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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