Thursday, September 24, 2009

Employee Engagement 2010: Part 10


We all know that taking care of our employees is of the utmost importance. Through the recent economic downturn, companies seem to have kept focus on that. While we are tasked with doing more with less those who have accepted the challenge of multi-hat business contribution are seeing rewards now that our collective heads are above water.

Oprah sent her employees on a million dollar cruise, but this seems to be an exception to the rule in 2009. In fact, a recurring trend has developed in our time of economic conservation:

Businesses have become humble in their success
- Rolex's are being replaced with Live Strong wristbands
- Mercedes are parked to jump into fuel efficient vehicles
- Dynamic office structures are being downsized to conserve energy

Less expendable capital has made businesses more aware of their expenses and thus more aware of the world around them:
- Green initiatives save the environment and a significant amount of money
- Community service raises awareness and re-directs emerging profits
- Safety initiatives are now a measure of dedicated process efficiency, instead of a banner on the wall; with the genuine intent of saving lives

We have seen the misfortune of the last few years and we understand that we do not need what we thought we did

So how does this effect the way we reward our work force:
* Professional intent is guided by larger 'time off' is less important
* Bonuses are willingly delegated to charity
* Simple mementos mean more than the flaunting of professional dominance

Dale Carnegie's 2nd Rule for Becoming a Friendlier Person is:
Give Honest, Sincere Appreciation
* The operative words being Honest & Sincere
- This means: know your audience and reward accordingly!

It is not the value of the gift that matters but the effort put forth to achieve it & the intent behind rewarding it!

So allow me to wrap a beautiful bow around this blog series:
* Appreciate Early and Often
* Deliver a Meaningful and Heartfelt presentation to award winners
* Allow a Diversity of Reward Options
* Present an Equal Opportunity for Recognition
* Globalize Your Recognition Strategy
* It is better to personally invest in your people than to throw money at them

People are accepting what they have and maximizing it!

We are getting back to work with genuine intent...For the first time in a while we are invested in our company mission, living our core values, and putting our own profit aside to help turn this thing around.....TOGETHER!

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave



Saturday, September 19, 2009

Employee Engagement 2010: Part 9


Corporate America sure does get it's fair share of press when unethical practices come to light. What is seldom reported are the extraordinary efforts companies are making to improve the world we live in.

Community Service

Green Initiatives

Safety Administration, Control and Recognition

Responsible Business Globalization

What do these elements of corporate responsibility have in effort to save lives.

Every organization has it's charity of choice:
Michael C Fina supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The California Highway Patrol supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Safeway supports City of Hope

People are often content to live their lives outside of charitable causes...until something effects them directly and they can no longer sit back and let others experience their pain. So, on Saturdays in late summer, we gather to walk for multiple charitable causes: our tennis shoes pounding the pavement some times for 3 days and several miles, on other days a few laps around the Capitol Building. We take off our ties, put on themed t-shirts and open our hearts and minds together.

A funny thing happens when we leave the office to remember a company founder or a co-workers wife....the mundane details of office politics vanish. That person who under performs from time to time might help you understand why. The Unflappable Corporate Leader may just let her guard down. The human side of professionalism comes to light and it shines bright.

My contention is that when we leave the cubicle battle field for a softball game, a post work beer or a walk to cure cancer....we grow toward a larger understanding of one another. An understanding that is greater than the frustration of a report that was developed in an untimely manner. Thus, validating this Blog Series' original premise:


Professionals are printing less paper, co-workers are protecting one another from harm and occasionally we allow ourselves to cry together!

We can strategize together, squeeze more out of our budgets and promote dynamic new product launches...but if we genuinely know one another our ability to cut through the minutia and get to the genuine elements of success is expedited.

In Employee Recognition we often put a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
* Raffle Prize at a Diversity Training

* Points for attending a Charity Function

* All Hands Party for a Year of Safe Work

The prizes will draw them in...winning a door prize is always great...but the experience is what has a lasting effect. In truth, Rewarding participation in Corporate Responsibility can be a catalyst for improving peoples lives. If the prize is an excuse to improve lives, I would guess it would be the ultimate investment.

Don't Forget to Remember

- Dave



Friday, September 11, 2009

Employee Engagement 2010: Part 8


Employee appreciation has been the recurring theme of this Blog Series....the premise: Great People Make Great Companies!


There are a few ways you can win business:
* Cost Savings
* Better Widgets
* Trusting Relationships

"...Anyone can drop prices or improve product quality...trusting relationships are irreplaceable..."

