A friend of mine, Anthony, tagged me in a Facebook post this morning…
First, let me say that I love being a ‘cultural junkie’ and it is absolutely true. I pretty much obsess over customer service (UCE – Ultimate Customer Experiences) and Culture. I don’t care what anybody says, in my opinion, these elements are the lifeblood of any business and really you can boil everything down to CULTURE. Why? Because if you have a healthy company culture, this means you will have happy employees, and happy employees mean happy customers.
So… Employee of the Month? Nah! It can actually hurt your culture! My train of thought is that if everyone else does something, then that often means that is the wrong thing to be doing. This is not the case all the time of course, but by following everyone else’s lead, we won’t be innovative and come up with ways for NS4L to do things. So you won’t find any ‘employee of the month’ pic hanging up in our shop. You will, however, find Fractures of our team members and of course, stick figure pictures of everyone who hasn’t been ‘Fractured’ yet (simply because we haven’t yet done their head shots, haha).
What kinds of things to we do at NS4L to recognize employees since we don’t have an ‘employee of the month’? Personally, I drop emails to individuals and pull them aside to thank them as well. I also like to take them out to lunch one-on-one to spend some quality time with them. Pats on the back are extremely important. It is easy to call someone out for doing something wrong, but we forget to praise someone when they are doing something great!
We also have a new ‘experiment’ in the works at NS4L… the Fish Bowl! This is a place where anyone on the team can write a note and highlight anything that any team member has done to inspire, help, make a difference, etc. at the shop. On the 4th of every month (since we are NS4L), we will put all the notes up on the wall for all team members to see and read. This way team members are highlighting and recognizing the efforts of each other and ‘senior management’ are NOT the ones handing out any reward or highlighting any one person. The reward ends up being the public recognition given by their peers. Everyone gets to see everyone else’s notes! (which I am overly excited about for some reason, haha). Then we start all over the next month.
Even though the ‘Why You Should Kill Your Employee of the Month Program‘ article states that ‘reward programs create a culture of praise junkies’, I am a sucker for surprise awards. I like to give and I like to see someone’s face light up when they receive a spontaneous gift. So what do we do different? Again, we let the TEAM decide! About once a quarter, we get the team together for a company dinner and team meeting. Every once in a while, I will do something like ask the team to write down the name of the team member on a post-it that has positively impacted him/her/team the most the last quarter. We will put all the names in a hat and draw them one by one. The individual who gets the most will get something like a surprise $100 bonus. It is way more fun when the team decides who is most deserving :)
We have found that these things have worked for us. The fish bowl is still an experimental stage, but so far so good! I will let you know how it turns out in the near future!
Know this… recognizing team members is important and should be done often, but read the article as it got my brain churning, so maybe it will do the same for you!