For as long as institutional memory serves, the Best Practices For Internals group has been a strong venue for local corporate training professionals to share best practices. ATD EPA Chapter President Joan Zachary of Martin Guitar heads the group, and has announced that she is looking for a new BPFI director to take over her responsibilities next year.
The BPFI group meets every other month for a trainer’s lunch and learn. Members from local companies such as Victaulic, Lehigh Valley Health Network, B Braun, Carpenter and Aesculap attend regularly armed with best practices and valuable discussion.
November Discussion: Employee Recognition Programs at Local Corporations
In November, the BPFI forum met at Martin to discuss employee recognition programs. Most companies reported that they have some kind of reward and award system in place and that people respond well to recognition of all sorts. As borne out by the literature, the attendees reported that monetary value was not as important as the simple act of saying thank you and acknowledging a job well done.
Pooja Rudra of Victaulic said that her company uses four types of recognition programs:
1. Thank you’s
2. Most improved or zero defects
4. Key milestones
Employees can simply get “applause” for doing something nice to attending a dinner to recognize accomplishments.
At Aesculap, Danny Carrion said the company offers high-value gift cards for performance achievement but he finds people need to be encouraged to participate. Top performers can win a business trip to Germany to company headquarters with the president.
Lehigh Valley Health Network offers a selection of gift cards, trophies and company-sponsored parties and events.
At Martin Guitar, Joan said she can publicly recognize an employee for just doing something nice. The big motivator, though, is that retiring employees can select a Martin guitar upon retirement based on their years of service. Knoll does something similar for its employees who can choose a piece of furniture from the catalog upon retirement as a thank you for their years of service.
Mary Frances Mika of B. Braun said people receive a birthday bonus in their paychecks. The company also recognizes outstanding individual achievement with awards for innovation or cost savings. The company holds awards dinners and has a highly structured formal recognition process that she described and “powerful” and “emotional”.
Pitfalls of Employee Recognition
Rewards, honors and gifts are not one-size-fits-all. Some work environments and employees do not receive programs well.
Among the pitfalls of pulling off a successful employee recognition program are:
· Employee jealousy
· Reluctance to participate or not fond of public recognition
· Types of employees and departments differ in their acceptance
· Nominating and decision-making process
· Motivators vary by individual
Above all, the group agreed that well-implemented employee recognition programs can contribute to a positive work environment and encourage stellar performance.
BPFI Plans More Great Discussions
BPFI meets every other month at a corporate location within the Eastern PA chapter vicinity. All internal corporate trainers and consultants who are on long-term contracts accompanied by a representative of their client are welcome to come to this tradition of exchanging best practices. Bring one. Learn one. Be there.
If you are interested in taking over this very successful forum, contact Joan Zachary.