What a CATCH!

What-a-CATCH“Catch people doing something right!” is a timeless leadership tip coined by Ken Blanchard, management expert and author. It’s not the Employee of the Month or Quarter awards that make people want to stay. It’s working in an environment where people feel valued for their daily contributions that matter.

Whether you work in HR, are a manager or an associate, here are questions to build a stronger culture of appreciation and engagement.

C – Are your recognition efforts aligned with your CULTURE and CORE values? CUSTOMIZE appreciation tools that reflect your company’s unique culture and values. What recognition looks like in healthcare is very different than manufacturing or another industry.

A – Are on-the-spot APPRECIATION tools, like “You Got Caught Giving Great Service” cards or thank you cards ACCESSIBLE to everyone in the company? Make it easy for people to recognize in the moment.

T – Does your organization provide TRAINING on how to give meaningful recognition and thanks, like Thankology™, the art of noticing out loud? Often times, managers are promoted for technical skills, but lack the people skills to give positive reinforcement. TRAIN and designate Recognition or Culture Champions who serve as go-to resource for ideas and inspiration.

C – Do you regularly COMMUNICATE progress toward goals and CELEBRATE success – big and small? Whether it’s on SharePoint, a Pause for Applause bulletin board, or kudos at staff meetings, integrate recognition into the way you do business with employees.

H – HAVE FUN! HAPPY employees = HAPPY customers. Welcome wacky and unusual ideas like traveling trophies, for example, a ship in the bottle for the Leadership Award. Ask employees for their ideas – they will have lots of them.

! – Do you INVOLVE employees in designing your recognition strategy? People own what they create and what to see it succeed.

Get your THANK ON™! Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies build cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Workshops and Thankology™ Toolkits. She can be reached at theresa@recognitionworks.net or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.

Does Employee Appreciation Day Matter?

What if your company doesn’t celebrate this one day? No party. No banner that says, “We Value YOU!” No special gift waiting on your desk when you arrive. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with celebrating Employee Appreciation Day — but what happens if your manager forgot or is stingy with appreciation? Do you call Human Resources to complain?

YOUAreEmployeeoftheMomentWHAT IF, instead, you started your own APPRECIATION MOVEMENT within your sphere of influence? Recognizers are leaders. Be a difference maker and role model gratitude. Jim Carrey, the comedian, once said, “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” Here are some ideas to get you started…

Appreciation starts with awareness: Be aware of the things people do well. What are the qualities you admire in your coworkers? Recognition is simply noticing “out loud” with a positive comment, a handwritten note or a Certificate of Appreciation.

Practice common courtesy and acknowledgment: Greet people, say “Good morning,” make eye contact, smile, use their name. It sends the message that I’m glad you’re here. Positive interactions produce oxytocin and boost our immune systems for the person giving, receiving and witnessing it.

Ask: Ask people how they like to be recognized. Some love to be recognized in public. Others prefer their thanks in private. Get to know people and learn about their hobbies, interests, favorite snack or drink. Individualize your approach.

Give ’em a Hand: Create your own “Pause for Applause” Board. Have everyone trace their hand on a piece of paper and write their name on it. Ask others to write something on the hand that they admire about that person: a positive quality, characteristic or skill. Everyone can read the positive comments and give themselves a pat on the back.

Write Thank You Notes: Handwritten thank you notes are one of the most powerful, yet underutilized communication tools to convey your appreciation. Make it a habit to write at least one thank you note a week: Pick a day you’ll remember like Thankful Thursday or Fan Mail Friday.

Tell Stories About Great Work: Find out if there is a space on the company website or start a newsletter to feature “Employee of the Moment” for the person who went above and beyond for a coworker or client. It could be visible for customers to see — people love to do business with companies that treat their employees well.

That being said, I also support the notion that “People join companies, but they leave managers.” They can make or break the deal. They set the tone and it can have positive or negative ripple effect on the team.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own morale. We can choose an attitude of gratitude or sit back and wait for the recognition to happen. What we appreciate, appreciates. It’s a shift in thinking from employee of the year or month to Employee of the Moment. It’s up to you. 

Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Workshops, and Thankology™ Toolkits. She can be reached at theresa@recognitionworks.net or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.

Culture: Take Your Values Off the Wall

Workplace culture. Everyone’s talking about it. There are 1,001 ways to define it. What does your culture say about your company? More importantly, what do employees say about your company’s culture?

Culture constitutes the beliefs, expectations and values shared by employees and transferred from one to another. Some say it’s what employees do when no one is looking!

A Harvard Business School study reported that culture has a significant impact on an organization’s long-term economic performance. The study examined the management practices at 160 organizations over ten years and found that culture can enhance performance or prove detrimental to performance. In the books Good to Great and Tribal Leadership, they look at what separates GREAT companies from good ones. The most important ingredient they found? A strong company culture.

