The human brain remembers negative things more than positive things simply because it was hard-wired that way.  It was hard wired for survival.  In the “survival of the fittest” context, negative experience s can harm you.  Positive experiences are nice, but they are not of life and death importance.

We’ve all experienced this phenomenon in personal ways, as spouses, parents, managers even within friendships.  Trust is one of the most important ingredients (arguably the most important) in any relationship.  AS David Lee, an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices mentions in his seminars…

The ability to remember that a particular patterned snake is poisonous is a life or death issue. Remembering that a particularly patterned bird has an enjoyable song is a quality of life issue. While quality of life is important, it is not as important at a primal level as your survival. Thus, our brains notice and remember what’s wrong, bad, and dangerous more effectively than what’s right, positive, and pleasurable.”

His list of the ten employee perceptions you can’t afford to have in your organization are:

  1. “You want us to care about you, but you don’t care about us.”
  2. “You want us to show interest in your business goals, but you keep us in the dark.”
  3. “You make it hard to do the kind of job I can feel proud of.”
  4.  “You have no clue about what it’s like for us in the trenches.”
  5. “You make decisions that affect us, but you don’t have the decency or commonsense to ask for our input.”
  6. “You allow slacking off, poor performance, and bad behavior slide.”
  7. “You take me for granted.”
  8. “You don’t let me know how I’m doing, and you don’t let me know what I’m doing well.”
  9. “You take advantage of your power.”
  10. “You want me to be more motivated, yet you’re not inspired — or inspiring.”

Employee recognition is certainly not a cure-all for the above but can be used to offset and impact many of these perceptions.

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.

achieve success

Are you on the lookout for those truly remarkable employees?  Following are 8 employee traits that you should look for in employees and when you find them, find a way to keep them.

You might argue that about some of these traits, but many would say that these are the qualities that make a good employee great and great employees truly remarkable.  This list is not ours, it came from a blog post by Jeff Haden a year or so ago; you can see other useful employee information from Jeff Hayden here.

The 8 qualities that make up such a difference between your good and truly outstanding employees are:

1. They ignore job descriptions…they think on their feet and adapt and change quickly to shifting priorities

2. They’re eccentric… people who aren’t afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

3. But they know when to dial it back…the best employees know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off

4. They publicly praise… Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.

5. And they privately complain…remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

6. They speak when others won’t…remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.

7. They like to prove others wrong… education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.

8. They’re always fiddling…great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better.

As we say in the title, when you find employees like this recognize them – often!

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.


     oc tanner

  taj mahal

One of the buildings above is the Taj Mahal, the other is the corporate headquarters of the largest employee Years of Service award company in the industry.

Believe it or not, the latest market research conducted by Incentive Magazine showed that close to 40% of all Years of Service programs use gift cards as some of their award options.

It wasn’t too long ago that you would never see gift cards in employee anniversary programs for several reasons.  First, the major recognition companies spent millions of dollars marketing their traditional awards such as company identified jewelry items, crystal, clocks, watches and the like.  Second they used very sophisticated training programs for their salesforces as well as for clients building a mystique that only deluxe trophy type merchandise would be proper to recognize an employee who remained at a company for a period of time usually in 5 year cycles  starting at 1, 3, or 5 years.  And lastly, they created excellent software platforms that made is very easy for a client to purchase a turnkey employee service award program.

So what changed?  How did gift cards start to become an option in these programs?  It certainly wasn’t because the companies that specialized in gift card systems spent millions in advertising, or marketing or a sales force that was trained to call on the clients. And it wasn’t because they built sophisticated electronic platforms to implement them.  It came about because clients were getting tired of paying very hefty premiums over retail price and employees were asking for more choice and a better value.

With the age of the internet anyone could do a quick search to determine the value of an award, it didn’t take long for the employees to ask why the award that they understood cost $250 or $500 actually had a value of only $125 or $250.  That was the rule rather than the exception.

Gift cards are a part of Years of Service programs because it gives your employees what they want without incremental cost to you.  If you are going to spend $250 or $500 on an award, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure that your employee receives as much of that budget as possible?  The traditional recognition companies will fight long and hard to keep you from putting gift cards in program.  They know that once in, they will lose prized profit dollars year after year.  But do you really want to support their Taj Mahal corporate offices at the expense of your employees?

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.


communications leader

These three statements were originally posted in the Booher Banter Blog.  Booher Consultants is a communication skills training firm that works with organizations to increase productivity and profitability through more effective communications.

We all know that effective communications is key in any employee recognition system.  You may want to consider reconsidering not saying these three things, especially if you are in a position of leadership in your organization.

“Don’t take this personally.” 

Now, how else would you take this statement?  Of course it’s personal.  It is probably being delivered just before some kind of a critique of you or your work.  The speaker may think it’s a way of softening the message but frankly it’s condescending and won’t set up the discussion to be positively received at all.  Avoid it if possible.

 “Don’t bring me a problem unless you bring me an answer.” 

We’re sure when leaders say this they mean not to just drop problems on them and expect them to solve them for you.  But if you had the answers it wouldn’t be a problem in the first place would it?  Unfortunately these kinds of comments can produce unintended consequences.  Without guidance from leadership many delayed decisions can bring unwanted problems often too late to be solved.

“We need to talk about that sometime.” 

If something is a problem, the time to discuss it is now!  This comment will only shut down communications.  And when leaders aren’t listening many bad things can happen.

Employee recognition efforts don’t do much good when they don’t have the attention and respect from your employees.  Effective communications should be the first thing you have in place to have a truly engaged workforce.

If you’re interested in learning about a high value, low cost gift card recognition system that is easy to implement please contact us above.



There are many research projects that measure the number of engaged vs. not engaged employees, but a study conducted by Carnegie Training in conjunction with MSW research looked into  the functional and emotional elements of employee engagement to determine why ?  They uncovered that one of the three key drivers of employee engagement was the relationship with immediate supervision.  About the same time, WorldatWork conducted a year-long engagement survey and came to the same conclusion.

If one of the key drivers in the success of these programs is the immediate supervisor, doesn’t it just make sense to include this important level in your reward strategy?  With turnover rates approaching 65% and the cost of hiring and training new employees at about 1.5 times salary, there is more than sufficient financial justification to include management in your employee award systems.

Here are some methods WorldatWork generated in their survey to include management in your programs:

  • Track the engagement in your organization and create actionable tasks for managers that can be measured, such as timely recognition of employees 
  • Have a special recognition for managers, who achieve assigned objectives of the measures above 
  • Define employee engagement strategically to be communicated to and by the upper levels of management. 

Companies that are serious about engagement take time to identify areas for improvement, track relevant metrics, and create a diverse collection of initiatives that touches every level of the organization, including and especially supervisory management.

On The Spot is a very effective way for you to include management in your program, for a short paper that will give you a brief overview of this award system, please click here.  

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