Recognition of staff

Recognize ME!

O.C. Tanner is a giant in the recognition industry and conducts lots of research on the subject. The graphic above is from one of their White papers and cuts to the heart of our motto, “Recognition is Respect Made Visible.” The information is based on surveys of 10,000 employees around the world.

Recognition is very important for morale, employee engagement & retention, and company success as well. It should start with the direct supervisor and words can be a big part of it. Sometimes we get caught up in ‘constructive’ criticism and forget kudos when they are deserved. Many companies give movie tickets or restaurant gift certificates. My concern with this is whether favoritism can creep in and whether the employee truly wants the gift. But if it works, great! Also very worthwhile are items with the company logo – from T-shirts to watches and Weber grills this is another way of creating belonging.

Beyond the casual remark, ticket, or logo swag, anniversaries are very important as are special achievements – patents earned, goals exceeded, group projects completed  – recognizing these enhances the message that the employee is valued.

What is the point of a tangible award anyway? I’ve been in this business for nearly twenty-two years and have developed thoughts on the subject. First, people hunger for affirmation that they are worthwhile and their work matters. Thus our motto. But beyond that, and I think this is important, tangible awards set events and belonging in time. They tell a person, and those admiring the award, that he/she was part of an organization and played a meaningful enough part to be recognized. 

Some of these, like project completion, can get by with a memento. We do plaques for an international industrial technology group for this purpose. They do a plaque with a photo of the project hardware, some is very largescale stuff and they need dozens of plaques. We also do funky trophies ($7.50/ea) for such occasions. The point is that people have something to tie them to the project that also ties them to being part of the organization.

Others call for a real award. A chap I saw on Face Book – whose team had won a large customer service competition - got a poster with a photo of a large trophy cup. REALLY?? That doesn’t seem to send a great message to me. Many companies we work with recognize employees in five year increments, which is what we do. If they have a number of employees, they generally have an annual event with different awards for each five year increment. Clocks, plaques, standing crystal awards, or glassware work very well here.

Awards for quotas exceeded generally need to be flashy, people who win them are often competitive types, and a tangible item is the perfect pat on the back.  Standing awards seem to be a real favorite here, although we do numerous plaques as well.

Of course, the day will come with the best employees, when they retire. Here even pretty large companies can choose an award very specific to the retiree. The options are wide open – crystal vases and bowls, clocks, plaques listing a few career highlights or characteristics, Adirondack chairs (with engraved plate) etc, etc.

The major point is that to have a successful company – non-profit or for – requires engaged staff fulfilling the organization’s mission. The more recognized and respected those people feel, the easier it  will be. It can be daunting to figure out how to develop and plan awards – but we are here to help, and we love to make custom items!