According to Kristin Graham, VP of Engagement and Communications at Expedia, who gave an inspiring presentation at a recent NHRMA Conference, “Company culture isn’t a poster. It’s a living, breathing organism that reinforces your core values.” In fact, the right company culture can:

  • Enhance customer experience: Zappos
  • Drive innovation: Google
  • Instill a sense of employee pride, camaraderie and enthusiasm: Umpqua Bank
  • Improve company’s performance/Be a competitive differentiator: SW Airlines uses culture as a way to attract and retain talent ? It’s also part of their employee value proposition.

ZapposZappos is renowned for its culture. Tony Hseih, CEO and author of DELIVERING Happiness, suggests that what matters most is that a company defines its core values and that you commit to them. Hseih reports that “50% of our performance reviews at Zappos measure how employees are furthering the company’s culture.” Zappos’ culture, which is all about customer service, is the responsibility of everyone in the company, not just one department, like Human Resources.

Is your culture company driven or employee driven? Graham suggests it needs to be both. She believes culture has three elements include: 1) Company 2) Leaders and 3) Employees. “Leaders can’t maintain it on their own, but they can kill it.”

“Culture ultimate belongs to employees — they are the ones who create and sustain it daily,” Graham suggests.

That being said, what tools can we give leaders and employees to take the values off the wall and bring them to life? Recognition is a powerful communication tool to let employees know what’s important to the organization. It’s about putting your values in action. It’s less about formal awards and more about celebrating Employees of the Moment!

A recent Deloitte study shows two out of three employees are currently looking for another job. What is your organization doing to build a culture of appreciation and engagement? What is it costing you not to do it?

Get your THANK ON™! Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Lunch-n-Learns, and Thankology™ Toolkits and more. She can be reached at theresa@recognitionworks.net or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.

 

Please Stand By

When my brother and I were kids, I used to believe (almost) everything he said because he was four years older than I was. He still is. When I was about 3 or 4 and he was about 7 or 8 years old, our TV life included Gilligan’s Island and in the morning, J.P. Patches, a local TV show.

Whenever the TV would say “Please Stand By,” he convinced me that we literally needed to go stand by the TV so the show would start again. I got bored and impatient standing there. Pretty quickly, I figured out that it would restart without this step, but as I said, I believed him, plus he was bigger than I was.

PleaseStandBy

This childhood memory led me to think about the movement of being intentional and mindfulness. We forget we are human beings and not human doings: work, errands, caring for others, getting caught up in social media. We need to stop and just be in the NOW moment. Appreciation starts with awareness.

Here are 3 ideas to get you started:

  1. Start your day with 3 coins in your left pocket. When you see something good, say something nice. It could be someone taking extra time with a client; acknowledging  an excellent meeting facilitator, or when someone returns a call in a timely manner. Move a coin to your right pocket each time something good happens. Pretty soon you won’t need to have coins in your pocket to remind you.
  2. Create a Positive Gossip Board to celebrate work accomplishments and personal milestones, like going back to school, achieving health goals, or becoming a grandparent for the first time.
  3. Kick off meetings with “What’s working?” or end staff meetings with “What new learning, insight or appreciation did you have today as a result of our time together?” This opens the door for peer-to-peer appreciation.

All we have are NOW moments. Seize that moment, take a deep breath and notice OUT LOUD when the good stuff is happening.

You may now resume your regular programming.

Get your THANK ON™! Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Workshops, and Thankology™ Toolkits. She can be reached at theresa@recognitionworks.net or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.

Beware: We’ve Always Done It This Way

We'veAlwaysDoneItThisWayHow many times do we hear this in business? A “we’ve always done it this way” approach is not part a successful employee recognition strategy. From time to time, it’s important to take a fresh look at your appreciation efforts and recognition programs.

Here’s a quick list of Dos and Don’ts:

1) Don’t do Employee of the Month Programs. Instead DO focus on day-to-day appreciation tools and on-the spot recognition like Employee of the Moment cards.

If you have a monthly recognition program, give it a unique name like Pat on the Back or Caught You Giving Great Service. Recognition should be driven by performance, not a calendar.

2) Don’t wait until 5 years to recognize service milestones. DO recognize the first year of service with a framed certificate, a nominal gift card or something meaningful to the individual. I see companies celebrating 1 or 3 years of service as people change jobs frequently.

3) Don’t do surprise awards unless you are absolutely certain that person likes public recognition. DO ask people how they like to be recognized and individualize your approach.

4) Don’t leave all the recognition decisions up to management or HR. As Rochelle Crollard, former HR Director of The Everett Clinic suggests, “HR should play a supportive — not starring role — in recognition.” DO involve employees in designing your employee recognition strategy. People own what they create and want to see it succeed.

5) Don’t be secretive about awards. DO be transparent and let employees know what it takes to earn awards and what the criteria is. This gives the program credibility.

AND FINALLY . . .
6) DON’T save all your accolades for the performance review. According to Gallup, employees need to receive thanks and praise every 7 days to stay actively engaged.

Get your THANK ON™! Theresa Chambers, Chief Motivation Officer, Recognition Works, helps companies cultivate cultures of appreciation and engagement through consulting, Recognize the Moment® Lunch-n-Learns, and Thankology™ Toolkits and more. She can be reached at theresa@recognitionworks.net or 206/353.8267. You are welcome to share this post. Just give credit where credit is due.