It was a dark and stormy night. Or, more likely, it's a normal workday in your company, and management is mystified about why the
best employees keep slipping through their fingers. They've offered more
money, flexible schedules, on-site childcare -- but nothing seems to
hold employees. Now, they're looking to HR for answers.
It's time to think seriously about what will keep and attract good people.
Maybe it's time to consider employee recognition and rewards. We're not
talking about a token coffee mug thrown in after five years, but a substantial,
meaningful recognition award
program. Companies with just such a program say it's the missing piece in
the puzzle of employee retention, motivation and attitude.
Feeding the need within Unfortunately, most organizations
have no idea how under-appreciated workers feel, and many still wonder
why so many employees leave. While many of these companies compete
for employees with pay, promotions and other enticements, too often
employees are looking for something simpler: they want recognition. Ignore
that human longing and you fall prey to a hard statistic: 79 per cent of
employees who resign their positions cite "perceptions of not being appreciated"
as a key reason for leaving, a survey by the Society for Human
Resource Management showed.
For a company trying to stay
ahead in a competitive world, this decline in employee commitment
could be the difference between corporate success and oblivion.
The good news is, some of Canada's best companies have discovered
that they can build employee commitment and productivity by making
frequent, powerful emotional connections with their people. They have
found the correlation between employee recognition and corporate success
and are benefiting from well-documented increases in employee satisfaction,
productivity and profitability. Build a culture of recognition
and make sure good employees know they are valued and needed. The
formula is simple and timetested: satisfied employees equal satisfied
Effective award presentations.
Skillful award presentations can turn a poor recognition program into
solid gold. Remember back to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games when
Catriona Le May Don won speed skating gold for Canada. As she
sped toward the finish line, Doan recalled that the only thing that kept
her sprinting through grueling pain was the thought of standing on that
medal podium, listening to her national anthem and having the gold
medal placed around her neck. Later she stood on that medal stand, tears
streaming down her face. What people remember, what Doan will always
remember, is the presentation.
Corporate recognition awards
can truly be enduring symbols of achievement, but the best organizations
have learned that they must make a recognition event something
memorable -- with almost as much ceremony and emotion as an Olympic-medal
event. Employees work just as hard for organizations as Doan did
training for the Olympics. Every now and then, they want to be set up
on a pedestal and have someone thank them for their contributions.
They want to feel that someone is aware of the "thousand little things"
they've done over the years that no one has ever acknowledged.
Remember to: 1) Talk about the company's goals and how the employee
contributes to the organization's success; 2) Be specific about the individual's
accomplishments; and 3) Highlight the award, especially the symbolic
When people devote most of their
waking hours to a company, they want to feel a connection. Your company's
logo can help make that connection.
A corporate symbol can be featured
on a recognition award in a variety of ways -- through engraving, stitching
or embroidering, or through the use of an emblem made of precious
metals. In fact, when employees receive awards featuring their corporate symbol
crafted in gold with diamonds or other fine gems, the awards become,
in effect, corporate "gold medals."
Another benefit: your employees
will use symbolic awards for years to come, and every use will remind them
of their achievement. Take the example
of Don Campbell, a journeyman pipe fitter for Weyerhaeuser, a forest products
company with 45,000 employees in Canada and the United States.
"I was in a restaurant (in the States) on vacation and was wearing
my 25-year Weyerhaeuser service award ring," says Don. "A guy and his wife
a couple of tables over said, 'You work at Weyerhaeuser? ' And we started
talking. I get that a lot. People notice it and they say, I understand that's a
great company to work for."
John McVeigh is the President
of O. C. Tanner Canada, the
country's leading recognition
provider. He can be reached at
john. mcveigh@ octanner. com
Appropriate Outplacement Packages
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
Q : When putting a termination package together, calculating the amount of severance is one thing, but how much and what type of out-placement service should I provide?
