Archive for the 'employee satisfaction' Category

Employee Recognition: Small Budget, Big Payback

I’ve been working on a program I’ll be giving in Santa Clara on March 19th. The topic is employee recognition in a down economy. I am finding that many organizations don’t realize that recogniton doesn’t have to suffer because budgets have been slashed. In fact recognition becomes even more critical as morale is battered from so many directions.

There are two main points I plan to clarify for participants.

1) Recognition Doesn’t Have to Cost a Dime

With all the press about extravagant events, I am finding that it is even more important to talk about the difference between rewards and recognition. Employee appreciation events are rewards. Bonuses and incentives are rewards. Even company logo t-shirts are rewards (although they are not always appreciated rewards).

Recognition is an act, not a thing. Recognition doesn’t cost anything. Sometimes recognition is accompanied by a reward, but most of the time it is a thank you, praise, a new challenge, being trusted to do the right thing, or simply working with someone who knows you and what you bring to the team.

2) The Returns Are Enormous

The payback for offering meaningful recognition, for creating programs that make people feel visible and valued, is a workforce that is resilient, motivated, and highly productive. There are statistics and ancedotes a plenty to prove the value of good recognition.

Small budget, big payback. What more could you want?

Keeping Your Team Engaged in a Crisis

If you read Make Their Day you might remember Remedy Software. They were acquired by a company that quickly pulled them into a quamire when accounting descrepancies emerged. The CEO and CFO of the parent company resigned and, ultimately, the company was delisted on NASDAQ.

This was a company in crisis. Many companies are in crisis today. Does that mean that, along with being leaner, they have to be meaner? Hopefully, you know the answer to that question is a resounding “No!”

Remedy chose to maintain its pre-acquisition values and strategies. They put people on equal footing with profits and customer satisfaction. They did everything they could to insure that people felt valued. Yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, sometimes managers dug into their own pockets to pay for recognition that the struggling parent company wouldn’t authorize.

The result? They maintained morale, increased customer satisfaction, and grew their revenue stream!

Your organization is probably having a tough time of it. You don’t have money for raises. Hours are being cut. Pay is being reduced. There is no money for recognition. Morale is suffering. There couldn’t be a better time not to abandon your recognition efforts.

Keep these points in mind:

  • The most meaningful recognition is free. It is a few positive words, an assignment that provides a development opportunity,  or even a chance to spend a few minutes just chatting with someone within your reporting structure.
  • People want to be part of the solution. Keep them apprised and ask for their help in getting back on track.
  • Plan some fun celebrations (find something to celebrate!)…but remember that when employees are sacrificing raises or even having their pay cut, they don’t want to think that you are squandering their money.

How to Keep Your Headcount When Others Are Losing Theirs

A study by the Academy of Management Journal on the correlation between layoff and voluntary turnover found that layoffs will ultimately affect your ability to retain your best workers. They found that more than five times as many workers left voluntarily than were laid off during any round of workforce reduction.

You probably aren’t in a position to influence whether or not layoffs happen. So what do you do?

1) Treat people with utmost respect when conducting layoffs. Don’t treat them like criminals.  Those that remain are watching you. Your behavior sends a powerful message about how employees are valued.

2) Work to maintain morale. Those that remain have survivor guilt. They are overworked. They are fearful of losing their jobs. Those are some powerful demotivators. To counteract these focus on setting clear goals, communicate expectations,  celebrate small successes, and most importantly, keep your focus on your people.

Millennials Expect More Feedback from their Managers

A recent study of over 800 respondents found that our youngest workers and those new to the workforce expect more feedback than other workers.
 
Santa Cruz, California (Press Release) October 1, 2008

Both those who have been in the workforce 4 years or less and those who are 25 and younger strongly prefer frequent feedback according to a recent study completed by Cindy Ventrice the author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works.

On a scale of 1-5, with 5.0 most preferred, those 25 and under rate weekly feedback a 3.7 and those employed four years or less rate it a 3.6, while overall respondents rate the importance of weekly feedback a 3.4.

According to Ms. Ventrice, “When it comes to weekly feedback, it is important to note that there is virtually no difference between the preferences of young workers and those who are new to the workforce but entering at an older age.”

 

25 and under

Employed 4 yrs or less

Overall

Provides weekly feedback that helps me improve my performance.

3.7

3.6

3.4

Provides daily encouragement.

3.6

3.3

3.0

 

 

 

 

The survey also looks at the preference for daily encouragement. Those 25 and younger have a more pronounced need for this frequent encouragement than other newer workers and more so than the overall which rates it a 3.0.

Ventrice recommends managers and supervisors meet this need for frequent feedback by offering occasional corrective feedback and generous amounts of praise. “Don’t keep employees guessing,” she says, “Let them know they are on track, and they will reward you with increased enthusiasm.”

