Archive for the 'awards' Category

Employee Recognition Is Up in Down Economy

A recent CareerBuilderSurvey found that while companies are cutting down on perks, benefits, travel and incentives, employee recognition is actually up!

It seems that the benefits of sound recognition programs are understood in most organizations. They know that the returns of good recognition far outweigh the costs.

Want to reap some of those returns? Forget about expensive appreciation events and awards for now. Focus on recognition between individuals.

Manager-driven programs produce the best results so teach managers how to build meaningful recognition into their overburdened schedules without causing additional hardship.

Second to manager-driven recognition is peer-driven recognition. Set up simple peer awards with little or no monetary component so that they don’t require a lot of oversight.

Create programs that drive your most important business initiatives. This helps morale and produces the results you really need right now.

Have some ideas you would like to share? I want to hear them!


Time Off Is Most Preferred Spot Award

A recent employee recognition study of over 800 respondents found that the most popular low-cost award for recognition of work on a project or assignment is time off.

Santa Cruz, California (Press Release) October 1, 2008

A full 56 percent chose time off over gift cards or certificates, electronics, or trophies or plaques for spot awards to recognize short term achievement.

While there was variation according to age, the majority of respondents in each age group listed time off as their number one choice. In second place were gift cards and certificates, with 34 percent listing these are their first choice.

36-45 year olds showed the strongest preference for gift cards and certificates, with 41 percent listing these as their first choice.

A second finding of the study focused on long term achievement. When asked to choose between a raise, bonus, reduced hours, recognition, or promotion for consistent top performance, respondents across all age groups chose a raise as their top preference (49 percent overall). Those 25 and under chose a raise 54 percent of the time, while those 26-35 chose it 58 percent of the time.

Overall the second most popular selection was recognition, followed by a promotion. Viewed by age those 25 and under and 46 and over prefer a promotion over recognition.

About the author:
Cindy Ventrice is the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies that Work. She has been quoted in The New York Times, Harvard Business Update, Workforce Magazine and on CNBC. She has worked with managers in 14 countries and has helped hundreds of organizations improve employee morale and loyalty through effective recognition strategies.

Cindy Ventrice

To order your copy of the complete research report: Order

The press can contact Cindy Ventrice for a copy of the report.

The Wow Workplace

I just finished reading The Wow Workplace by Mike Byam of Terryberry. Terryberry is an employee recognition award company.  Considering that the company has the obvious bias of wanting to sell awards, Byam has done a very even-handed job of writing about building an employee recognition culture.

Byam’s book confirms that awards are only a piece of the recognition puzzle. In talking about creating a recognition culture, he includes a chapter on listening and another on empathy – two very important components in creating a workplace where people feel valued.

He illustrates his ideas well with lots of good examples from companies such as Google, Wegman’s and In and Out Burgers.

There are many good ideas in this book. One in particular stood out for me.
People in sales often have their awards noted on their business cards: President’s Circle, Million Dollar Roundtable, etc.  Why not steal this idea from sales to use with the rest of your employees? You can create a logo for customer service champion, print the logo for an award from outside your organization. You print business cards anyway. Why not make them a source of pride and recognition?

The Wow Workplace is worth adding to your recognition library!

Helping Your Organization Through Difficult Times with Employee Recognition

Employee recognition is critical to maintaining morale during difficult economic times. When employees feel valued your organization can not only survive, but often thrive during a downturn.
If you have read Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works you might remember the story of Remedy, the company that coped with economic hardship and parent company scandals, and managed to come through it with improved customer service, increased revenue, and steady employee morale.
To make this happen they needed a culture of recognition, and this leads us to some good news and some bad news.

Bad news: You can’t achieve this level of engagement with gift cards or an employee of the month award. Program development must be built on a rock solid foundation and adhere to the principles of meaningful recognition.
Good news: You can achieve an energized work environment without investing a lot of money. The key is getting real buy in for your recognition initiative, building skills, developing a solid plan, and creating a memorable communication campaign.
You can create a positive recognition culture!

Bad news: Private consulting on making effective culture change can be costly. Chances are good that you don’t have the budget right now to have an expert oversee a full-scale culture change. I know for many of my readers working for small businesses and nonprofits, this was never  an option.
Good news (and yes, a rare sales pitch) There is an alternative that your organization can afford. For only $299*, you and your colleagues can attend a weekly webinar series, six sessions in all, where you will learn the basics of designing and implementing a recognition initiative.
Group size is restricted to allow for plenty of interaction during the sessions. You will be able to ask questions of me and I will ask questions of you so that we can address the unique needs of your organization. To be able to offer this level of personal assistance I need to limit participation to 25 organizations (through conference room access you can have as many people within your organization participate in the webinars as you like).
This is a popular program and because I only run it once per year, you will want to register soon.
Tools, guides, and assessments. The webinar series includes lots of materials that will help you with your program.
You will receive:
Cost of Turnover Worksheets
Executive Commitment Checklist
Catalysts for Manager Commitment
Training Needs Assessment
A copy of Recognition Strategies that Work
24 Questions to Ask Before You Design
Implementation Tables
Sample Timeline to Rollout
Private consultation included: In addition to the six-hour course you will receive five assignments that will help you prepare your initiative. When you turn in the assessments and planning documents (one set per organization) I will review them and provide you with my analysis, in essence a private consultation on each of five topics.
When you complete the course your organization will also receive a half-hour private phone consultation that you can use anytime within the following six months.

