Occasionally in our journey to find organizations we can help, we come upon groups that use cash awards to recognize their caregivers. Let’s take a look at “cash vs gifts”. Cash awards have a few perceived advantages on face value…we are told cash awards are easy to dispense and usually the comment, “my folks want cash”. As I said, “on face value” these may seem to be two good reasons…but, the easy answer most often is not the best answer. In the case of cash awards for recognition, it really is not the best for both your organization financially or for your caregivers. In this article, I will give you some excellent tools to use to make an informed decision on how to effectively recognize your caregivers for your employee recognition program. Are you ready to read more???
“Workers quit their bosses, not their company.” Perhaps you have heard that statement before. It’s easy to assess the validity of that statement for yourself when one considers the experiences of their own career.
It only makes sense that an employee’s impression of the overall company is, oftentimes, the immediate supervisor. If employees love their managers, despite any problems the organization might be facing, they’re more likely to stay. The opposite is also true. Even if the company has everything going for it, if employees are unhappy with their relationship with their supervisor, it is highly probable that an employee will leave their company.
The pivot point for employee engagement is in the line management team. The most immediate engagement results are provided formally and informally by the immediate supervisors. Priority consideration for employee engagement first begins with the well-being of our front line supervisors.
How do we support and care for these very important individuals in our organization? Let me suggest some areas to consider and assess in your own organization. Is there a servant leader attitude among upper management? Does your organization have a culture that gives empowerment for decision-making to front line supervisors? Are there good lines of communication and established levels of trust so that your line supervisors are the first to know, not the last? Do you have a culture where “please” and “thank you” are commonly heard words? Does your organization provide ready support for the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of your line supervisor?
On our HealthCare Recognition website you will find on the right side a spot called “Enroll In Our 1 Minute Manager”. This is a free service we offer to you. Much like the daily inspirational flip calendar, you can enroll to have a “Thought for the Day” e-mailed to your computer every Monday through Friday. These “thought for a day” sayings have been selected to prompt a mind to introspection…how I might improve myself by my attitude, cause me to have better empathy for co-workers, prompt me to be a better leader by my words and actions. Please enroll and give it a try…you can discontinue at any time. I think you will find these messages good reminders to help you in your own daily walk.
We developed the “Thought for the Day” in hopes that this service will help your employees. We hope that these messages can be delivered to all your line supervisors and management. If you feel these messages will be helpful for your organization, we would be happy to load e-mail addresses for you…just ask us. If you are hesitant about giving out e-mails, may we suggest you receive the daily e-mail and then distribute the message within your organization via your internal e-mail system.
You have decided upon a service award recognition program that will give your employee an opportunity to make a gift selection from a group of options. When you approach a service award provider about presenting a bid to supply your needs, most likely you talked to them about budget levels of expenditure for the years of service to be recognized. For instance, a common budget plan is to use $10 for each year of service and recognize service at 5 year intervals. This would yield $50 at 5 years, $100 at 10 years, etc.
You’ve told them what you’re willing to spend. Subsequently, your bidders all come in with proposals at the same dollar levels. How can you compare? Well, I’m sure you want to see if you are paying fair prices for the individual gifts offered in each budget level.
Insist that the bid presentation include images of the proposed product offerings. There are some core name brands that every service award supplier needs to offer. Examples are Bulova watches, Howard Miller clocks, Waterford crystal, etc. The brand manufacturers have marketed certain of their product lines to companies like service award companies. Therefore, you will see “like” items in the product offerings of every service award provider. Spend some time looking over the product offerings presented by each service award provider. All service award suppliers are utilizing the same high resolution images provided by the brand manufacturer. Even though you do not know the manufacturer part number, you will be able to tell like items by the common image.
Service award providers tend to margin all items across the board at the same level. Look over the individual product listings offered by your bidders. You only need to identify a few “bell-weather” items common to the bids to get a feel for which company is giving you the best value for the dollar you have budgeted. If you see an item common to some of your bids but not all, you might ask the provider missing the item, if they would add it to their offering.
There’s nothing wrong with a company making a profit…but you want to guard against a company making an excessive profit at your expense. Be an educated buyer!
How much should an award recognition program cost? That’s a question that many struggle with. What amount best says, “thank you”? If this is something you struggle with…be careful you don’t get caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality…trying to copy or out-do what someone else is doing.