Consultants and courses can help your staff improve human relation skills, well formulated efficiency metrics can improve customer service, but remember this:


In this Blog Series we have driven a primary principle: creating a corporate culture of appreciation means helping your employees discover their Genuine Intent.

...the same can be said for your customers.

So, build relationships with your customers as you would your employees:
1. Be a Trusted Business Advisor
2. Take Accountability
3. Be Proactive
4. Extend Relationships beyond the Transactional


2009 has been a tough year. Customers have left long term partners for the wrong reasons, trusted business foundations have shut their doors and community icons have been let go!

At the conclusion of this year a subtle 'Thank You' is in order.

Here are few nice mementos you can extend to those who have stuck with you through the economic downturn:
1. Gift Card and a Hand Written Note
2. Expression Gift
3. Discount

* Thanks for your business, here's a treat - I know what you are saying, what would $100 gift card mean to someone who spent 100,000 on our services. Answer: A LOT! The smallest tokens of appreciation can be the most meaningful when presented properly. Buy a program administrator a gift card that accesses a variety of gifts and deliver it personally with a hand written a 'thank you' card....use a few specific personal and business relevant examples.

* An engraved memento - a lamp with your company's logo would come off as shameless promotion. But, a nice engraved writing pen, for professional use, can sometimes be a nice touch.

* In appreciation of your business...January shipping is waived - managing cost is critical, especially at the end of the year. Give yourself some wiggle room at the inception of 2010 and cut your Super Star Customers a break.

Every great business has key customers that make their business great...what if every customer made your business great...?

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave


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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Employee Engagement 2010: Part 7


Some organizations call them SPOT awards because they recognize business critical contributions 'on the spot'.

These programs are generally intended as a fun way to start some buzz around the office.

The fundamental dysfunction with SPOT awards:
* Recognizing random events without a defendable process or direct intent does not formulate a strategic approach to recognizing contributions in a consistent manner!

- Some people achieve as a daily mission but if they happen to be in the bathroom when the CEO walks the halls they are SOL when the SPOT awards are passed out.

- In contrast to the aforementioned, there are those who are very good at acting productive when they hear the CEO's heels in the halls (we call them suck ups).

It is tough to defend a program that randomly recognizes contributions without intent, purpose or metrics for program success.

So how do we make it work...?

I can advise three rules for SPOT awards that might assist in making the program more genuine in it's intent:
1. Make the prize of low denomination
2. Make sure there is public recognition from a Senior Leader 'on the spot'
3. Focus on organizational founding principles not departmental goals

Low cost, High impact
SPOT awards programs can not be driven by the value of the gift. A low denomination gift card or a note card branded to your core values will do the trick. Hang the note from your cubicle and you know you have performed in the presence of Senior Management. There are those who will baulk at the low cost prize and for that reason they miss the intent of the enhance your corporate culture.

Appropriately convey the program's intent! When a Senior Leader overhears a call that is proactive in saving an account he or she stops the customer service team."If any of you overheard Jane's call I want to tell you that is the way we take care of our customers". This then presents an avenue to make Jane feel special in front of her peers and to emphasize your commitment to living your core values in the trenches. A CEO who actually shows genuine interest in the little people's efforts is a means for motivation beyond money or organizational opportunity. Jane will remember this event forever.

Living Core Values
How many employees read your conveyed core values when they walk through the office doors and say....I am going to act with candor and integrity today. Your core business purpose has much greater impact when it comes from the lips of the visionary who created it. Brand your core values internally: explain them, recognize them and use your SPOT program to emphasize them. Ra Ra is radical when it conveys passion and purpose.

Unfortunately many leaders create standards to measure success. Create a goal, manage to it and report production accordingly. That is called LIP SERVICE!

Of course we need consistent and business relevant goals to aspire to.....reserve them for team/individual goals setting sessions. Don't be TRANSPARENT in your intent!

Dare to make business personal. Celebrate the individual attributes of your people and help them understand how their inspiration and motivation ties to the company's purpose (thus, conveying that they are in the right place).

CEO's rally their troops every year at the company's annual event by explaining their climb to success because they wanted to be part of something works! But when we get back home, poor middle management has a way of letting their paranoia drive them back to standardized CYA management initiatives. A quality SPOT awards program can be the thread that takes the CEO's vision into the team members live founding principles; every day!

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave


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