Thursday, June 4, 2009

Have you Wowed your employees lately?

I came across an interesting post earlier this week at Jay Sheperd’s Gruntled Employees blog with a great message on recognition. In the post he explains how awarding workplace “Wows” could one day replace traditional annual performance reviews.

Here’s a piece of the story:

My daughters go to elementary school in Newton, Massachusetts. The principal — who is, sad to say, retiring this year — is a brilliant, caring, dynamic educator named Christine Moynihan. One of our favorite things about her — and there are many — is that from time to time, she makes schoolwide announcements over the loudspeakers in which she awards chidren “Wows.”

What is a "Wow"?

A “Wow” is a short description (maybe three or four sentences) of something a pupil did to earn the Wow (yes, it's self-referential; get over it). Examples include working extra hard on a particular project, helping a classmate during a difficult situation, or showing unusual courtesy or friendliness or determination. Dr. Moynihan says the Wow winner’s name and describes what he or she did to earn the Wow. That's it. It’s short, it’s public, it’s concrete, it’s earned — and it makes the kids feel great.

The only thing closest to a “Wow” in the workplace is the annual performance review, says Jay, something that as an employee and employer he hates. Jay is not alone on this one. Remember the Wall Street Journal article from last year suggesting that we should get rid of the employee performance review all together?

Instead of waiting an entire year to discuss performance, Jay thinks there’s a better way:
I propose that we replace formal annual performance evaluations with a workplace equivalent of the Wow.

Jay’s “Wow” delivery system would use the power of Twitter to force managers to deliver focused and public employee performance recognition (read his guidelines for a “twevaluation”).

Whether you choose to use Twitter, the company newsletter or the company’s PA system, anyone can mold Jay’s “twevaluation” idea into something that works for your company.

Employee recognition should be heartfelt and should happen often, no matter how you decide to deliver it. Say it in a tweet, write it in a card or simply stop by an employee’s desk to tell them how much you appreciate the work they do. You’ll be surprised at how simple and easy employee recognition can be.

How do you “wow” your employees? Please leave a comment and let us know what works for you.

1 comment:

Derek Irvine said...

The best way is also the easiest - a simple, sincere, frequent and meaningful "thank you" for what employees do. Pay attention. Notice their efforts. Call attention to those that reflect the company values or help achieve the strategic objectives. These efforts in particular are the ones that will help your company succeed.

Far more on the topic of strategic employee recognition is available on my blog at

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