Creating a Positive, Rewarding Employee Culture

Posted on October 6th, 2015

Effective employee recognition doesn’t necessarily require a big investment, said panelists during “Big Reasons to Reward Your Employees.” And the benefits can have a sizeable impact on your business.

According to Melissa Felder, chief marketing officer for the California Academy of Sciences, high visitor satisfaction scores are linked to high revenues and ample recommendations to potential future guests. What is the key to high visitor satisfaction? Happy employees.

The first step, according to Tom Mehrmann, CEO of Ocean Park Corporation, is hiring the right employees. Mehrmann listed eight traits any potential applicant should exhibit, including an aptitude for organization, teamwork, flexibility, and quality as well as the ability to problem solve and communicate effectively, and a drive to reach goals. “You have to hire the right people, otherwise you have no foundation to begin with,” he added.

After hiring the right employees, it’s crucial to create a nurturing environment to keep them. At Ocean Park Hong Kong, a number of programs designed to enhance employee satisfaction have been instituted, including paternity leave, a staff social club that organizes employee trips and outings, and a staff committee that voices employee concerns, which helps to lessen the need for a union, Mehrmann added. The CEO also advises taking the time to personally hand-write thank-you notes to employees, which he does for any compliment submitted about an employee by a guest.

“We want employees to think of it as the first place they want to work, and the last place they want to leave,” Mehrmann said.

Creating a positive employee culture can be simpler than you might initially think, said Shaun McKeogh, vice president at Management Resources, head of the company’s International Training Academy, and co-author of “Reasons 2 Reward: Transform Your Business by Rewarding Your Team Members.” To acknowledge employees for a specific act in a way that makes a big impact, whether it comes as a handwritten note or in-person praise, McKeogh recommends taking these steps:
  • Name the person, so the compliment feels personal.
  • Describe the act specifically, so they know why they are being recognized.
  • Describe the specific impact on the guest.
  • Describe how the act positively impacts the business.
  • End with sincere, personal praise.
McKeogh listed budget-friendly ways to acknowledge and reward employees, including pre-printed recognition cards that come with scratch-off prizes, internal newsletters spotlighting years of service or special instances of when employees went above and beyond. Volunteer days, like costume characters visiting a local hospital, can instill a sense of company pride in employees. Or, get more creative and plan an annual banquet, like the Academy Awards-themed reception the California Academy of Sciences throws for its employees. In addition to rolling out a red carpet lined with paparazzi (who are actually staff from the photography team), Felder says the banquet includes a cocktail reception and awards ceremony to make employees feel extra special.

“What you’re doing in celebrating is creating a culture that recognizes employees,” said McKeogh. 

Posted in Management Resources    Tagged with International Training Academy



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