I started in the reward and recognition industry in the mid 1990’s. I was skinnier, childless and had dark hair. While my appearance may have been a lot better than it is today, I was also a lot dumber than I am now. When I first started in this industry, I had literally no idea that something called a Service Award existed and I was perplexed at the fact that it did. My first few months were spent working with a unique individual who was a consultant to the company that I was representing. He was a great educator on the business and he was a true visionary as he was talking about Total Rewards way before organizations were able to grasp what they meant or how it would work. This gentleman was quirky and different, but a true visionary and as I look back, I learned a tremendous amount from him. It has been 7 or 8 years since I have spoken to him, but if I had the chance today, I would love to speak with him and thank him for getting me involved in this industry.
Fast forward to today as my partners and I own and operate our own growing recognition company, I am still perplexed that companies have Service Award Programs. It’s not so much that they have them, but it’s the fact that they have them and the people in charge of them really do not care about them. They have essentially been in place for years and years and until the current vendor makes a mistake, they really do not pay attention to them. Yes, my company does provide state of the art Service Award and Total Recognition programs, but 90% of the companies we speak to really do not care about the Service Award programs. They basically check a box and “set it and forget it”. Guess what, your employees do care! When their anniversary is approaching and they know what is coming, they do think about what they want to pick. You know what else they do, they google the items in the brochure or website to see the value and often they pick the most expensive item. They often have a response along the lines of, “Is this all my company spends on me?” and “I can’t believe how cheap my company is”. They don’t know that you are paying 2x the value of the program and to be honest, the program coordinator probably doesn’t either because of that “set it and forget it” mentality
Today, 20+ years later, I am older, grayer and certainly fatter than I was when I first started sitting in that room learning about recognition from that consultant. That being said, I am also a lot smarter. I like to say that I was smart enough to be dumb enough to start a business late in the 1st decade of this century. I know all the secrets of those old school companies and am thrilled when I am able to impart that info onto a prospect who has an open mind because the results are staggering when they learn the facts.
Transparency is a great thing.