Creating Memorable Experiences
Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure of conducting several seminars titled “Cultivating Employee Engagement.” Through this series, HR Professionals give their input on the future of employee engagement. We ponder the effectiveness of certain technologies, discuss career path development, examine the keys to cultural enhancement, and share our thoughts on the future of employee rewards. While there are a thousand ways to reward employees in this day and age, our conversations always circle back to one premise:
How do we create memorable experiences for our employees?
While technology can streamline efficiency, it has the tendency to diffuse the human element. We may have aggressive comp plans, but dead presidents cannot say thank you. We can give each other badges for a job well done, but the process of shaking someone’s hand while looking them in the eye requires greater effort. Recognition through human interaction is what matters most!
I recently read an article written by an employee who received a gift for achieving a corporate initiative. After looking up the price of the gift, the employee felt her effort was worth more than the $150 gold charm she received for her hard work. She commoditized the gift, and it lost value in her eyes.
Let’s examine that:
Have you ever taken a gift given to you for a birthday and looked up its price online? If you have, odds are you have very little respect for the person who gave you that gift. Commoditizing an award diminishes the gesture and undermines its intrinsic “trophy value.” Too often, this type of behavior is indicative of a side-tracked company culture.
Do you think Bubba Watson looked up the value of the Green Jacket awarded to him at The Masters golf tournament last spring? Most likely, he didn’t. The Green Jacket is a coveted memento of achievement, rich in tradition. The ceremony of presenting the green jacket celebrates a culmination of years of hard work in one of the world’s most difficult sports. It is not the value of the actual jacket that matters but the correlation to the work. The Green Jacket is a memento of greatness, a piece of history – it can’t be commoditized.
Like the Green Jacket, it is not the market value of your reward that matters but rather what it represents. If the ceremony through which your achievements are celebrated is structured in a meaningful manner, taking the time to connect the reward to the work and the work to the person, the memory of that recognition experience will be invaluable.
Computers do not hug. Gift cards do not have a shelf life. But a five dollar watch can be your most prized possession, if it’s connected to a meaningful experience!
While you consider retooling your employee recognition program, you might ask yourself one simple question:
How am I creating memorable experiences for my employees?
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