New Product Line… Need Your Help

As many of you know, Successories is releasing a new line of wall décor. We are bringing motivation to a new dimension. With its sleek reverse-beveled edge, this new product provides a 16”x24” full bleed image for our new modern motivational designs. On the cutting edge of inspiration, our customers can now create a unique focus on their organization’s goals with this new line of exclusive wood mounted wall décor.

Put the Spotlight on Customer Service!

Take time out to recognize the front-line contributions of your customer service staff during Customer Service Week, October 4-8 2010. By acknowledging the importance of their direct role in the success of the company, you’ll be arming them with a positive attitude that will be reflected in every customer interaction.

In addition to focusing on the customer service department, this special week provides the perfect opportunity to promote an internal customer service culture that links every member of your organization to the customer.

Exceptional Customer Service starts on the inside.

Though it’s easy to forget and often not recognized by companies, customer service is every employee’s job. Regardless of position or title, each employee serves someone else in the company with a service or product. It’s the IT worker ensuring flawless systems support to the finance manager who generates the detailed report that helps the product manager plan the new product line that will be executed by the product developer who creates the merchandise that will be purchased by the customer. When each “provider” in this service chain delivers quality service to their internal customers, the external customer is the ultimate winner.

This 360-degree approach to customer service has been transforming the workplace in recent years. With Customer Service Week just around the corner, now is the perfect time to incorporate this customer-centric strategy into your organization’s long-term plans.

Start building your internal customer culture with these easy-to-implement ideas:

  • Encourage spontaneous, year-round recognition. Pass out a service-themed lapel pin or medallion to each person in the company at the beginning of the year. During the course of the year, employees can use that item to reward an employee who has provided them with exceptional service. The excitement this type of program generates is infectious and highly effective.
  • Celebrate service as a company. Instead of holding a traditional year-end Customer Service department award ceremony, invite the entire organization to an “Excellence in Service” awards celebration. In addition to presenting your external Customer Service awards, recognize one individual in every department for providing extraordinary internal customer service during the year.
  • Instill customer culture in new hires. Train new employees to think like service providers from their very first day on the job. By providing them with a strong grounding in this initiative, you’ll find new hires to be important agents for change throughout the organization.

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Celebrate Your People

Take a day to celebrate those who connect with your customers and ultimately create success for your organization: your salespeople. Now would be a great time to create an awards program for all of your top performers…anyone who helps sell your product to the customer.

In an excerpt from his Power of One book, Companies Don’t Succeed, People Do!, Mac Anderson, the founder of Successories, shows us easy ways to recognize your top performers.

“Recognition is the art of making people feel important. Ongoing award programs that are consistently maintained, such as “Employee of the Month” awards for the company or department, can be extremely effective. Focus on the areas that fit your needs and you’ll create a recognition culture that will make your company a great place to work.

•Establish an “Extra Mile” award for extraordinary effort, a “Team Player” award recognizing an unselfish spirit, or “Customer Service” awards, which can be awarded for individual acts of service or for an employee’s outstanding attitude.

•Create sales awards for the day, the week, or the month.

•Start a “Rookie of the Year” award, presented to a new employee who has the best attitude or who has made a great contribution to sales or profits.

•Initiate productivity awards to celebrate contributions in manufacturing, warehouse and shipping environments.

•Don’t forget service awards to recognize key employee anniversaries such as 1, 5 and 10 years, as well as safety awards tied to employee accident records, and awards for outstanding suggestions.

The greatest teams are comprised of motivated and unselfish individuals. Your job as a manager is to build a great team and you know your success is tied to how well you can motivate each person to reach their full potential. You believe in the power of recognition and want to do more, but there is no formal support at the top. What do you do?

Act now. Go with your gut. Put your ideas into action! View it as an opportunity to blaze the recognition trail for your company. Your team will benefit, your company will benefit, and your career will benefit.”

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Gaining Value From Values

Filled with great ideas, this is one business handbook you can't afford to miss. Now with a specially reduced price!

Successories is proud to introduce our latest book from the Power of One series, Gaining Values From Values by Robert J. Klein. In this book, the author shows you how to encourage your employees to embody the cultural vision of your company, embrace business challenges, and drive value from corporate ideals. This excerpt discusses the importance of identifying and embracing values that make sense for your organization.

