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Award Presentation Worksheet

January 31, 2015 by  

Do you have an upcoming employee recognition speech to give? Are you presenting at your organization’s next recognition event or banquet? Download our handy Award Presentation Worksheet! Simply print and fill out a worksheet for each employee you are recognizing. Be sure to show your appreciation with meaningful, relevant facts and stories of your employees. Give each individual’s worksheet special thought and consideration. Your employees will love what you have to say about them!

Download Award Presentation Worksheet here:

How to Give a Great Recognition Speech

September 18, 2014 by  

Have you seen the 2010 film (and Best Picture winner at the 83rd Academy Awards) The King’s Speech? Here’s a quick rundown: Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to overcome his speech impediment, visits an Australian speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. With some assistance, King George was able to dramatically improve his speech techniques, and in return, brought together a country on the brink of war. The King’s Speech is a moving story about a man whose speech-giving abilities were, to put it lightly, less than stellar at first.

Many HR managers often find themselves in a position to give speeches to recognize their employees. These managers may not be the most gifted, or talented, public speakers. If you are one of these managers, do not despair. I’ve written this article for you and the rest of those HR managers need a little help when it comes to giving employee recognition speeches. Remember: a good speech can motivate, engage and inspire an employee even more than an engraved clock or expensive MP3 player.

Here’s the typical scenario: you’re invited to make a speech recognizing a great employee. You’d like to show that employee how much the organization appreciates his or her hard work and you want your other employees to recognize your appreciation. This means a lot to employees, so take some time to prepare a personalized speech.

First off, thank everyone involved with setting up the ceremony (if there is one) and making the event possible. Thank the employee, tell him or her how important they have been to the company and how much you appreciate them for their hard work. Explain to the rest of the staff how the employee achieved this award, whether it was performance-based or a more traditional years of service award.

Tell a specific story about the employee that highlights his or her performance, as an example. List the employee’s accomplishments and describe how each accomplishment affected the company. You want other employees to understand the depth of your appreciation and to also realize that they can achieve similar successes someday.

Make your employees laugh and feel relaxed while you explain the importance of good work. Use a tasteful joke in your speech, where appropriate. Employees will appreciate your light attitude and may view you as more relatable than they did before. People will do their best work for employers they like. End your speech by thanking the employee again for all the hard work done and reminding the rest of your employees of these accomplishments. Leave everyone feeling good at the end.

Some other tips include the need to practice saying your speech prior to giving it. Also, time the speech as you say it out loud so you know how much time you need.

So there you have it. Just like King George VI, you have a voice! Now use it to show your employees how much they mean to you and your organization. They will certainly appreciate it.

How to Write a Wellness Plan

July 10, 2014 by  

Your body is your temple.  You only have one body.  There are so many different phrases and sayings, but they all focus on one thing; take care of your body by making healthy decisions today for tomorrow.

In order to guide your choices and to reach your goals for a healthier you, it is important to establish and follow a personal wellness plan.  If you are currently experiencing health issues, this is even more essential to implement into your daily activities.

It isn’t difficult to put a personal wellness plan together.  It’ll take some calculating and a little research and can be put together using Microsoft Excel quite easily.

How to Write a Wellness Plan

The purpose in creating a wellness plan and “putting it to paper” is to identify your health goals and provide a plan to follow to reach these goals.  Even the best intentions can quickly be forgotten when not written down due to the day-to-day, but when you take the time to research and put a plan in writing, it is easier to hold oneself accountable.

  1. Decide whether you will be focusing on the short-term or the long-term.  A short-term wellness plan is used to target and correct specific health problems.  For instance, high cholesterol would be something a short-term wellness plan would focus on and the goal of this plan would be to identify ways to lower your cholesterol.  A long-term wellness plan focuses on your daily health for 6 months or more.  Included in this would be weight control, muscle build, heart rates/pulse, etc.
  2. What are your goals?  Does cancer run in the family?  Do you plan to get pregnant in the near future?  These are reasons for having a health and wellness plan.  Develop a plan to help prevent cancer.  Develop a plan to provide for a healthy pregnancy.  And so on.  Do you get colds every winter?  Be proactive and put together a short-term plan to reduce your chances of getting a cold this coming winter.  Identify your goals and then put together the wellness plan to help you achieve these goals.
  3. Identify the steps that will help you reach and achieve your goals.  Examples of steps to help would be:
  • Recipes for healthy meals
  • Consumption of known herbs or medicines for your symptoms or for prevention
  • Exercise regimen
  • Rewards that you give yourself for staying on the plan or reaching identified milestones within your plan

The rewards step is important because it provides a way to identify milestones within your plan that once reached and the reward is made it helps to reinforce the overall goal of the plan and the greater reward down the road.  It is hard to stick to a plan when you don’t see any immediate results, often with a wellness plan you won’t see immediate results, but by rewarding yourself along the way, in a sense, you are seeing results.

