Recognition & Incentives
  2. Safety Awards
  3. Production Achievements

As your organization plans for growth in 2017, let Terryberry help you develop an incentive program to reward your best and motivate the rest!

Contact us today to learn more!

September 7, 2016
by Jenny Watkins
1 Comment

Turning the Table: Known for its Recognition Programs and Products, Terryberry Receives Honors for its Employee Wellness Efforts

bestbrightestTerryberry  has received top honors as one of “Michigan’s 2016 Best and Brightest in Wellness” for programs and efforts aimed at bolstering the health and wellness of its employees.  Read the news release.

Terryberry’s employee wellness programs have had a strong impact on a number of employees battling high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health challenges. In fact, one of Terryberry’s employees in North Carolina recently dropped approximately 75 pounds since joining the company’s employee-led wellness committee in May.

Among the company’s many efforts to bolster wellness throughout Terryberry:

  • Offering Fitbits company-wide at a discounted rate and developing their own Fitbit Community.
  • Monthly health challenges, such as drinking additional water, eating more vegetables, etc. Employees are rewarded points through Terryberry’s own 360 Recognition platform.
  • “Walking Wednesdays” in which Terryberry’s global employees log steps together.

“It’s about building a culture of wellness that transcends to all aspects of an individual’s personal and professional life,” said Mike Byam, fourth-generation managing partner of Terryberry. “We’re honored to be recognized and will continue to make inroads in this important area of our company. It feels good to receive recognition.”

Being a provider of employee recognition awards and programs, Terryberry appreciates the value of recognition. Terryberry designs and implements programs for organizations worldwide, helping leaders to recognize and reward their employees for the positive attitudes, behaviors and contributions that drive businesses forward.  Among Terryberry’s solutions for employee recognition is a line of wellness-themed awards, designed to support organizations in their efforts to communicate and encourage healthy behaviors among their staff.

August 18, 2016
by Jenny Watkins

The Olympics – What Can We Apply to Employee Recognition?

by Laurie Smith

Eric Smith and Steve Botting competing in the 1984 Olympics

Eric Smith and Steve Botting competing in the 1984 Olympics

If there is a lesson to be learned from the Olympics, that lesson is that a key motivator for high performance is recognition.

I came to this realization from a unique perspective; not only do I work for the best company in the Recognition industry but I have also been married for 28 years to a two-time Olympian.

Like many people across the world right now, I have been glued the television watching as athletes from around the globe compete in the Olympics.  They are recognized by the media, their peers, and their countries for their successes, but at the end of the day athletes compete for the ultimate recognition of excellence in sport, an Olympic Gold Medal.

Olympic athletes represent the highest performers in their sports, and their performance is driven by many factors.  It has been an inspiration to watch Usain Bolt and Andre de Grasse bond on the track. Their friendship, mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s skills creating not only a desire to succeed but also fueling their individual quests for gold. The goal of receiving a gold medal is burnt in their minds and drives the will to train and perform at ever increasing levels.

If you think about it for a moment, employees are not too different from athletes.

Like Olympic athletes, high performing employees are also driven by many factors, and one of them is recognition.

They are cheered on by their co-workers and companies for their successes.  The gold medal for a high performer in sales may be very different from a gold medal for a tech support specialist, a receptionist, your machinist or your executive management team. The lesson to be remembered and learned from the Olympics is that each of us have a gold medal that we are striving to win and that drives us to excel for our organizations every day.
Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith is Terryberry’s Regional Manager serving Ontario, Canada.

Learn about Employee Recognition programs from Terryberry

August 15, 2016
by Jenny Watkins


Two family-owned employee recognition providers combine services to strengthen client offerings.

Terryberry Kelleher established(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) August 15, 2016 – 98-year-old Terryberry today announced the acquisition of Kelleher Enterprises of Ann Arbor, Mich., a national specialty recognition incentive company.  The move is designed to enhance the global recognition company’s offerings and expand its footprint throughout North America.

Terryberry and  Kelleher have been working together on various projects over the past 12 months, and as the relationship developed, it became “increasingly clear” that the two Michigan firms strongly complemented each other, explained Mike Byam, Terryberry’s managing partner.

Founded in 1918, Terryberry’s focus has largely been in the employee recognition space with strong HR relationships. Byam anticipates the addition of Kelleher will boost Terryberry’s overall revenue by 15% this year.  Founded in 1982, Kelleher’s expertise is developing, managing and fulfilling programs which drive individual and organizational performance.  Kelleher has worked with some of North America’s most respected organizations including General Motors, La-Z-Boy, Inc., Masco Corp., and the University of Michigan.

Collectively, the two firms offer 132 years of experience supporting the growing recognition needs of their clients, which now total approximately 25,500 businesses and organizations throughout North America and Europe.

 “The opportunity to combine forces and expand our customer offerings to deepen those relationships for an even greater impact is compelling for everyone involved,” said Byam.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring these two solid, family-owned Michigan businesses together to deliver even greater value and impact to our clients,” said Mike Kelleher, division director of Terryberry Kelleher.  Mike Kelleher and a team of six associates will continue to work out of their Ann Arbor, Michigan location.

The partnership has recently led to a new product in Terryberry’s lineup of employee recognition services. Called Honoring Performance, it brings additional leaderboard insights, communication tools and program development services to Terryberry’s existing performance recognition solutions.

Terryberry employs approximately 240 associates globally, with approximately 175 employees working from its main Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters.

This is Terryberry’s third acquisition in the past two years. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


About TerryberryFounded by Herbert Terryberry in 1918, the company serves more than 25,000 clients throughout North America and Europe. Terryberry has been a major player in the innovation of employee recognition, including Give a WOW, the first-of-its-kind social media style employee recognition program launched anticipating the social media/business revolution in 2009, and the 360 Recognition Platform which continues to evolve as new tools emerge and the company forecasts business needs. The majority of its employees work at its world headquarters at 2033 Oak Industrial Dr. NE. in Grand Rapids, Mich. For more information, please visit