Choose Values That Matter

The first step in empowering employees to drive value from corporate values is to choose values that matter. This statement may sound deceptively simple, but in company after company it is the opposite that is more often the case.

In some companies, leaders fail by opting for values they never really believe in. Instead, they choose values with “face”. They sound good; they please the public. But they have no heart.

In others, the selection process is finished without ever connecting how core values will drive business. The values selected are seen as “nice to haves” instead of “have to haves.” They are window dressing that leadership plans to act on some day, when business is better.

There are a multitude of reasons, all with the same end result: it is the failure to choose values that matter that keeps companies and their employees from driving those values to profitability and gain.

Values that matter seldom come easy, and never come cheap. They are specific in nature and leave little room for companies to hide from when events in the marketplace come to test their mettle. In the mid-eighties, when the Tylenol tampering case first came to light, Johnson and Johnson’s commitment to first and foremost care for the health and safety of mothers and their babies became abundantly clear when the company immediately pulled all Tylenol products off the shelves. Aligning with that core value cost the company millions, but returned it tenfold when the marketplace responded to the convictions of their actions.

In the same year, another company faced a similar product threat to health and safety. Its corporate values touted fiscal responsibility and commitment to profit and growth, and its actions were woefully lacking with regard to public safety and concern. In the shadow of that response, the brand has yet to recover.

When choosing the values that will define your company, ask the hard questions. Are there any values more important than the one being considered in defining who we are and what we stand for? If the answer is yes, even in reference to another company core value, then the value being considered does not belong on the short list.

Is our promise to commit to this value a promise we can keep? Is it one we want to hold ourselves accountable for? Is it one that our customers care deeply about and will pay for?

The big, immutable values—don’t lie; don’t cheat; don’t steal—are the easy ones to subscribe to and the ones hard pressed to ignite passion in a workforce or its customers. If you want to drive value from corporate values, make it personal, make it practical, and make it count!

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Job Stress

The nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. New technology, new insecurities about layoffs and downsizings, and new job demands all lead to stress in the workplace. And job stress poses a serious threat to the health of workers and, ultimately, the health of an organization. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides insight on job related stress and how we can alleviate the problem within an organization.

Job stress has become a common and costly problem in the American workplace, leaving few workers untouched. Recent studies report the following:

• One-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.

• Three-fourths of employees believe the worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.

• Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress.

• An estimated 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress.

• This unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602.00 per worker per year.

There are several kinds of job-related stressors that are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their jobs—all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line.

The Design of Tasks. Heavy workload, infrequent rest breaks, long work hours and shiftwork; hectic and routine tasks that have little inherent meaning, do not utilize workers’ skills, and provide little sense of control.

Management Style. Lack of participation by workers in decision-making, poor communication in the organization, lack of family-friendly policies.

Interpersonal Relationships. Poor social environment and lack of support or help from coworkers and supervisors.

Work Roles. Conflicting or uncertain job expectations, too much responsibility, too many “hats to wear.”

Career Concerns. Job insecurity and lack of opportunity for growth, advancement, or promotion; rapid changes for which workers are unprepared.

Environmental Conditions. Unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic problems.

So, What Can You Do?

Recent studies of “healthy” organizations suggest that policies benefiting worker health also directly benefit the bottom line. NIOSH research has identified organizational characteristics associated with both healthy, low-stress work and high levels of productivity. These characteristics include:

• Recognition of employees for good work performance

• Opportunities for career development

• An organizational culture that values the individual worker

• Management actions that are consistent with organizational values

Start De-stressing Your Team Today!

Although it is not possible to give a universal prescription for preventing stress at work, it is possible to offer small steps you can take to alleviate stress in your organization.

Make Work Fun

Remember, employees spend an average of 40-50 hours a week at work—almost 1/2 of their waking hours! Give them a well-deserved break—you can even designate a short weekly “recess” where they are encouraged to relax, socialize and play! Hand out stress toys, provide snacks and they’ll get back to their desks energized and relaxed!

