Celebrating the Employee

1 12 2009

I was flying to a client this week and one of the flight attendants was on her last leg of a 40 year career with the same airline.  The pilots and other flight attendants made a number of announcements to make her feel special.  40 years is unique in this day and age.  In a way, I was expecting to see a banner when we were walking off the plane welcoming her home and I felt bad for her when there wasn’t.

A few years back Jordan’s funiture closed their doors one day and flew all of their ~1,200 employees to Bermuda for a beach day (here is a little more about it).  Why would you spend the money to charter 4 private jets and loose a day’s worth of business?

“We’re the highest-volume per-square-foot furniture retailer in the country because of our people,” says Barry. “We want to put a smile on their faces.”

If people are our greatest, why do we find it so difficult to reward them.

  • How do we treat our employees?
  • Do we do things to make them special?
  • How do we celebrate major milestones?
  • Are compensation plans created and distributed with a “take it or move on” attitude?
  • When was the last time you did something different for your employees?

Perceived Value

2 09 2009

As leaders and managers we are trained to think of employees in terms of financial value.  We give financial rewards based ideally on merit and performance.  Unfortunately, we don’t use often enough other types of rewards for motivation and morale.

I have two young children who do not yet demonstrate much grasp of financial matters.  We offered them an allowance in an attempt to motivate routine and good behavior. While we understand the value, neither kid  asked for their allowance in the last year since it was initiated.  Clearly, it is not a motivational tool for our children right now.

Both kids, however, love hockey. My youngest often lets me know she does not have as many hockey cards as her “brudder” and her brother often defaults to creating quiet games with those same cards.  It seems only natural to use the cards as a motivational device.  We will have to see how it plays out, but a couple of days in I can already see a marked difference.  What are the financial tradeoffs – the hockey card budget is about 50% of what I would spend on allowance.

  • When was the last time you created a “pat on the back” program?
  • Could you do something different to motivate project completion?
  • When was the last time you walked around the organization with $100 bills and randomly rewarded people doing the right thing?