Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rideau’s Engagement With Earth Day!

Rideau believes in corporate social responsibility, in fact, we were the first recognition company to sign up for the United Nations Global Compact back in 2005.

The UN Global Compact helps businesses align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. This alignment is especially important in today’s era of globalization. It’s objective is to try and ensure there is an even and just playing field all over the world.

Obviously, the environment plays a huge role and I’m proud of the efforts my Rideau colleagues undertook to celebrate Earth Day under the leadership of our own in-house environmentalist Marion Dulude and her team across the company.

In Canada, we had information kiosks on ecological footprints, fair trade and community supported agriculture, gardening and composting, eco-friendly home cleaning products and recycling. We also enjoyed some delicious fair trade chocolate and fruity treats… my favorite was the chocolate coated coffee beans! At the same time, employees could support Rideau’s fight against Cancer by purchasing a beautiful flower pot of daffodils!

Our US colleagues under the direction of team leader Rob Collier sent a crew down to the waterfront in Plattsburgh to help with the Earth Day clean up. At first, it was not looking good for Rideau USA as it was pouring rain. However, the rain moved through and it turned into a beautiful morning.

The Rideau team was amazing… they cleaned under bridges, in the woods, by the railroad tracks along the Lake Champlain waterfront. We were the only company that showed up and our help was very much appreciated by the members of the Adirondack Mountain Club who were responsible for the event.

Employee engagement is not just about the workplace. True engagement makes our planet a better place to live.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Recognition Walkabout

The film Crocodile Dundee taught my brother and I one of our best management techniques!

We call it the Recognition Walkabout!

Every few days we try and get out and just walk around Rideau’s facilities.

There is no specific agenda… we just meet and greet the people we work with every day.

It is amazing how much you can learn during a Recognition Walkabout!

Do you have any tips for getting to know your employees?

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Find Employee Patriots

Last year I got really fed up with agency employee referrals and their fees.

It seemed to me that we were paying out for hires who had no real connection to our company. Many never made it through our three month probation period.

So Isabelle Lavigne, Rideau’s VP of People & Culture worked with my senior management team and put together an internal employee referral program. Richard Lytwynuk, our very talented in-house cartoonist designed a poster for all our facilities.

As usual Richard had some fun at my expense!

But that’s ok... because the program has really worked for us! The quality of our hires has gone way up... these people have an instant connection with Rideau.

They care and so do the people who referred them! They become their mentors!

One of Gallup’s Q12 questions asks “do you have a best friend at work?” According to their research, if the answer is yes, those people are likely to be 7 times more engaged than those that don’t.

At Rideau, we are doing our very best to make sure everyone has a “best friend” working here!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Platinum Tours

Not too long ago I wrote about Rideau’s Platinum Rule of Recognition.

Simply put, the Platinum Rule is to make sure you treat your employees just like you want them to treat your company's customers!

So let me tell you about a technique my brother Stephen and I use at Rideau that brings the Platinum Rule to life.

A couple of times a month, one of us conducts a “Platinum Tour” for our employees. We take five or six employees at a time and bring them around Rideau. See above, for a picture of Stephen with a few employees on tour.

Over the course of the following three hours we treat these employees as if they were clients or potential clients. We spend about a half an hour going over Rideau’s history and our vision for the future. We then take them on an extended tour of our facilities.

The employees come from different areas of the business. When we reach their own departments, they will often explain to the others what they do.

These tours allow our colleagues to understand the importance of how their work fits into the whole. It brings new meaning into how my brother and I expect them to treat our customers.

There is a Platinum Tour waiting list and I consider them to be one of the most important things I do at Rideau.

Do you have any examples of this kind of recognition implemented in your company?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Michelle – Ma Belle et la Belle de nous tous!

People are what make a company’s culture and some impact it more than others.

At Rideau, none more so than Michelle Verville.

Michelle retired recently after 41 years of service with Rideau.

When my parents bought the business in 1968, Michelle was one of the original five employees. Dad remembers walking into the plant for the first time and seeing Michelle working on a punch press. In fact, Michelle was my first boss!

Over the course of her career she has done it all… factory work, office work, sales work, client services. In short, Michelle has worked in almost every department at Rideau. And no matter what the job, she did it with care and concern. It didn’t matter whether the client was internal at Rideau or an external customer… Michelle’s dedication to her work was exemplary and it earned her our Employee of the Year Award a number of years ago.

But it was Michelle’s impact on Rideau’s culture that was truly amazing.

Everyone loved working with Michelle!

She had a wicked sense of humor. Her laugh was infectious.

None of us will ever forget her singing. In our early days, she would sing happy birthday over the intercom. In English, French and even Vietnamese!!! However, as with all great things, it came to an end the day we realized singing happy birthday would become a full time job!

Courage and tenacity are other qualities Michelle has that are a source of personal inspiration to me and many others. Over the last several years, Michelle has battled many different health issues. She has been courageous throughout all these difficult times and has never, ever given up hope or her love of life.

Over 175 Rideau colleagues paid tribute to Michelle. She made us laugh. She made us cry. And again, she displayed remarkable tenacity and courage. She stood up and counseled everyone in the room to get regular checkups for cancer and heart disease… both of which she has battled and continues to fight.

I have been privileged to work with Michelle for 41 years first as a colleague and then as a friend.

Michelle, on behalf of my 250 colleagues, on behalf of Cam Ferguson and my family, I salute you for the culture you created and the legacy you leave.

We love you Michelle – Ma Belle et la Belle de nous tous!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Employee Recognition and Rewards Programs Can Generate Significant Revenue and Profits

In times like these, as a manager, it’s hard not to be thinking of anything more than avoiding layoffs and downsizing. It’s easy to forget that the most important factor in keeping your company afloat is your people. But more than that, having an employee recognition program can not only keep your company from capsizing, it can actually raise your revenues.

The Recognition Council has just released an interesting white paper showing how recognition directly affects your bottom line: an engaged employee is a productive employee. Click here to read why no company can afford disengagement under the current economic climate.

How’s employee engagement fairing where you work? Let me know what, if anything has been done to boost morale where you work by dropping me a note in the comments section!

Monday, April 6, 2009