No two wellness plans will be the same.  You need to take into consideration your health goal, your daily activities, your diet, and what motivators you can identify to help reward you an keep you on track to reaching the overall goal of your short-term or long-term wellness plan.

Managers are Key for Successful Employee Recognition

July 8, 2014 by  

If you have a job in today’s economy you’re quite thankful, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t thinking about or looking for a position at another company.  No, it is still important to keep employees engaged and to show that they are appreciated.  Just because the economic environment of today is brutal does not mean that employees aren’t interviewing or considering changing employers.

An Employment Confidence Survey by found that 42 percent of respondents stated that they expect to leave their current job within 24 months.  This should cause alarm to all companies and human resource professionals as this is a sign of what could cause a difficult employee retention challenge in the future.

A wise man once said that a company is only as strong as its weakest employee…I actually just said that and I borrowed and revised it from the old adage, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”  This is so true!  As an employer, your greatest asset and competitive weapon is in your employees and the talent (natural and learned) that they bring to your organization.  As such, recognition programs must first focus on managers and their ownership of recognition and retention practices.

With the goal of retaining talent now and as the economy recovers and more and more job opportunities become available, managers can help with company’s employee retention success by the following the 3 P’s of Employee Recognition Tactics.


This is important.  Simply put, be punctual when recognizing.  The most effective recognition is when the recognition is timely.  Although managers should strive to be physically present when giving recognition, business travel and remote locations can make this difficult.  Given these situations, a timely follow-up phone call or video conference should occur…email as the last resort (let’s face it…its impersonal).


All good intentions can be lost with one simple misspelling or mispronunciation.  When publicly recognizing employees from a manager who doesn’t work with the employees on a day-to-day basis it is imperative for that manager to review and practice of first and last names, job titles, descriptions, purpose of recognition, etc.  A botched presentation as a result to an employee means one thing – you didn’t take the time to get to know me, so how can you possibly care what I did.  This will kill morale and motivation fast and create employee disengagement.  As a manager, be sure to know who made a difference and whey and recognize!


The purpose of recognition is to recognize an individual for an achievement.  Thus, recognize that employee and personalize the recognition to him/her.  This can be done through the presentation materials as well as in the recognition presentation.  If presenting to a group of people this can prove to be a bit more difficult, but when you have an opportunity to recognize individually, spend the time to put some thought into how the presentation will be made.  Doing this can go a long way at building a great bond between a manager and employee and the bond of that employee with their employer.

In closing, when acknowledging look nice, offer a firm handshake, don’t just speak…praise the employee for their contributions!  As a manager, you set the standards and provide the example for others to follow.

Additional resources and articles for recognition presentations can be found at:

Low Cost Staff Appreciation Can Produce High Rewards

June 30, 2014 by  

Simple acknowledgement can go a long way.  As a manager, your employees seek your feedback, positive praise, and recognition regarding their performance.  This needs to be done on a consistent and ongoing basis.  Managers who express gratitude to their staff of employees establish a deeper personal connection with them and open the door for stronger communication and loyalty.  This can be achieved through simple acknowledgement and staff appreciation.

In order to create this connection between manager and employee, you need to decide what types of situations you want to acknowledge and reward.  This will become your list of staff appreciation ideas.  Staff appreciation ideas, such as record sales by month, record attendance, or record order volume, are all achievements that your organization and it’s managers can acknowledge and reward at a moment’s notice.

The list below offers additional staff appreciation ideas:

  • Celebrate the anniversary of each employee’s start date
  • Celebrate employee’s birthdays/engagements/additions to family/purchase of new home/etc.
  • A staff team initiates a new program that helps you acquire new clients or gets existing clients to return
  • Record days without accident
  • Factory workers respond to a rush order with speed and accuracy
  • Staff member receives a thank-you or recommendation letter from client that was addressed to a manager

To help identify items to include on your staff appreciation list, ask the following questions:  What could employees do to make the organization…better, faster, more efficient, more money, inviting, fun, etc.  Answers to these questions are the things that deserve recognition within your company or organization.

Employees who are recognized through staff appreciation programs offer many benefits, including increased productivity and attendance.  As a result, these benefits will lead to greater efficiency and profitability for your business.  Appreciation builds a bridge between you and your staff and in doing so helps your staff see you as a person/friend/collegue and not just the boss.

When you actively participate in acknowledgement of your employees you can expect things to change.  Employees who are recognized are typically more productive, less likely to be absent, and accept change with more ease compared to employees who are not recognized.

Don’t hate, appreciate!

Reducing Health Care Costs With Wellness Programs

June 22, 2014 by  

Healthcare costs continue to rise and for the foreseeable future, will likely continue to do so.  As a result, many organizations have turned to wellness programs as a way to strike a balance between becoming more efficient and offering benefits that will attract top talent.

