Does Your Company Need a Service Check-up?

Does Your Company Need a Service Check-up?

You may have a gut feeling that your organization should establish a service award program, but you need more than that to convince management. Begin a careful assessment by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Does the company have a systematic way of letting people know their contributions are valued?

  • Does your organization publicly recognize people for their dedication and high performance?

  • Has your company established one or two fundamental values (such as dedication to customer needs) to focus on and continually reinforce goals to achieve these behaviors?

  • Do you offer recognition awards that honor employees who exhibit these corporate values?

  • Does management give the impression that its people are the most important company asset?

  • Is management as committed to its workers and their well-being as it wants employees to be toward the company and its goals?

  • Is top management visibly involved in the recognition of employee achievement at all levels?

  • Are your reward and recognition programs truly available to all employees?

    If you answered "No" to any of these questions, your organization could have some underlying loyalty and motivation problems.

    Q. Management has tried various service award programs in the past, but eventually discarded them because they didn't seem to work. Now nobody wants to listen to me. How do I change their minds?

    A. First, learn more about the previous programs. Specifically analyze their design, objectives, awards and presentation. It's possible they were poorly conceived or the administrators didn't carefully analyze the incentive program's overall benefits. With this information, you'll be able to explain how your service award incentive will differ from past efforts.

    Also, talk about money. Focus on the positive impact service programs can have on a company's bottom line. Cite statistics that support the fact that satisfied employees are more productive and loyal, which leads to higher profits and lower retention costs.

    Q. Is it possible to offer employee reward and recognition program awards on a project basis rather than within a specific time frame?

    A. Employee reward and recognition program awards can be offered whenever you want. A New York-based investment banking firm enjoyed great success with employee reward and recognition program awards distributed immediately at the end of a project rather than giving them out on a quarterly or yearly basis.

    The employee reward and recognition program awards targeted the support staff. Managers and analysts nominated administrative assistants and other lower-level personnel who really shined during a project. Recipients earned merchandise awards. This service program helped reinforce the fact that while the administrative staff may have been invisible to the clients, their co-workers knew the project could not have been completed without their valued participation.

    The employee reward and recognition program became a point of pride among the support staff and a valuable motivation tool. Those who earned the distinction were usually included on larger, more high profile projects, which made their work more interesting. Also, it put them on the fast track for raises and promotions.

    One unexpected development . . . analysts and upper management began competing for the most dedicated, talented and hard-working staffers from the administrative pool.

    Q. What kind of employee reward and recognition program works best in a low skill, high turnover industry with lots of part-time employees?

    A. An incentive that offers immediate recognition for a job well done suits your demographic. In particular, a peer-to-peer program would probably be most effective.

    A chain of movie theaters used this program design to improve its overall customer service ratings. Employees used red cards that resembled movie tickets to thank co-workers for showing initiative and thoughtfulness. Recipients collected a certain number of cards and then exchanged them for gift certificates to local retailers.

    Workers earned awards for everything from pitching in during a rush on the concession stand to helping calm an irate customer. This peer-to-peer program helped create a bond among the theater staff. Also, employees became more apt to fix problems with the help of a co-worker, if needed, rather than wait for a manager to point it out to them.