Here’s a paradigm shift for you…recognition should cost nothing! Recognition is not in a thing presented…it’s in the sentiment given. It’s in expressing ourselves…telling someone else of the value they mean to us. It’s in words and acknowledgment before peers. Recognition is in words of affirmation and edification given in the context of community topped of with the touch of a handshake or pat on the back. How basic, but how often we forget our simple human needs. When I first started in the business world, I was taught a simple principle, KISS…perhaps you know of it as well…”keep it simple, stupid”. I am reminded of this often times as I sit through management seminars and listen to the speaker state out principles they have gleaned from the business world. As I listen, I say to my self, “dah!”…I’ve heard that before, that’s what it says in the Bible…nothing new, the same wisdom of God, just packaged in a different way and they’ve put their name on it. I guess what I am advocating is, go back to the basics about what we know about ourselves. Distill it down.
Recognition involves investment…not in money…but in ourselves…taking time to reflect and value one another.
Wouldn’t it be a radical idea for you to propose simplifying your employee recognition program and calling for a higher investment of the heart of your management. If your management can answer the question, “what do I value in my co-workers?”, they should be able to acknowledge that before others.
Create a transformation culture in your organization…a recognition culture…building up good employees into even better employees…that’s a cost effective recognition program!
In these times, finances are on everyone’s mind. Matter of fact, they are the topic of many a speaker advertising seminars and teaching to help you get out of debt. All these experts will agree on one thing…to stay out of debt, you need a plan and a budget. A budget helps discipline ourselves to stay in the bounds to accomplish our plan…and a properly funded budget insures we will carry out our well thought out plan…remember a lot of rationale goes into a plan…why let a good idea be torpedoed because of a lack of funding!
You feel your company needs an employee recognition program as a very important component towards workforce development, retention, and loyalty. Perhaps you don’t currently have a program or you feel that you have a poorly funded program (which if anything, shouts how hypocritical and cheap your company is). How do you make the case?
This may mean that an advocate for recognition and incentives in your organization (Human Resources or Sales & Marketing) may need to apply some simple accounting and business principles to make a case…in most cases, selling the plan to the financial caretakers of your organization.
When it comes to recognition, too often the first question is, “how much do we want to spend?” This is an immediate question that looks for immediate answer…”how much do we have available?” This is not planning…this is reactionary. You need a plan that will sustain itself through the good and the bad business years. A recognition service award program budget should not be dependent upon the ebb and flow of business. It must be a funded budgetary line item in your business plan. Once a company makes a commitment to service recognition, you have made a promise to your employees. Your integrity as an organization depends upon follow through…it is a business liability. A recognition budget should be a funded liability…much like accruals for payroll and income taxes…accruals should be charged against operations to fund a self-sustaining recognition budget.
Let me present an example.
What percent to sales cost does your management feel comfortable with? What can you sell them on? Perhaps 1/100 of a percent to sales might be palatable, that’s .0001 x your sales! That shouldn’t get the shareholders too excited! Let’s take a look at some numbers.
Say the annual sales of your organization are $50 million and you have 400 employees. A rate of 1/100 of a percent to sales would yield $5,000 per year towards recognition (can you afford more??).
Your company has 400 employees. An industry average shows that if years of service recognition are given at five year intervals of employment, approximately 10% of your workforce will be recognized per fiscal year. Therefore, in this case study, 40 employees will be recognized per fiscal year. Subsequently, a $5000 yearly budget for years of service means about $125 average spent per employee recognized in a fiscal year.
What about the accrual? You should be accruing as an expense against monthly sales approximately $417/month, or stated another way, $1.04/month per employee ($417 / 400 employees)!
You see, when you break information down into numbers you are speaking the language of the business managers of your organization. I don’t know about you, but I think the numbers presented above are embarrassing if you are trying to make the statement to your employee “we value you”! If you just increase the accrual per employee up from $1.04 to $2.00/month, you increase your pool of funds for recognition to $9600 (only 2/100’s of a percent to sales!) and your average per employee spent on recognition in the year goes to $240! How much more of a statement can you now make to the employee you want to recognize for their contribution for the past five years! Still seems small doesn’t it!
You see, sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Speak management’s language and you very well will be able to get a recognition service award program or more adequately fund your current program to achieve higher value impact for the morale of your organization. You’ll be a champion for your co-workers!
Obviously, this is a simplified presentation. You may not enjoy crunching numbers to justify a proposal, but I guarantee if you make the effort, your management will listen to your proposal with much more interest…and that is the first hurdle to pass. Plug in actual numbers for your organization and you can present a pretty good recognition proposal for your management.
Some of our clients have adopted a comprehensive program theme of encouraging health fitness in their organization. They have asked us to incorporate lifestyle health fitness gifts into the award programs for their employees. Expanding a health fitness theme into a recognition award program does seem consistent in the philosophy of recognition. It conveys, “we care about you”, “we value you”, and “we want the best for you”. An award gift often is selected by an employee because it is something that they would not normally purchase on their own. Something special or out of the norm becomes something that has an attached association…in this case, their time of recognition.