Recognize Your Team

Make one day a week “Acknowledgement Day”! Hand out cards to your people and have them write a short note to someone they think has done something well that week. Write your own cards identifying something positive about everyone. After they are given out, present a special award to the outstanding performer of the week. Make this a regular event and make sure everyone is made to feel important in your organization.

Get Everyone Involved

There are a lot of decisions that are made every day in an organization—getting your team involved in some of these decisions allows them to feel part of the process. It might be as simple as having a weekly status meeting with your team where everyone has the opportunity to talk about their workload, share concerns and issues, and all be involved in the problem-solving process.

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Reinforce Your Corporate Values

The values of your organization help drive your company to success. That is why it is imperative that you define what’s important to your organization, and then communicate those values at every opportunity.

Jack Miller, the founder of Quill Corporation and the current owner of Successories, has written a book about organizational values called Build a Winning Corporate Culture. In it, he talks about Quill and how their company values lead them to success.

“We never missed an opportunity to reinforce our values. At company events, during training sessions, at meetings, in one-on-one conversations as well as in our bonus programs and our yearly profit-sharing meetings…everywhere possible, we acted on and/or talked about one or more of our values.

Verbalizing your mission and values alone may work when you are a small firm, where you see and talk to everyone in the company every day. But even then, it isn’t the best way to create a culture. Being forced to carefully think through your mission and values by having to write them out and share them with others is a far better way to ‘institutionalize’ those ideas so that as the company grows, every new employee knows them, and every current employee is reminded of them.

But just writing them out and giving a copy to every employee isn’t enough either. All too often, the booklet ends up in a desk drawer, never to be looked at again. You must constantly communicate and reinforce the mission and values. Your actions and those of other employees are by far the strongest communicator and reinforcer.

In addition, your entire company should overflow with reminders…signs on the walls, messages on products employees use every day, the goals set for bonuses, the way your reward system works, and, very importantly, the way in which you publicly acknowledge those who have done an outstanding job.

A great culture, solidly reinforced day in and day out, until it becomes an integral part of everyone’s minds and how everyone thinks, can work wonders. It can mold the organization into an almost invincible powerhouse that can drive you on to great success, not to mention the great pride and satisfaction it generates in everyone involved.”

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When You Think About Recognition, What Comes to Mind?

When you think about recognition, what comes to mind? A pat on the back and a handshake? Maybe recognition is a gift card or a commemorative watch. It could be all of these things, but when most people think recognition, they think awards.

Awards are a wonderful symbol of an employee’s accomplishments. And it helps employees stay motivated and energized about their job. A recent survey conducted by a Connecticut-based recruitment firm shows that employees who feel recognized and valued at their job are more satisfied and more productive.

The end of the year is a wonderful opportunity to think about starting the new year off right with a recognition program for your organization. But how do you begin? Here are a couple of key questions to ask when planning your program:

1. What is your goal? Whether you need to update your old recognition program or begin a brand new one, establishing goals can help focus your efforts.

Common goals include:

  • increasing sales
  • building morale
  • improving customer service
  • encouraging safety
  • fostering teamwork

2. What is your budget? While a recognition program doesn’t have to break the bank, it’s important to budget enough money to recognize your people throughout the entire year. Make sure you calculate in all elements of your program: awards, cards, gifts, certificates, etc. It’s important to include several levels of accomplishments to easily recognize as many employees as possible.

3. Who is your audience? You may want to consider developing multiple programs for the different departments in your company or based on your goals. There are many ways to recognize your people including outstanding service, length of service, top sales, excellence, spirit and safety, just to name a few.

4. How will you communicate it? You can’t just build a program and expect your employees to understand it, you must advertise who is eligible, the criteria for winning, the rewards they’ll receive, and when the awards will be presented. Build excitement around your program and make it something employees feel they can achieve.

5. What is the reward? Here’s a chance to make your recognition special. Make sure you give them an award that clearly states their achievement. Give them a hand-written card that thanks them for their efforts. And decide now if you would like to give them a reward such as a gift card or small gift.

And don’t forget to continually monitor your program and get feedback from the people who matter most—your employees. A successful recognition program that sincerely reflects your appreciation can prove to be an invaluable tool in motivating your employees.

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