Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Nice Touch

Do you have an employee or a team who has been burning the candle at both ends for a while? A practical way to show your appreciation might be to bring in a masseuse for a day to give short massages on site. It's a low-cast way to say thanks. Your employees will appreciate a few moments of relaxation, and they'll return to work energized and ready to face the next challenge.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Not Everyone Needs to Speak at Every Presentation

The comments that are shared at an awards presentation can be the highlight of any recognition program and often times an employee's career. At Terryberry we invest a significant amount of time and energy with our clients to insure this is a component that is not overlooked. Recently, Erik, a Human Resource Manager from Washington state pulled me aside and conveyed a story of a previous employer where he was involved in an award presentation where they "open up the floor for people to share a few words."

To give you a little more background on the situation, we've got to set the stage. The business was involved in an employee recognition initiative and they had reached the point in time where awards were to be presented. They thrust to make it a first class event with appropriate attire, food stations, and an OPEN BAR.

As the evening wore on it became time for the award presentation and the company leadership worked through the recipients noting the positive contributions that had led to the various awards. At the end of the presentation a final award was planned for a long standing employee, who made his career with the company. It was clear that the presenters had prepared remarks and noted many of the neat contributions that the recipient had made to business. After sharing their thoughts the presenters turned to the people in attendance that had been "celebrating" a little too much and offered the opportunity to share their thoughts.

Unfortunately, these folks had not given much thought to what should be said to enhance the moment instead they talked of times that weren't pertinent to the achievement and in one case began to share an embarrassing story about the award recipient. At that point the company leadership was able to rein things back in and end on a high note. However, it could have happened very differently and all the businesses investment would have led to a moment to forget.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Communication & Marketing for Employee Recognition

A successful recognition strategy is a consistently communicated recognition strategy. Frequently, when working with companies, they are looking for ideas and suggestions to spread the word about how their organization encourages and rewards their employees. We've seen businesses use numerous approaches over the years to get the message out there and ultimately, we've developed a rule of thumb that encourages finding 3-4 ways of marketing to your employee base.

Here are some suggestions:
The company newsletter - A classic approach that insures all employees, and often times people outside of the organization, are aware of the company's program, events, goals, and winners.
Posters - Have some fun by creating a theme and posting images of program and its goals in different common areas throughout your different facilities.
Online Tools - Company intranet and internet sites can be very effective ways to communicate the successes of your people to one another and those outside of the company.
Local Press Releases - Often times local business journals and newspapers are looking for positives stories about everyday employees who accomplish extraordinary things.
Send Communications to the Home - Whether you're dangling a carrot for a sales award, celebrating an internal achievement, or inviting employees and their families to a recognition event, it is more meaningful when correspondence is sent to the residence for all to see.
Check Stuffers - Find a way to coordinate with payroll to include fun or educational information about your recognition initiatives with that weekly correspondence. Credit Card companies do it effectively, so can you!
Company Meetings - Get top management involved by having them communicate the impact and importance of success employees are having to the overall direction of the company. This does not have to be a one-time message.

Whichever routes you choose to go to get the message across to your people, remember the old radio advertising saying, "Repetition Sells!" The more frequently people hear the message the bigger impact it will have on the employee and your business!

Labels: ,

Friday, March 14, 2008

Safety Recognition Program gives employees a chance to give back

I was talking with a friend recently about her company's safety award program. My friend works for a convenience store. Employees who earn the store's safety award receive a globe, which they can then donate to the school of their choice. The program is a neat way for employees to get recognized for their achievements and to also have the reward of being able to give to the community.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

More Than Just a Pizza

Recently, I heard an interesting comment about the employee recognition experience from a People Services Project Coordinator named Lou. Her company, a Midwest furniture manufacturer, had several initiatives in place to recognize employees for their achievements. One of their programs involves rewarding departments who meet productivity goals with a pizza party.

