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The Learning & Development Nerd

Consistently exploring ways to improve performance in the workplace through employee and organizational development.



I was discussing employee development strategies with the leaders of an organization and my first question was "what are you doing to recognize your employees?" The answer was "They get a ten-year plaque, but they have to wait awhile to get it!" while nervous chuckles from the group of executives ensued. The giggles were not at all in the face of those poor employees who were toiling away for ten years before they received any recognition from their company... they were nervous giggles that said "we know we need to do more."

Yes. But not much more needs to be done to make an impact. Consider the low-hanging fruit that can help perpetuate a culture of inclusiveness and dedication.

  • A one-year generic plaque with a letter from the top guys- you know... the guys they see in their orientation materials? All it needs to relay is "we recognize that you have been here a year and thank you."
  • A three-year plaque - this time with their name engraved - and another letter from those same guys stating that they understand three years is a long time and that thanks them for their dedication.
  • $25 gift certificate to anywhere for submitting a great idea or implementing a best practice.
  • Have contests to let your employees decide the name/theme/location of an event and announce the winner publicly.
  • Company newsletters are easy and inexpensive to produce (consider electronic media) but can be instrumental in airing public recognition of good deeds, community service, marriages & births, etc.

The costs associated with these efforts is minimal for the increase in employee loyalty.

What other ways can you grab that low-hanging fruit to make your minimal dollars go a long long way?

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In my previous company we were given a 'red rock' plaque (this was in Colorado) with our name and start month and year on our one year anniversary. At three years we were given a $300 gift card to a large shopping mall! I believe there were also five and ten year goodies (but I left before my 5th anniversary). We also had an incentive program/group for top performers where we received a bonus equal to one month's pay every year. I loved working for that company!

  Rommel Anacan

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