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

831-476-4224

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To order your copy of the complete research report: Order

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

Emerging Workforce Values Socializing at Work

A recent study of over 800 respondents found that those who have been in the workforce for four years or less are most interested in opportunities to socialize with coworkers.

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

This study found that those who have been in the workforce for four years or less (the emerging workforce) are most interested in opportunities to socialize with coworkers than other groups. This group included employees of all ages although it was predominately those 35 years and less.

 

0-4 Yrs in Workforce

Overall

I enjoy attending company planned or sponsored activities with my coworkers.

3.9

3.5

I find company planned/sponsored onsite contests and events very motivating.

3.6

3.1

My favorite activities have been coworker-planned, but company-sanctioned.

3.4

3.1

I really value an onsite area set up for games and socializing.

3.5

3.0

On a scale of 1-5, with 5.0 most preferred those employed four years or less scored higher in all four categories positively associated with socializing with coworkers. The study also tracked the age of the respondents.

According to Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works “While age was a factor and this is a generational issue to some degree, it is worth noting that the strongest variations came from those who have been working for four years or less, regardless of age. Our emerging workforce has not yet built a strong work network. They need and want opportunities to do this.”

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 and has worked with managers in 14 countries and has helped hundreds of organizations improve employee morale and loyalty through effective recognition strategies.

http://www.maketheirday.com

###

To order your copy of the complete research report: Order

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

Employee Recognition Resolutions for 2009

The New Year is traditionally a time for making positive changes. Many people resolve to quit smoking, exercise more, or eat less.

If you are a manager, why not make a workplace New Year resolution this year? There are things you can do that will improve employee attitudes, enhance service, product quality, and safety. Small changes can create big results.

I am offering the same seven resolutions that I offered last year because they are simple and will produce positive results.

1) I will resolve to spend at least 15 minutes each day simply listening to what my employees have to say. I will learn, among other things, what interests them, how they like to be recognized, and how they would improve their job.

Managers spend so much time ‘telling’ they can forget the value of listening. When I’ve asked employees to tell me what their managers do that makes them feel valued, listening is always high on the list.

2) I will resolve to connect the individual’s contribution to the organization’s objectives.

Many employees see no connection between the work that they do and the work of the organization. It is difficult for employees to feel motivated when they don’t understand the importance of their roles.

As the manager, you can connect the dots between what the employee does and what the organization does. Think about the organization’s mission, vision, and goals and how that translates to your department. Then distill that down to the individual employee. Communicate the connection at every opportunity.

3) I will resolve to offer five times more praise than corrective feedback.

Gallup research shows that 5:1 is the ideal ratio for increasing engagement. This can seem like a lot of praise, especially if you have a mediocre performer.

To provide the optimum blend, think in terms of acknowledging milestones, incremental progress, strengths, and valued behaviors. Show appreciation for additional effort, sense of humor, attitude, and a willingness to speak up about concerns.

You can even offer a positive word when giving corrective feedback. End the conversation by expressing confidence in their ability to change.

4) I will resolve to take one employee to lunch every week.

If you have a very small team, once a month may work. Try to get to everyone at least once in the first six months. During lunch, let your guest talk about whatever he or she wishes. Whatever you do, don’t make the lunch into a performance review!

5) I will resolve to put up a recognition white board and use it to note accomplishments.

Place a big white board and some dry erase pens in the cafeteria or another area where people congregate. Write notes of praise and appreciation to the team and to individuals. Encourage people to use the board for peer recognition as well. Erase items after about a week so that the notes are fresh and interesting. This will keep people coming back to read what has been written. (Idea courtesy of the BC Lottery, BC Canada).

6) I will resolve to identify a learning opportunity for every employee.

This doesn’t mean you have to send everyone to a costly seminar. Consider cross-training, new responsibilities, or even self-study. One of the top reasons people stay with a manager and stay engaged is because they feel challenged. Opportunities to learn is a prime motivator.

Find a way for each person to learn and grow that will improve their skills and level of engagement.

7) I will resolve to greet every employee I encounter, making eye contact and smiling, no matter how rushed I feel.

Does this sound too simple to be effective? Remember that employees want to be recognized and that at its most basic that means seeing and acknowledging the person. This takes virtually no time, but if you aren’t in the habit of doing it, it can make all the difference in the world.

Fast and Simple

Each of these seven resolutions takes no more than, on average, fifteen minutes per day. I know, I know that’s fifteen minutes that you  don’t have to spare. However, if you find the time, take the time, make the time, employees will make you glad that you did.

Choose one and try it on for six months. I promise you will see changes that result in improved attitudes and productivity.

Need reminders to make the habit stick? Sign up for free weekly recognition tips!

Copyright Cindy Ventrice 2007

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 www.maketheirday.com today!


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