By: Tammy Godby, Global Manager, Organizational Development | 04/08/2021 |

I started off wondering how to best approach this topic. What impacts me, probably doesn’t work for everyone, so how can we account for 3000 employees and their differences?  I started thinking about the most impactful moment of my life. Do you remember yours? Take a minute sometime and think about it. What was the situation? What made it impactful?  Can you use that experience to help others? Creating impact is recognizing people for their achievements regularly. How do we make that something we do automatically because it’s who we are and what we believe?

I’ll share my most impactful moment. It was about 4 years ago.  My dad had suffered a stroke and was in the hospital.  The entire story is fascinating and changed my life.  If you ever need a good motivational cry, call me and I’ll share the whole story. One particular moment though at the beginning of this journey, I was the only one in my dad’s room and his physical therapist came in for his daily exercises. I had been finishing my Masters degree at the time, working full-time, mom, wife…you get the point – but all I wanted to do was sit with my dad.  Dad asked me a couple of times – in his own way, as his speech was not yet back up to par – why I wasn’t working or doing school. I kept telling him it’s fine.  When his PT came in that day, he rolled his head to the side – because that’s about all he had the strength to do and said “I work. You work.” He rolled his back to the PT and started working to retrain his muscles.

Well, once I stopped blubbering, I picked up my laptop and while dad worked on himself, I wrote the best paper of my life. I’m proud to say that was an A+ paper. The recognition I needed wasn’t in the form of something monetary, it wasn’t even the grade I received for that paper. The recognition for me came when dad said, “that’s my girl.”  Even at my age, it was an awesome feeling being able to show dad how he helped me achieve this. The motivation behind the words I wrote was from the example my dad modeled at a time he was most vulnerable. A simple recognition of the effort I put forth from one of the people I respect the most created the impact and set the bar for future achievements.

So the question is, what can I do that would have that kind of impact on someone else? What actions do I need to take to show others they are appreciated? We know we don’t know everything, so we asked the people that matter, our employees. We asked what their personal currency is, how they like to be recognized and rewarded, and how they like to be motivated. Once you have this key to understanding your employees, recognition becomes easy. You see, my dad knew that I was already a good student, but that I needed the motivation to do my best and then close the loop by recognizing my achievements. THAT is how you create impact.

Prior to working from home, most of our sites had their own programs for recognizing and rewarding employees. Those plans had to change when we moved to work from home. Gone were the days of bringing in donuts one morning to kick off a week, balloons for celebrating birthdays, a pat on the back letting someone know you appreciate them, bells, stats, and whiteboards for stellar scorecards. The working environment changed and the question we had to ask was, How can we take local engagement and apply it to a remote environment? Then…how can we make it global and sustain it?

You all know we have our quarterly engagement survey – SPEAK UP! – but did you know we also have focus groups to better understand the responses?  We listen to our employees and create action plans based on those outcomes.

But did you know that we also implemented Leadership Development and Perci Perks globally in part to create more impact for our employees? Perci Perks went from its pilot at one site to a global program immediately. We want our employees to know we recognize them for the people they are as well as the work they do. So Perci Perks recognizes employees based on the behaviors they exhibit related to our values. We appreciate and are grateful for those that not only know our four values – Culture of Service, Respect, Teamwork, Proactive – but implement them into their lives. That kind of work and dedication should be recognized and that’s why Perci Perks was created. We implemented a platform that allows our employees to choose how they want to be recognized. Some might want a new swag item; others might want a gift card. We know the value of choosing in your own personal currency and wanted to provide that opportunity. We wanted to make sure we utilized this platform and are currently working with sites to use the platform for performance-related recognition as well.

We also heard that many were craving professional development. We implemented Leadership Foundations (LT101), and most recently, Advanced Leadership Development (LT201) to show our employees that we recognize their hard work and want to help them in their journey to their next level. Our leadership classes cover foundational skills that are transferable to any position. Leadership development is another way to recognize the achievements of our employees. This is another example of what’s important to you is important to us.

We are excited when we hear from our employees with new ideas, achievements, even improvements. We want to create a working environment where recognizing and rewarding employees and co-workers is so natural that to do otherwise seems odd.

What can you do to create impact? Think about it.