Leadership awards for excellence is something every company should be using as a tool for better productivity and increase profitability of the company.
Many company leaders never think of using the award/reward system because they feel it may be too costly especially in today’s world of a stressed economy. However, it is my belief from past experience that this is something too vital in a company culture to dismiss. It may cost less to have an award/reward system that creates an atmosphere of eager employees vying for awards so they do all they can to out-perform one another than to make the decision not to put it in motion.
Employees who feel unappreciated and unrewarded for their excellent work soon join the ranks of those who just do enough to ‘get by’ and avoid being fired. Once that begins, it’s an insidious, unspoken mindset that says, “Don’t bother being great, no one will care anyway.”
This attitude can create a boring, uninspired team of slackers who only want a paycheck and could care less about great performance. Remember, the company culture and attitudes come directly from above.
There’s a large financial services company that was founded in the 70’s by an ex-high school football coach. He’s now retired to live in luxury but when he was at the helm of the company his team members would practically faint if they received a t-shirt from him during an award presentation at company conventions.
Imagine, a $10 t-shirt being more highly prized than thousands of dollars. Of course, it had to do with what he had created as a company culture but also the fact that he was motivating, uplifting and cared about his people and they knew it was from the heart.
He was no pushover by any means, but even when he was calling someone a “Dadgum Dead Butt,” people just accepted it, knew they had better shape up and it actually motivated them to perform better.
Giving Awards Can Go A Long Way
An award/reward signifies to the person receiving it that they are special and their hard work is being recognized. Naturally, if a company can afford cash rewards that is a huge motivator.
In this economy, imagine the excitement of receiving a few hundred extra dollars. Don’t you think when the other employees see the award presentation and know there is money to be made by improving and excelling at job performance more people will begin to shine?
Better job performance can bring in more money for the company and ensure longevity and improve the company “brand.”
When people go to work for a new employer there is nothing worse than a low-level manager telling them, “Here’s your desk, here’s what you need to do so get busy.” No matter how many college degrees someone has earned and no matter how great a job they did at their previous company in the same position with a similar job description, each company has different rules and ways of doing different tasks.
Shoving a company handbook in a new employees hand and expecting them to be up to speed in the first week is not only a mistake, but unwise. Perhaps the new person is a self-starter and can figure out things on their own, but many aren’t so why start them off at a disadvantage?
If several new people have just been hired you could hold a few days of company orientation and they can support one another in getting up to speed. In the case of only one new hire, choose someone who has a similar job description, make sure they will be considerate, show an interest in the new hire and help them for a few days until they are familiar with the day to day tasks and projects.
Giving people a clear, concise pathway to success from the very beginning will make it easier for them to assimilate into the company and start off on the right foot. Giving them an overview of how competence and excellence will bring them rewards can have someone off and running, eager to please and the potential of becoming an employee most companies would love to have on the payroll.
By continually training your team, you will immediately give them the tools they will need for them to receive a leadership award.
Communicate What Is Expected
Make sure all employees are kept informed of the long-term plans of the company, the corporate vision, mission and any major developments that are in play. An open door policy does wonders for company participation and allowing workers to discuss issues or ideas with upper-management will help the team see the business and leaders as caring and compassionate.
Any new and innovative idea presented by an employee that could save the company money or increase productivity should be addressed immediately and if implemented, the employee with the suggestion or idea should be rewarded and done in a public setting during a company meeting or convention.
Higher levels of employee engagement and interest in helping the company move forward creates better productivity, better service and a lower attrition rate for workers. This can make the award/reward system even more important and worthy of some extra time and money.
Tips for Dynamic Recognition of Peak Performance
An established outline for what performance or projects completed would bring about an award or reward should be readily available so employees understand what it will take to receive the perks of a job well-done.
- Each employee must be eligible and qualify equally for the awards.
- Those who perform at a level above the others will be rewarded according to what they have done.
- Make sure the reward/award is given soon after the performance or action was taken that met the criteria for excellence.
- Never allow favoritism or let managers pick and choose from their “favorites” who receives the kudos and/or award. It should never be an “it’s my turn to be rewarded” scenario. When that happens, it smacks of favoritism and loses the power of something special.
The old “Employee of the Month” is so overused and rather meaningless in corporate cultures today.
Make it a surprise if possible unless it’s a contest. Of course, it never hurts to have an occasional company contest if possible, especially when sales is involved.
“Top Salesperson of the Week,” month or year can be exciting, especially when there is a money prize at the other end.
Going to lunch with the boss should be a special event to be valued. Sometimes, a boss has been kind enough to take all their employees, if it’s a small company, on a monthly basis.
Eventually, it becomes just one more thing to do and no one really appreciates it. Some may even begin to think of it as an entitlement and if and when the boss changes the routine there may be lots of resentment in the ranks.
In other words, think of something important like recognizing an employee who closes the most sales on the phone without having to go to a one-on-one meeting with the prospect. Or someone who comes up with an idea that saves the company thousands of dollars. Don’t announce a contest or let anyone know you’re even noticing, then check the records and call a company meeting in the boardroom and honor the employee with a few minutes of kudos then present them with an award/reward of some kind.
Be creative and always let them know you care.
Your employees will not only realize you’re very aware of who is performing well but additionally whose performance is average and ordinary because they didn’t get recognition.
Leadership awards could be enough to get their attention and even create an improved work ethic.