A Deloitte 2011 “Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey” discovered that over the next one to three years some 60% of employed consumers indicated they plan to actively participate in a wellness and disease management programs to maximize their health status.  Many of the survey respondents expressed concern with being able to afford health care insurance in retirement and as such acknowledged the advantages to living a healthier lifestyle now to help offset insurance costs later in life.

According to the Center of Disease Control, nationally 65% of people are overweight or obese, and many struggle with associated physical conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.  The Wellness Council of America found that for every $1 invested into a wellness program that a savings of $3 in health care costs. With a depressed economy and companies searching for ways to save money and reduce costs, perhaps a wellness program deserves consideration.


Last year Xceed Financial Credit Union did the research and responded by offering health incentives to promote their employees well-being.

In creating its wellness program, Xceed challenged its internal “event and promotion committee,” called Team Xceed made up of 11 associates from across the organization, to research other wellness programs within and outside the industry. The team then proposed its own program that focused on several core elements that play a role in a person’s overall health: physical fitness, community involvement, environmental “green” efforts, personal development, and weight loss.

Here’s how it works. Points are assigned to all types of activities like running, playing volleyball, volunteering, donating blood, composting at home, taking a college course, cooking healthy or even carpooling to work. Associates log their personal achievements on a daily and quarterly basis, and a cash payout of $300 is awarded to each employee who hits the 1,000-point mark by the end of the year.

In its inaugural year, 128 associates out of 213 participated in the program, with an accumulated point total of 104,603–representing an average of 817 points per person. And 56 associates broke the 1,000-point barrier. Associates are encouraged to send Team Xceed new ideas on how to accrue points and so far the feedback has been very positive. For example, one new associate is a guide-dog volunteer while another is part of a rowing club and those activities were then added to the online activity report.

The program also offers printed information on wellness tips on Xceed’s intranet and in the associate newsletter. In 2011, the credit union also hosted its first-ever health fair that included 28 vendors. Staffers at the corporate headquarters were able to meet one-on-one and learn more about their benefits and options for a healthier lifestyle.

“It feels good to contribute to the health and well-being of our associates,” said Teresa Freeborn, Xceed Financial president/CEO. “We want to do all we can to help stabilize insurance costs, which is why we’ve invested in our own custom wellness program. Any reduction in insurance fees could then be passed on to our associates.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, it now costs employers an estimated $13,000 annually to provide premium health care benefits to a typical employee and his or her dependents, and that figure has gone up 10% each year for the past decade. Of that annual amount, almost $10,000 is paid by the employer, and overweight and obese employees incur more than $1,500 in additional costs for the employer each year.

Recognition Zeroes: How NOT to “Recognize” Your Employees

April 16, 2014 by  

In the following article, I’d like to highlight some common mistakes that managers make when attempting to engage, motivate and recognize their employees. Some of these errors in judgment may be more obvious than others, but I hope that all of the examples below will enlighten managers on what they should avoid and what they should focus upon when recognizing employees.

Don’t wait until your employees’ annual performance review to give them feedback. The more feedback you give your employees, and the more often you give it, the better able they are to respond to the needs of your organization.

Don’t leave your employees in the dark. Help them to help you, and your organization, by setting goals and then by working with them to achieve those goals.

Don’t be a stick in the mud. Have some fun. Joke with your employees. Be playful.

Don’t wait until the last second to prepare a speech (or toast) for an employee. Set aside some time in your day, even if it’s only 10 minutes, to give some careful thought to the individual.

Don’t be vague about your recognition speech. In your speech, pinpoint some specific reasons this employee should be recognized.

Don’t leave your cell phone on when you’re about to give a presentation or speak to an employee one-on-one. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

Don’t be cheap. Make your years of service anniversary program meaningful, useful and good. If you’re providing your 5-year employees with an award that is valued at $10, what does that say about how much your organization appreciates its employees?

Don’t be so busy that you can’t take a minute or two to recognize your employees’ achievements. The most effective reward, which is personal and written recognition from one’s manager, doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t take much time either. Your employees’ morale, performance, and loyalty will surely improve as a result.

Don’t be a “Recognition Zero.” When employers recognize good performance by their employees, chances are they will see that good performance again. Do the right things and your employees will continue to perform, and your organization will continue to thrive.

Employee Retention: How to Keep Your Best Employees

April 14, 2014 by  

Recruiting the right employees and keeping the right employees matters a lot, especially in today’s economy.  Employee turnover is expensive. Employee retention is critical to the long-term health and success of your healthcare organization. This article will explore employee retention, detail its importance in today’s work environment and provide some helpful tips for managers to consider.

