Do you want to
• increase job satisfaction?
• improve morale at all levels?
• reduce turnover among your staff?
An Employee of the Month program, well planned and carried out, can contribute substantially to all three. For companies all over the country, it is an effective motivator for the workforce.
Here are six basic steps that will result in a workable, beneficial program, all aspects of sound planning, good communication, open involvement of staff at every level, and lots of publicity for the program and the winners.
First, spend time planning your specific goals for the program. What does management hope to accomplish with it?
Second, find out what types of rewards that your employees would like. A simple online, email or paper survey will give you the information you need. High on most lists are gift cards, cash and paid time off. Other ideas include plaques or other forms of recognition that fit easily on a desk, the better to show it off. Letting the winner each month choose from two or three gifts is especially appreciated by employees.
Third, figure out what makes a winner. You need to be very specific about your criteria if you are going to have a program that workers respect. The standards and requirements need to be clear cut.
Here are two common ways of deciding on a winner:
• Did she attain a certain level of a performance?
• Did he meet or surpass a set work target?
But you also should include a way of rewarding unexpected excellence. Don’t limit your program to just pre-set goals. If an employee develops a money-saving protocol, or some other positive benefit to the company that is completely outside predetermined benchmarks, you need a method to potentially include him in the winner’s circle.
And then it is essential that you make your criteria freely available to staff.
Fourth, put together an unbiased judging process. Be transparent, let employees see how winners are chosen. Unless they feel the process is fair, the program will become a laughingstock, the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
Fifth, make it easy for everyone in the company to nominate an Employee of the Month. Put out ballot boxes in lunch rooms and by the coffee machine. Let people vote on the business website or by email. Make it simple. You will get more participation and the process will seem more fair.
Sixth, spread the word. Send out emails, put up posters, include a picture of the winner in the monthly newsletter. Recognition is the heart of this program.
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