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How Service Awards Uncovered an Employee Missing for Six Years…and how to avoid making the same mistake

February 17, 2016

by Scott VanderLeek
Recently, we came across a story of a man who hadn’t shown up to work for at least 6 years, and possibly as many as 14 years … and no one noticed….  His absence was only discovered as he was about to receive an award for his years of service!

“I thought, where is this man?” the Guardian quotes the deputy mayor.” Read more

Man Skips Work for 6 Years, No One Notices

We have passed this story around our company and chuckled about it, but we have also turned the conversation to a more serious note about just how important frequent recognition is of your employee’s attitudes, behaviors, and contributions, (the ABC’s of recognition).  Sure, there is always that thing about learning that someone hasn’t shown up to work in at least 6 years, but the benefits run far deeper than that.
While this story is an extreme example, we can all take away some important lessons.  Recognition for significant milestones is meaningful and effective, but only when presented with genuine understanding and appreciation for what the recipient has contributed.  It stands to reason, a form letter isn’t going to be as significant as a personalized message that highlights specific achievements and how they have impacted the organization. And a recognition program of that nature requires leadership to participate and pay attention to their people.
Each day, your work force “does their job”, and puts in some level of effort which let’s say, for this discussion, ranges from 75% to 100% of their capability.  At the end of the day, they go home and prepare to come back the next day, when they will again put in somewhere between 75% and 100% of their effort.
Now, let’s say there is recognition for that effort, acknowledgement that their contributions are helping the company achieve its mission, and encouragement to keep it up because they are making a difference!  What do you think happens to that effort on day 3?  I would submit that it will not go down…. And if the 75% guy goes up to 90%, and the 100% gal goes above and beyond to 110%, and that is multiplied across your work force for not just 3 days like this example, but an entire year?  Wow.  That’s a lot of additional effort.
We’re passionate about recognition. Frequent recognition of the attitudes, behaviors, and contributions that you want happening in your business increases the productivity of your company and the engagement of your workforce.
Oh, and it might just help you uncover an employee who stopped showing up to work a decade ago.  

ScottVanderleekScott VanderLeek is the National Sales Manager for Terryberry, a global provider of employee recognition solutions. Other claims to fame include surviving a train crash and his budding career as a movie extra.


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