Many of the same criteria
that are used to determine the appropriate severance amount when dismissing
an employee are used when selecting an effective "company sponsored"
career transition service. Most outplacement services have a time
component attached to them, and asking the question "how long should it
take a particular person to become gainfully reemployed?" is a good starting
point when selecting a package.
The use of professional Career
Transition counseling has been around for some time and although well understood
in the Human Resources community, the service it provides is
perhaps more in need now than ever before. In spite of the positive job
creation that is present in many markets, there still remains a large number
of people that have been downsized and are looking for work. Add to this
the number of employees that are "underutilized" because they are
currently working parttime or on contact, and the need for job-search
assistance remains a necessity.
When considering the amount, or
length of time, that you should be providing for outplacement, besides the
obvious (" cost"), consider the following:
1) Length of service, salary, and
position. Typically the longer the employee has been with you, the
higher their salary, or the more senior their position, the longer it will take
them to find a job.
2) Technical skills, linguistic
capability, and flexibility of job status. In general individuals with a technical
education, or training, those
that are bilingual, and those that are
able to consider parttime or contract
work will relocate faster.
3) Market Flexibility. Individuals
who are not able to look
outside of the Ottawa market, or who's experience is limited to one
market sector, such as Federal Government, or High Tech, may not be
as attractive to other sectors, and therefore have less options for employment
in today's marketplace.
4) Age and other factors that
may limit options. Being too young with limited experience, or at the other
end of the spectrum, being older, with out of date capabilities, can extend
the time of the re-employment process. Coming back into the workforce
after a lengthy absence, or having a very limited network of contacts can
also impact on the amount of time it will take to get back into a career.
5) Bad fit or miss-match of skills to current job requirements. Sometimes
the individual needing outplacement assistance discovers that they
don't want to get back into a similar job to the one they left. This may
require that they consider their "transferable skills" and reposition
themselves for a job in an unfamiliar sector.
In general, our experience has been that the most effective and humane
criteria of all boils down to respect for the circumstances of the
individual being downsized. Another way to look at it is to "place yourself
in their shoes." If you were that person, what would be a fair outplacement
service? If it were your son or daughter, what would you want for them?
Once you have a good handle on the variables that you want to consider
when sponsoring an outplacement package, you may want to take into
consideration how the services are to be delivered.
Here is often where cost comes into the equation as the major
differentiator to quality of service. In general, you often have to decide between
group and seminar/ internet-based service, versus personal, one-to-
one reemployment counselling.
Cost is of course a major factor
when buying any service. What makes purchasing outplacement service
somewhat unique is that the person buying the service is typically not the
person that benefits directly from the quality of the service provided.
Rob Notman is President of KWA
Partners in Ottawa. He will be a
featured presenter at the IPM
Full Day Conference in Ottawa on
June 7, 2004.
How do attitudes affect performance?
THE HIDDEN MOTIVATORS
Q : How do attitudes affect performance?
Everyone has basic values or world attitudes that are important and unique ways of satisfying their individual needs. These attitudes
help initiate behaviour and are sometimes called the hidden motivators
because they are not always readily observable. When leaders learn to
focus on what people want as a result of their values and attitudes, they
are able to maximize performance through impacting these motivators.
The foundations of what an attitude is originate in Eduard Spranger's
work 'Types of Men'. Today, we often describe individuals as having
a good attitude or a bad attitude. Spranger defined attitudes as not
good or bad but as a filter through which we look at the world: what we
value and what we do not value.
The positive valuing of things
translates into six hierarchical attitudes.
The Six Attitudes
Theoretical -A passion to
discover, systematize, and analyze; a search for knowledge.
Utilitarian -A passion to gain return on investment of time,
resources and money.
Aesthetic -A passion to
experience the impressions of the world and achieve form and
harmony in life; self-actualization.
Social -A passion to eliminate
hate and conflict in the world and to assist others in becoming
all they can be.
Individualistic -A passion to
achieve position and to use that position to affect and influence
Traditional -A passion to seek
out and pursue the higher meaning in life and achieve a system