Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

09 30th, 2014

unhappy emp 5

Has your recognition program gone a little stale?  Does it need a kick start?  Is it achieving the results you want?

Like everything else in the HR world, recognition programs need to be looked at and updated from time to time. If you think it’s about time that you take a look at yours, here are some tips that might make that job a little easier.

  • Recheck to see that you still have senior leadership commitment to the program’s success.
  • Find out how many recognition programs are in place in your organization, and toward what goal are the directed.  You might be surprised that some may even be at odds with the others.
  • Ask yourself what you want the program to accomplish, what results you want
  • See if you have put the measurement systems in place to measure those results
  • Have you set forth a clear written strategy for your program?
  • Determine which programs produce tangible results and compare the ROI of these programs
  • If your program is outdated or unproductive, get rid of it and replace it with one more suited your present situation.
  • Make sure that the program is aligned with business goals, especially in a fast moving company where business goals can change rapidly.
  • If you are using training within the program for managers, determine if it is effective, and if not makes steps to change it.
  • If you haven’t already done so, set up a recognition team to help manage the program and if you already have one consider changing the players to get fresh ideas.
  • Make sure you have the processes in place to hold management accountable for results.
  • If you don’t already have one, implement a peer to peer effort to add a new dimension.

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.

08 19th, 2014


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.


spot recog

When is the last time you meant to tell an employee, “thanks for the great effort, we really appreciate your good work”, but forgot.  You think to yourself that you can tell them later in the day or tomorrow, or by the end of the week.  If you’re like most of us, that can happen a lot.  And by the time you get around to it the enthusiasm is faded and the importance is gone.  When you do, you lose the golden opportunity to affect an employee’s attitude and performance at work.

That’s one reason why an on the spot employee recognition system is so important.  You can award someone instantly when it will do the most good.  Waiting for traditional recognition award systems to kick in doesn’t reinforce the pride an employee feels right after you acknowledge the great performance.  If anything it can show them that their work went unnoticed and wasn’t a top priority for you.

It is well known that good performance will be repeated when recognized.  The more that an employee sees that you appreciate their efforts, the more they will continue to produce quality work.

On the spot rewards can also boost morale.  They can spread like wild fire in the workplace, especially in an environment where today’s employees feel under appreciated.

 OTS_Recog Award_Card_left tilt

 The On The Spot gift card award system was developed for just these type of programs.  For a simple white paper that will give you a brief overview of On The Spot, please click here.

07 23rd, 2013

employee month hands out

That seems to be a topic of discussion with almost every client we meet these days.  We’ve spoken to several in the last couple months who relate case after case of disgruntled employees who leave and go to work elsewhere.  So yes, retention is a problem and could even get worse.

Lately we’ve also seen more research focused on this very important question.  One reason for employees leaving is always going to be money.  But when an employee’s decision to stay or go comes down to a very small difference in pay, there are obviously other issues at play.

We doubt that it is surprising to anyone in the HR world that disengaged employees are more likely to leave a company for a pay raise than engaged employees.  A recent Dale Carnegie survey confirmed this showing that 26% of engaged employees would leave their job for just a 5% pay raise vs. 46% of partially engaged employees and 69% of disengaged employees.

We all know that engagement does matter, and not just for retention.  Engagement gives the employees the ability and willingness to contribute to the company’s success.  Consider what Jim Harter, Gallup’s Chief Scientist had to say about the state of employee engagement.

 “Over the past year, Gallup researchers interviewed nearly 150,000 workers–people in all states and industries–and discovered that a stunning number are miserable in their jobs. More specifically, only 30% of the nation’s working population today admits to being fully engaged at work. While Gallup encouragingly notes that there’s been a slight improvement to engagement since the Great Recession, it’s hard to cheer when you realize 52% of Americans admit to being disengaged in their jobs, and another 18% to being actively disengaged.” 

To put that into perspective, what do you think would happen if the eleven players on a football team had the same attitudes and feelings about being engaged?  Three would be playing their hearts out, five would be doing the slow walk back and forth to the huddle, and two would be dogging it on every play.  I doubt if that team would get to too many championship games.

Importantly it’s not the disengaged you should be worried about; you can easily cut them during the season.  It’s those that don’t have the energy and spirit to really get into the game.  it’s the middle of the group that should concern you.  They are the ones who can be swayed one way or the other.  These are the ones who will help you build that championship team.


We’ve researched hundreds of employee recognition and incentive programs over the years.   We often have prospective clients who say they have used employee recognition programs in the past and the programs just don’t seem to work for them.  They say they get relatively little return for their investment and these programs are often the first budgets to be cut when economic times are bad.  Frankly, in most cases executives are completely in the right to discontinue these programs.

In our research, we find many reasons why employee recognition systems don’t produce desired results.  But, those reasons will typically fall into one of these three categories:

Let Your Employees Choose What They Want

Don’t use awards that you think they want, or what appeal to you, or what your award vendor says they want.   Within reason, let your employees choose.  Survey them and figure out what hits their hot button how they would like to be rewarded.

Let Your Employees Track Their Performance

Set the expectations of what you want them to do and then give honest measurement of how they are performing and then recognize those efforts.  Make this information easily available to them so they can be reminded of what they’ve been told, and how far along they are in the process.

Keep Everyone Informed

Good communications is the heart and soul of any great employee recognition/incentive effort.  Sharing  performance in view of the measured values/objectives you have in the program is critical to continued success.  Showing what individual employees are doing to receive recognition makes it easier to motivate more employees to do the same.

As mentioned, there are many reasons that employee recognition/incentive programs don’t produce the desired results.  It goes without saying that the involvement of upper management in any of these efforts is critical.  If they are going to be your cheerleaders and provide ongoing involvement and enthusiastic support, you probably shouldn’t even bother with the effort in the first place.