Napoleon Bonaparte was quoted as saying, "People will fight long and hard for a little
piece of colored ribbon. "Recognition of a job well-done can create a culture of employee
loyalty, no matter how small the tangible portion is … as long as the intangible portion is
very meaningfulful. It's not what you know, it's what you show!
Incentives and rewards are great motivators but will only create meaningful results if you
truly care – and show it. All too often we do a sales contest and then either forget about it,
are late to provide the prizes, or complain how much the prizes cost the P & L – all the
while losing sight of the top-line benefit it created. How you present the award speaks
Kentucky Fried Chicken's most coveted award in the company is a rubber chicken
presented by CEO David Novak. A chicken! The real value is being recognized in front of
your peers for your outstanding efforts and results – that's what drives loyalty. You can
create that culture by showing the top (and improving) performers how much you value
their input. Think you do not have time to work with the good performers? Get rid of the
below average ones!
Why do "bad" people stay? Because we let them! Get rid of them. They are like weeds–
we can cut them back, sometimes taking some of the good ones with them, but they
continue to grow and multiply. Pull them out so their bad influence goes away!
Once that's completed, you now have time to recognize and reward your good performers.
Managers tend to ignore good performers. They fail to realize that if they can make those
employees 10 percent better, there's a far bigger impact on sales and service – more so
than trying to make a below average employee 10 percent better.
Start catching people doing things right – coming in on time and in uniform, for example.
Thank employees who do follow the rules by giving them a "get out of side work free"
card or a free meal. You'll send a loud, clear message to those who are late or out of
uniform. If they will not change, change them. Be fair and let them work somewhere else.
Taking this approach will change the culture, quickly, into a positive, upbeat one where
people like to come to work. Funny thing is, the guests will feel the improvement and feed
off it as well. As Bill Cosby once said, "I do not know the key to success, but the key to
failure is trying to please everyone. "