FREE Ebook: How to Build an Employee of the Month Program

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.

Would your company benefit from an Employee of the Month program? Worried about how to set it up? Avoid the pitfalls of a badly conceived effort. Use our experience and expertise to help. Download our free ebook, “Tips & Tricks to Creating a Meaningful Employee of the Month Program.”

This Ebook shows you step by step how to put together an effective morale-booster. At all costs you want to avoid one that ends up reducing morale, not increasing it. When you plan your goals, define parameters, communicate these convincingly and publicize the program well, you will boost productivity and team spirit. Click here to get it. 

 

Case Study: Success of Zappos

Zappos, the profitable company providing online shoppers with footwear and more, is a well run business you can learn from.

The proof it’s well run?

• It makes money. Lots of it.

• Staff enjoy the atmosphere.

• At all levels, employees talk about the camaraderie.

• Buyers love the customer service and keep coming back.

 Follow the money

CEO Tony Hsieh said, “We still have to look at P&L statements and a balance sheet and figure out what are the best places to invest our resources in order to have the biggest return.”

These are words that accountants and banks love to hear. Each year, the company sets sound financial goals and reaches them. They focus on making a profit, doing whatever it takes to achieve it.

Which brings us to the heart of the company.

Customer service

The company is famous for going above and beyond for their customers. It is a basic tenet of the company culture.

Staff are rewarded for helpfully answering questions and taking care of problems for their shoppers. At Zappos and their associated company 6pm.com, service and the needs of the customer are stressed and considered more important than making a sale.

Not surprisingly, the store has a strong base of repeat customers, who tell friends who become customers. And so it goes, clear to the bottom line.

Camaraderie

The company encourages an atmosphere that is fun, helpful and connected. They stress PEC, or Personal Emotional Connection. One of the interesting side effects is the team spirit that results. It’s not an artificial Rah! Rah! Instead, genuine interactions are fostered, with workers getting to know other staff members outside their own department.

In fact, “cultural collisions” are facilitated by the fact that all staff use just one entrance at company headquarters. This was done on purpose, with an eye to multiplying the chance of random encounters. The resulting camaraderie leads to sharing of ideas and a culture of helpfulness that extends to the customers.

Employer Decisions That Drive Employees Crazy

In a chaotic work environment, busy can be construed as proof of productivity. Eventually the bottom line will prove it just ain’t so. But meanwhile, managers with clenched jaws and a rata-tat-tat communication style will be effective at driving their employees crazy.

Here are the sure signs that something is amiss in your department’s management style.

 Everything is important.

It probably is, but the good leaders choose and prioritize. Crazed supervisors, on the other hand, show how they value the importance of every piece of work that passes their desk by making each and every task equally urgent.

The old priority switch-a-roo.

Renumber the same priorities regularly. And if the manager does this on the same day, he gets extra brownie points. He feels that reprioritizing on the fly shows his willingness to be flexible.

Impossible goals as motivators.

This type of leader has a complex algorithm that helps him decide team goals. The computations involve some inverse ratio of the difficulty of the task compared to the number of people available to work on it, multiplied by the shortness of the impending deadline. He then presents these to his staff as non-negotiable.

He who is all-seeing, all-deciding.

This type of manager makes sure that everything, without fail, passes through his hands. He makes decisions about major, intermediate, minor and picayune affairs. If he didn’t, how would everyone know how important he is?

Guilt as motivator.

If a team member goofs, which given the chaos is guaranteed, then he is publicly rebuked. This is a carefully conceived management style. It does three things:

• proves it’s not the manager’s fault

• motivates the other employees

• prevents any and all future mistakes, by anyone, at any time

Hourly updates.

The official word for this is micromanaging. The leader only sees the second half of the word, managing. She makes sure her nose is poking in everywhere an employee is trying to actually get something done. This way she can disrupt this unruly worker, proving once again how vital she is to the workings of the department.

And vital indeed these managers are. They prove repeatedly that without their presence, something might actually get done.

 

Are You Micromanaging Your Employees?

Hovering irritates staff and gives managers ulcers. But it’s a fine line. How do you make sure the work is being done right, and on time, without interjecting yourself into the workflow? The answer at several companies is to let employees take accountability, to empower them to assume ownership of their jobs.

This doesn’t just happen. Management must set up a culture that feeds this proprietary sense of responsibility. Successful businesses who use this approach use five strategies to build a culture that supports accountability.

One. Bring workers on board who fit in.
For accountability to work, you clearly need to hire people who understand the concept and practice it in their own life. Look for workers who are proactive seek out information without being led by the hand have a history of exerting themselves on behalf of the team

Don’t settle for just any employee. Be willing to wait to fill a position instead of simply putting a warm body in it. Make sure the people in hiring positions understand how to spot the right talent.

Two. Peer pressure can be a force for good.

Making it clear that each employee in a group is accountable to every other employee keeps expectations achievable but high. One way to accomplish this is by letting members of a team give management feedback anonymously on each of their colleagues. This lets supervisors get a genuine understanding of the team dynamics. The result is a culture of staff working together.

Three. Make your expectations crystal clear.

Give detailed instructions and feedback. Employees can’t work in a vacuum. Make sure each goal and task on a project is clearly articulated. Give the employees a chance to ask all of their questions. Have a method of tracking progress. Make sure benchmarks and milestones through the course of each project are defined. Don’t be afraid to reevaluate team and employee goals. Meet often to look at signs of progress and success along the way and to spot where efforts could be better.

Four. Let the worker decide.

The person actually doing the job needs authority, not just responsibility. If you give her decision-making authority, she will be much more inclined to own her job and work toward its success. The greater the voice that each member of the staff has in his workload, deadlines and methods of accomplishing tasks, the more positive and empowered he feels. The company is rewarded with an energized, highly motivated worker.

Five. Let workers buy in.

Literally, let the worker own a piece of the company. Stock options shouldn’t just for upper management. One Texas firm has had major success by giving employees phantom participation interests, much like stocks except based on individual projects.

Empowerment leads to accountability, which leads to a sense of ownership, which leads to a strong workforce and a solid bottom line.

An Article on Dress Codes For Your Employees to Read!

The onset of summer and warmer weather means a change in clothes that are worn to work. One aspect to keep in mind is the attire that is appropriate. Many companies often have a dress code or polices for proper work attire. Wearing flip flops and tank tops are often not permitted by most businesses. Review a few tips to properly dress for work during the summer without violating any company policies.

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