If you have been considering a recognition program–
If you are concerned about hanging on to your top performers–
If you need maintain morale in spite of layoffs–
this isn’t an opportunity you can afford to pass up!

I hope you can join me.
Designing & Implementing Recognition Programs That Work
January 6-February 10, 2009. $299 *plus long-distance charges. This six-week web series covers everything from buy in to project planning. Part workshop, part private consultation, this is most cost-effective way to initiate a recognition program. Click here for more information

Starting Up a Service Awards Program – Employee Recognition

Q: We have recently started a Years of Service Program. Some employees are unhappy with the program because we are recognizing those who have been with the company for five and ten years. Those that reached five years service in previous years are not included. How do we start a program like this without upsetting long-time employees, some of which who have been with us since the beginning (fourteen years)?

A: The purpose of a service program is generally to demonstrate that long term service is valued. This means you need to initially recognize all long term service. regardless of the additional cost. If you don’t, you will cause ill will with the people you most need to honor.

To create a positive experience on startup you need to do four things:

1) Create a ‘from the start’ award that is very special. This will be an award that is never offered again. Give it to anyone who has been with the company since its inception.

2) For those that have been with the company more than 5 years, but not from the start, give them the appropriate 5 year increment award. For instance, for the person who has been there 8 years, the presentation would be of the 5 year award. In two years he or she would receive the 10 year award. During the presentation, management should acknowledge that the receipient has actually been there longer and that this is a retroactive award.

3) Put awards in place for lengthier service. I realize no one has reached the 15-, 20- or 25-year milestones yet, but they should be able to anticipate how they will be awarded.

4) Be sure that management gives the awards and prepares a meaningful presentation.

(for more on designing and implementing a program see this post)

All the best,


Recognition and Difficult Times

Employee recognition has been dealt two blows recently:

1) The economy. As companies experience (or anticipate) tough times it can make recognition spending seem frivolous. Budgets are being cut as organizations insist that managers focus on the “important stuff.”

2) Scandals. Expensive employee events thrown by struggling or bankrupt companies have been making the news. Companies have begun to cancel their holiday parties for fear of being seen in a similar light.

You might be wondering, now what? Do we put recognition on hold, and ride out economic bad times?

I have been in this business long enough to see us cycle through poor economic conditions. I have seen companies where morale has weathered the crisis and others where people are out the door the moment they have the opportunity.

The answer to whether you should put recognition on hold is, no, not if you want to keep your people motivated and productive.

When times are tough, people still need to hear that they are valued. You are probably asking them to do more with less. This can send the message that people are not valued. Quality recognition helps you correct that impression.

So if recognition is critical does that mean you should go ahead and have the glitzy party? Probably not. But a chance for everyone to get together, socialize, and share some simple refreshments? Why would you not?

Let’s burst a myth shall we? Hit play below:

Meaningful and Inexpensive

Meaningful recognition is not expensive. Did you know that 57 percent of people say that the most meaningful recognition they have received was free? Here are a few ideas for free or inexpensive recognition:

A hand-written note of praise or appreciation – simple, powerful, and long-lasting.

A symbolic award – a light bulb for a bright idea (make it the twisty flourescent kind if the idea is green), a magnifying glass for attention to detail, or a big golden paper clip for keeping things together.

Traveling trophy – pick an object that represents a behavior you want to reinforce (see symbolic award). You might choose Leonardo DaVinci to represent willingness to go outside the job description.  Or how about a magnetic sculpture that represents teamwork? Whatever you choose, make it big enough that everyone can see it. Award it to someone with instructions that they are to award it to the next person or with instructions to return it to you in a week so you can award it to the next recipient.

Time Off – This is the most preferred award you can give and it is relatively inexpensive. Give out “hall passes” or “get out of jail free” cards as spot awards. Make them good for one or two hours off that people can use at their discretion.

Have an idea for inexpensive recognition? Let me know.

Copyright Cindy Ventrice 2008

Employee Recognition Survey Results – Millennials and More

Today, results from the four month generational employee recognition preference study were released. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may have even participated in the study. The results are quite interesting.

The study looked at preferences in awards, feedback, structure, work/life balance, and socializing. Millennials differed from other age groups in each of these areas. The full report is available.

My name is Cindy Ventrice. I am the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies That Work.

My work has been quoted in The New York Times, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Workforce Magazine, and Tim Sanders' book The Likeability Factor.

Visit my website today!

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