The company was mystified to find that employees in some departments who were rewarded with pizza parties felt that the company had done a very good job of effectively recognizing their contributions, while employees in other departments seemed to have "recognition amnesia". Though these workers had received the same or in some cases, even more pizza parties than their "well recognized" colleagues, they had forgotten that the company had recognized them at all. When the under-recognized employees were reminded of their pizza parties, their response was "oh yeah, I forgot about that."

What was the difference?

After some investigation, the management observed that it was a very small, but very important difference that made employees in some departments remember the recognition experience more vividly.

In some departments, the pizza would arrive, employees would assemble, they'd eat and then return to their work. The big difference was linked to departments where the managers would kick off the pizza party with a brief announcement about the achievement that had earned them the pizza reward. Those few words made all the difference to connect the pizza party with the reason behind it. "This pizza party is our way of saying thank you for what you did." -- That's what takes it from more than 'just pizza', to a memorable recognition experience.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Recognizing the Team

Our West Michigan Whitecaps Baseball team has been on a roll -- back to back champions in the last two seasons. As a West Michigander and a fan, I'm pretty proud of our home team. I had an opportunity to be a 'fly on the wall' at the presentation of the championship rings earlier this week... only it wasn't the players receiving rings at this particular ceremony- it was the employees of the Whitecaps organization.

The players may be the most visible part of making the team win happen, but they couldn't do it without the support of the rest of the Whitecaps staff. As the team's general manager Jim Jarecki put it, the team's championship win was the product of the contributions of "players both on and off the field". Whether it be administration, public relations, human resources, accounting-- all were celebrated this week for their role in making the team into a championship organization.

This idea applies in all types of organizations. We all want to contribute to a winning team, whether our role is performed in the spotlight or behind the scenes, and to know that our contribution is appreciated and recognized.

Labels: ,

Symbolism and Brand Recognition for Employees

As business leaders sometimes we forget how important our brand, our corporate symbol, is to our employee base. All businesses have challenges that we have to overcome, and frequently they relate to personnel. However, people at all levels in companies and organizations throughout the world take great pride in their contribution to the success of their entity, their brand.

I was reminded of this last week when meeting with a client on west coast who had recently "rebranded" their business. Erik, the General Manager, told us about some of the challenges the company had faced in relation to defining their business to the community and their employees. He talked about how their previous name didn't depict the type of company that they were and that management had made a decision to update the name, logo and image.

This new brand was a surprise launch during a company-wide Saturday evening event attended by all employees. Organizational leadership spoke about how the new brand would reflect the great work they did and how employees contributions over time have made this evolution possible. After introducing the new brand and corporate symbol to their 150 employees, they made branded items available to employees for purchase. Erik indicated he was blown away by how his people had embraced the brand and that they bought everything they could get their hands on that included the new corporate idenity.

As we talked further it became clear that this company, like so many others, had people who were very proud of the business and wanted this on display. It was certainly more then just a paycheck; it was something they had invested themselves in and were proud to show off!

Labels: ,

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bright Ideas Programs

Frequently, we are asked about recognition ideas that foster innovation and creative thinking. One such program we've recently seen successful was developed at a Midwest manufacturer. The program is called the "Bright Ideas" program and it recognizes employees that submit ideas which lead to overall process improvement or reduce waste. Employees are asked to draft creative suggestions through an agreed upon process, and management commits to review each submission thoroughly.

Team members' ideas that are put into place are recognized with a "Bright Ideas" T-Shirt that are presented quarterly at a company-wide meeting. Days and months after the quarterly meeting award recipients proudly wear their "Bright Ideas" T-shirts to work. This creates additional visibility for the program and reinforces the value the business places on innovative ideas.

In addition to the public recognition and t-shirt, those employees who submitted successful ideas are also put into a quarterly drawing for a cash award. We've also seen non-cash awards effective in this type of program as well. At the end of the day this multi-faceted program fosters employee contribution and helps the business stay ahead of its competition.

Recognition programs like this don't require significant investment of time or money, just a desire to improve and a commitment to follow through on it.