Positive Employee Behavior that Employers Can’t Afford to Ignore

Rewards and recognition programs are a core part of any workforce motivation initiative. However, many employers fail to clearly identify the employee behaviors or actions most deserving of recognition. Of course, this may not always be the employer’s fault – many employees, out of a sense of modesty, don’t think to make their actions as visible as they should. Still, others may not feel their actions are worthy of recognition.

In any case, it is every employer’s responsibility to promote and reward the actions and behaviors that are worthy of commendation. To help simplify matters, this blog explores some behaviors that employers would do well to praise, reward, or otherwise recognize.

Certain aspects of an employee’s behavior at the workplace are always deserving of recognition and visible praise. Courage and integrity should be near the top of any such list of attributes or actions. An employee that has the courage, for instance, to call out a more senior worker on inappropriate behavior should be recognized for his or her mindfulness.

Such employees not only have the courage to do what is right and risk the consequences of an irate senior manager/supervisor; they have the integrity to refuse any benefit they might be derived from turning a blind eye. This is especially true in cases where only a detailed workplace investigation could unearth the illicit activity. In any workplace, there are few actions that are so visibly deserving of praise.

Honesty and Ownership

Workplaces are fast-paced environments, often replete with a deeper undertone of competitiveness. This has created the impression that any professional errors are corrosive. As such, it is very common to encounter workers that will shift blame, make excuses, or otherwise pass the buck as long as they avoid the perceived consequences of their mistakes or errors.

Under these circumstances, it is commendable that an employee would not only be honest about the mistakes he or she makes but will go a step further and take ownership of them in full. In other words, they subscribe to more positive work behaviors, even though they could easily choose to shift the blame elsewhere.

Helping Team Members

It is not uncommon for employees to attempt to take credit for uncredited success. Likewise, it is equally common for employees or supervisors to make their coworkers or subordinates bear the brunt of the blame for everything that goes wrong. However, there are employees that will not only offer credit where credit is due, but go out of their way to assist, help, or mentor struggling team members.

They may not be under any obligation to do so, but they will still try to help a new team member or an inexperienced new employee learn the ropes. These behaviors in workplaces are not only conducive to team cohesion, but also boost morale and productivity in the long run.

Dedication to the Job

Lack of focus or attention to detail is unacceptable behavior at work, but many workers simply figure out ways to never go beyond the official boundaries of their role. A “not my job” mentality, while not in contravention of official company policies, is still less desirable than an individual who is committed to a role and dedicated to getting the job done.

These are the workers who will stay behind after a long day, ensuring that deadlines are met and deliverables are executed, even when the employer doesn’t explicitly require them to do so. This is also the kind of behavior that needs to become a core indicator in any talent acquisition strategy.

Willingness to Learn and Improve

Workplace culture is always one of the factors affecting employee behavior. In a toxic workplace, an employee can be forgiven for being unwilling to do more. At the same time, however, even in cultures conducive to learning, the number of employees willing to learn, grow, and improve is still usually very low. This only makes dedicated workers – those who remain committed to growing and learning – valuable additions to any workforce.

Strong Work Ethic

If there is one thing that characterizes a good employee, it would be a strong work ethic. Employees that show up on time, focus on getting the job done, don’t procrastinate, are honest, and most importantly, are both valuable and dependable. These are the kind of workers upon which successful businesses are built. Recognizing such behavior not only encourages an individual worker but also presents other workers with a model of employee behavior to follow.


Workplaces are not always perfect, and even the most seasoned in-house recruiter runs the risk of onboarding a bad hire, especially where in-house recruitment has very tight deadlines and budgets to perform against. It may never be 100% possible to guard against a bad hire. A staffing agency can help mitigate some of that risk, however.

In conjunction with these efforts, employers need to foster an environment that recognizes and rewards the kind of behavior that is aligned with business values and goals. This, in turn, can encourage other members of the workforce to emulate this behavior, thereby creating a wave effect that can create similar behavior across the entire workforce. Not doing so runs the risk of losing employees that do have these traits, or muting their actions when they go unrecognized.

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