According to the Human Resource Management Association, 20.4 percent of healthcare employees (one in five) quit their jobs every year. This number easily exceeds the 12 to 15 percent turnover rate experienced in most other industries. In order to retain employees and reduce turnover, hospital managers must learn to align their goals with the end goals of employees. By aligning the rewards and needs of employees, managers can determine the best system to effectively increase the job satisfaction of their employees.

Here are a few ways you can keep your employees happy and improve your hospital’s retention rate:

Hire and train the right people. Hospitals should regularly review their recruitment practices and review their applicant data to ensure that they are attracting and considering the widest and most diverse possible pool of applicants. It is also important for organizations to recognize the value of knowledgeable management in place for properly their training employees.

Mix it up. Provide a variety of assignments. Identify your employees’ talents and then encourage them to stretch their abilities into new areas. A variety of challenging assignments will help to keep the workplace stimulating.

Have some fun. Celebrate successes and recognize when special milestones are reached. Coffee and donuts for breakfast, potluck lunches, birthday parties, employee picnics and creative contests will help remind people why your hospital is a great place to work.  (see also:  Creating a Fun Place to Work)

Show your appreciation. Recognize outstanding achievements promptly and publicly, but also take time to comment on the small contributions your staff makes every day. Don’t forget these are the people who make you look good!

Employee retention matters. Do not overlook who your hospital’s key performers are. And be sure that your organization is properly engaging those key employees to ensure that they will stay with you for years to come.

Creating a Fun Place to Work

April 11, 2014 by  

“Fun is good.”

Dr. Seuss once said that. We’ve all likely had the opportunity to read one of Dr. Seuss’ books throughout our lives. His works have sparked the imaginations of countless children, and adults, over the last 50 years.

I think we can all take a hint from Dr. Seuss when he says that “fun is good.” Work isn’t always fun, but if it is “fun” every once and a while, it is a “good” thing. People react positively to things they perceive as being fun. And, in effect, those positive people can equate to motivated, excited and happy employees.

Fun at work is taking the ordinary and making it (or trying to make it) enjoyable. It is our reward for our hard work and commitment. Fun makes difficult situations a lot less stressful. The common ground of fun helps us bond with others. Physiologically, our brain thrives on fun. By tapping into some childlike play, you can introduce some fun into your workplace and discover a multitude of benefits for your organization’s employees.

Work isn’t always meant be a happy and exciting time, but here are several ways for managers to help their employees have fun at work while still being productive:

Have a Positive Attitude – A positive attitude is contagious. If you are happy and positive, chances are that others will follow.

Be Social – Interact with your colleagues in a non-working way. Join a company team or group. Cultivate working friendships.

Have a “Casual Tuesday” in addition to “Casual Friday” – Employees like wearing their casual clothes. Many of them would likely appreciate a 2nd day during the week to wear  “non-office attire.”

Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries – This is an easy way to get everyone away from their desks and together with each other for a few minutes.  Send an eCard.

Organize a competitive sporting event – In warm weather, get a group of employees to play basketball or softball together. Make a friendly work-related wager for the winning team, if you please.

Budget for Work Fun – Fun isn’t always free. Try to budget some fun for your employees in the form of an outdoor picnic or trip to a ballgame.

There is no limit to the ways in which you can inject some fun into the workplace. In the end, don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is too short to be serious all the time. And always remember, “fun is good.”

What It Means to Have an Engaged Hospital Staff

March 25, 2014 by  

Employee engagement is a phrase that gets mentioned quite a bit nowadays. Books are published about it. Seminars are held about it. Articles, like this one, are written. But what does it really mean? And why should you care?

Employee engagement, also called work engagement or worker engagement, is a business management concept. An engaged employee is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and will therefore act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests.

Now that you know what employee engagement means, why should you and your healthcare organization care? Here are some of the results of effective employee engagement:

Employees understand their role in success – Employees need to understand how their job fits into the big picture. They need to know what they must do more of and do differently to help the business succeed. Hospital managers can help their employees by helping employees upgrade their skills to match the needs of the hospital.

Career development – Engagement levels rise when there is a formal career development system that includes components such as formal career tracks and annual career evaluations. People that are actively engaged help move the organization forward.

Maintaining credibility – Creating a bond with employees should be viewed as an investment. Sometimes you just need to get out of the way and let them do their work. When you go ahead and trust people, you have created a culture of trust. They will be engaged.

Commitment to your hospital and its patients – Studies have statistically shown that engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, safer and less likely to leave their employer.

As you can see, employee engagement leads to success. Our recognition programs will generate engagement in your organization. Fill out our Easy Recognition Quote (ERQ) request form today. An Award Concepts recognition professional will contact you soon thereafter to discuss a customized employee recognition strategy with you. Plus, we’ll send you a free Starbucks giftcard!

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