When one thinks about anniversaries, special events, or moments of recognition in their own life, they will admit these are times of reflection. Often time reflection leads to personal assessment. During a time of recognition, a person may be ready to take a first step they have procrastinated upon.
For our clients we have assembled product ideas consistent with encouraging and supporting a fitness theme. In searching for health fitness products suitable for a recognition awards program, we look for broad base appeal and price points that will fit various budget levels. These health fitness gifts are interspersed in our award selection catalog along with other selection choices of heirloom gifts like watches, clocks, and crystal, lifestyle items like cameras, electronics, tools and jewelry. Following are some health fitness recognition awards that we have found for our clients.
At the lower level of budget spectrums there are items like the Oregon Scientific Pedometer with panic alarm. I know of two personal friends who have made a practice of daily wearing their pedometer and track a daily goal of 10,000 steps.
The “Biggest Loser” food scale by Taylor can help a person get started on a path of healthy food preparation in food portions for their personal diet.
How about items for active lifestyles like this Dunlap Golf Putter or the CamelBak Hydration Pack for walkers, hikers, bikers, or runners.
Oregon Scientific makes a few different models of heart monitor watches. The watch shown below also comes with a chest strap.
At the higher end of the budget spectrum a Columbia Northway Comfort Bicycle can be offered. When was the last time you rode a bike? When was the last time you owned a bike? A moment of recognition can mark a start of getting back to fun and fitness.
Lastly, another example we have seen good redemption in is exercise service awards. Here we show a Stamina recumbent exercise bicycle.
A comprehensive mission and value statement of an organization can be integrated into a recognition award program. At Award Concepts our first step in working with you is to listen, listen, and learn, learn. The better we know you, the best we can serve you and your organization.
In 1953 Juan, José and Vicente Lladró make their first creations inspired by an experimental vocation in a Moorish furnace built in their own home in Almàssera (Valencia, Spain). Today, the creations of Lladro are known worldwide and valued for design and styling and innovative crystalline finish. All figurines are produced and imported from Spain.
We have gleaned over the collections of Lladro to give you some very nice ideas for heirloom gifts to recognize your healthcare professionals.
– “Making Rounds” is a 13.75” high figurine that depicts a dedicated nurse working her floor.
– The depiction of the tenderness of a nurse is captured in “Nurse” which is a 13” high piece by Nao by Lladro.
– A “Male Doctor” is caught in pose contemplating a diagnosis in a 12.25” high porcelain figurine. (8188)
– Ready with her stethoscope, Lladro has captured a 12.25” high porcelain figurine, “Female Doctor”, tending to her patient.
– The attentive 14.25” high “Nurse” looks upon her patient with understanding and compassion.
We would like to show you a broader racial diversity in the depictions, nonetheless, these are the only healthcare theme figurines we could discover in the LLadro collections.
Process of creation
Every Lladró piece of work is the result of a laborious artistic process. Sculptors follow their own inspiration but also perform, if the work requires it, a meticulous process of research and documentation. This is often the case with pieces or collections that reflect other cultures.
Every Lladro creation begins with an artistic inspiration. The sculptor then makes the first sketch of the new figure in clay, which is examined and approved by the Creativity Committee, made up by many members, one of whom comes from the Lladró family. The sketch, in clay, is reproduced in plaster to provide the first mold, which will in turn become the definitive mold for the porcelain figurine.
A mid-sized figurine may need between 15 and 20 molds and up to 300 for complex pieces. The fragments coming from these molds are joined by liquid porcelain paste to obtain an exact reproduction of the original model.
Once the figurine is reconstructed, the decoration process starts. In compliance with the sculptor’s instructions, and the surface of the piece –so far smooth– it is carved with delicate motifs that will give it its final appearance. It is at this point that the face on the sculpture gets its expression and the tiniest details are delicately crafted. In addition, the figurine is painted and if it requires a glossy finish is later covered with a coat of varnish, which grants it that crystalline look that is so characteristic of Lladró.
Many Lladró sculptures display one of the most valued and differentiating features of the brand: flowers. Each one is fully made, petal by petal, following a very delicate process in order to obtain unique, unrepeatable creations.
The test of fire
Finally, the sculpture is put to the test of fire: it remains for approximately 24 hours in a kiln at over 1300º C. Porcelain vitrifies, varnish crystallises and Lladró’s true colors, so far hidden, come to the surface.
Once the crafting process finishes, the sculpture goes through several quality controls. Most pieces make their way successfully to the end of the process, and those that do not comply with Lladró’s quality standards are destroyed.
A large team of craftsmen contribute to developing Lladró sculptures, making each of them unique: painters, ornamentalists, flower artists… All of them pool their knowledge and expertise to create a piece with the highest artistic and technical quality.
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