Friday, October 31, 2008

Now is the time to WOW!

If you're looking for creative ideas for how to recognize your employees, Mike Byam's new book "The WOW! Workplace" is a worthwhile read. Check it out.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Building Blocks of Recognition

I was at an HR Conference this week in St. Louis and heard a neat recognition idea from the University of Texas at Austin. A creative manager there came up with the idea to recognize positive contributions from employees on the spot by presenting a Lego. The Legos represent a dollar value which can be accumulated and redeemed for special awards. As employees receive recognition over time, they build little Recognition towers made of Legos which occupy a spot on their desks. For this university, it's a fun way for employees to keep a visible reminder of management's appreciation for their extra effort.

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Length of Service No-No

Determining qualifications for length of service awards is generally a pretty straight forward process. If your awards are presented after two years then on their second anniversary with an organization an individual should be in line for that award. Certainly, the same holds true at the various intervals businesses recognize (1 year, 3 year, 5 year, 10 year, etc.). This simplicity is part of the appeal of this type program as it allows organizations an opportunity to systematically acknowledge team members that continue to contribute year in and year out.

Recently, we stumbled on an uncommon process that was taking place at a hospital in Louisiana. The medical center had numerous employees who had changed status from time to time, going from part time to full time and back (or vice versa). The HR department was thrust with determining when and if people had worked enough hours to qualify for the various year levels based on a full time schedule. What the HR group soon determined was that this time consuming process created confusion for the department and the employee base as they couldn't determine when and if they were due to receive an award. With this in mind the leadership team simplified the process and based their criteria simply on the hire date math. What they quickly found out was that this created a sense of relief through the hospital and employees began to further embrace the program.

Terryberry helps thousands of companies with their length of service award programs on a daily basis and the most common approach to qualification is "hire date math" where employees reach milestones based on the same date of different years. We do see an increasing trend where companies are recognizing their employees early on in their career to engage them into their culture of recognition early and often. Often times the initial award will be given prior to one full year with the business.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Customer Service Awards

Frequently companies are looking for different ways to celebrate outstanding customer service. We recently became aware of a company in the Midwest that has a unique way of commemorating achievement in this arena. Annually sales representatives from across the country submit letters of reference from their client base. Representatives can submit as many letters as they want from the last 12 months and are required to offer at least one prior to a predetermined deadline.

Once all the client letters have been received, the Management Team reviews each letter looking for those notes that highlight and/or adhere most closely to business's mission, vision, and values. Each Management Team member selects the five submissions that support those corporate objectives. After every member of the Management Group has made their final selections, the totals are tallied and the awards are given for the top 3-4 entries.

The awards, which are presented in front of the entire sales team, are engraved plaques that are a replica of the winning reference letters including the letter (word for word), the letterhead, and the signature. In the course of the award presentation, highlights of the letters are read for the group to understand why they were selected and the plaques are received with a rousing round of applause! The award recipients leave that event feeling great about what they have achieved and no doubt thinking about what would be an appropriate place to display this award.

Finally, the company's Leadership Team makes it a practice to send a "thank you" note to each client that wrote a letter on their salesperson's behalf and also takes the opportunity to thank them for their business. In addition, they post the letters so everyone in the business can see how the work they do impacts their clients. At the end of the day, it is a pretty simple program that has the ability to positively touch people at all levels of the company.

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