Monday, May 31, 2010

Is Your Company Playing Musical Chairs?

Last week I attended a luncheon hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce.

The keynote speaker was Florent Francoeur, President & Director General who heads up the 10,000 member strong Quebec HR Association.

Florent's message spoke to the reason why companies need to become employers of choice.

Simply put, the talent crisis is now upon us. In the Province of Quebec where I live, more employees will retire in the year 2013 than those who will enter the workforce. This includes those who immigrate to our province.

And this is not just happening in Quebec... it's a phenomenon that's starting to happen all over the world!

This morning on television, I saw an ad from a company urging job seekers to visit their website and "check out what prospective employers were really like by checking under the hood".

Think about it... a global talent crisis combined with knowledgeable job seekers who want to know what their potential employers are really like! These job seekers have the online tools to see which companies really do live up to the promise that "employees are our greatest asset".

Good luck to the ones that don't because they're playing musical chairs and they are bound to lose.

So what can you do?

Create employee referral programs and monitor their success closely. If participation is low, you can bet your bottom dollar that your company is in the danger zone.

Take a look at whether employees who are eligible to retire are charging out the door. If they are, you might want to review how you are treating them. There has been so much focus on millennials, Gen Y and Gen X that many companies now have reverse age discrimination going on. Place more emphasis on retaining your boomers and focus on the things that will make them want to stay with your organization.

Take a hard look at your people policies. Make sure your company respects people for who they are, regardless of their age and recognizes them for what they do, otherwise your company may end up without a chair when the music stops.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The ROI of Recognition

My colleagues Roy Saunderson and S. Max Brown welcome Dr Jack Phillips on Real Recognition Radio's next episode.

Dr Phillips is the chairman and co-founder of the ROI Institute, and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings and Events Industry.

You'll learn how simple, cost effective, and important measuring return on investment for your recognition program can be. Join hosts Roy and Max next Tuesday to learn how to turn your intangibles into tangible dollars and cents.

Tune in next Tuesday at 1 PM ET!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thank You Thoughts

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing -- that's why we recommend it daily." --Zig Ziglar

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Healthcare: Keeping Recognition Alive & Well

My colleagues Max Brown and Roy Saunderson at Real Recognition Radio will be interviewing Carole Erken, HR Director for Kaiser Permanente and Sue Warwick, Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare’s chairperson of the Reward and Recognition committee. They'll be letting you in on their journey towards a successful recognition program.

You'll learn about the obstacles they’ve faced and the successes they’ve had. You’ll also learn some lessons on program sustainability, unions, and how to overcome participation challenges.

So, how is your recognition program fairing? Tune in to leverage their recognition best practices Tuesday at 1 PM ET!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Help Support the Incentive Legislation Campaign

I’m proud to be on the Board of the Incentive Federation. The Incentive Federation is an umbrella organization founded to promote, protect and research the incentive field, encompassing recognition, promotional products and related promotions.

One of the causes the Incentive Federation supports is national health care reform and measures that can lead to a healthier workforce. As a consequence, the Incentive Federation supports a tax incentive for employers and employees who participate in wellness programs. We believe that a well-designed qualified wellness award that is tax-free to employees would provide the necessary incentive to promote a healthier lifestyle and lead to a more productive workforce.

I’m proud to work with a group of incentive leaders that has been working to establish a presence with members of Congress. Last fall we had a Legislative Summit in Washington to meet with members of Congress on wellness incentives. We need a dedicated voice to “lobby” for legislation that serves our industry, the companies we serve and the hundreds of millions of recipients we touch annually.

As a consequence, the Incentive Legislation Campaign (ILC) was formed in order to make our presence felt on a consistent basis. To do this, we need financial support and input from individuals and companies for our efforts and step in when we need “grassroots” support with lawmakers.

If you would like more information please read the ILC Informational Flyer.

I hope you seriously consider this great opportunity to strengthen our voice in Washington and support of our industry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cultural influences and recognition

My friend and colleague Christophe Laval, President of VPHR, is conducting a global survey on recognition practices across cultures.

The survey will review perceptions, practices and obstacles of recognition in the workplace.

Please click here to help complete this survey. It’ll be accessible until the 30th of May 2010 and is completely anonymous.

And be sure to stay tuned! The results will be revealed during the 13th World Human Resources Congress in Montreal this September.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rideau Extends its Global Reach

Rideau is now in India! My Bangalore-based colleague Jayanth Narayanan CRP, is now Managing Director of Rideau’s Asia-Pacific operations.

Jayanth is Asia's first Certified Recognition Professional and has been involved in the Business Process & IT outsourcing industry for the last 12 years.

Rideau chooses to extend its operations locally to better serve its clients, not only in terms of operations, but also in terms of recognition strategy. What motivates people in one country will be different from those in another. Having local resources allows Rideau to be increasingly attuned to client needs across time zones.

To learn more about recognition in India and the Asia-Pacific region, visit Jayanth’s blog here!

Or read the press release here!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thank You Thoughts

"What every genuine philosopher (every genuine man, in fact) craves most is praise -- although the philosophers generally call it ‘recognition’!” —William James

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goldman Sachs & Incentive "Rip-offs"

Not too long ago, I did a post on the lessons to be learned from Amazon’s exit from the incentive fulfillment business. Many others commented on Amazon’s departure as well.

For the most part, these commentaries were even handed and balanced but some were very self-serving. One recognition company opined that one of the primary reasons Amazon exited the business was because it was concerned about its brand image… apparently customers were complaining of feeling ripped off by the prices they were paying to their incentive reward provider partners. The writer then went on to denounce the “massive markup rip-offs on merchandise reward items”.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

This is coming from a recognition company whose only redemption vehicle are “award vouchers” that can be exchanged for gift certificates. Don’t ask them for instant awards with a company logo or for symbolic awards that can be used in service awards or for your prestigious President’s award… they simply don’t have the supply chain that can deliver these types of rewards.

Any recognition company that says there is only one type of reward redemption system doesn’t know what they are talking about. Period! They are being totally self-serving and are not looking out for the interests of their clients. Make sure when you pick a supplier to work with that they don’t operate under a "One Size Fits All” redemption model.

But let me go even further…

Mid April the SEC charged Goldman Sachs with civil fraud. It alleges that Goldman helped a hedge fund client create a financial derivative based on US sub-prime mortgages. The hedge fund bet against the derivative… i.e. they hoped it would fail. The suit alleges that Goldman knew this and then went out and marketed the derivative to investors without disclosing the hedge fund’s side bet that the investment would fail.

I think there are a lot of similarities at the charges leveled against Goldman Sachs and companies who provide award voucher recognition programs to clients when the award voucher has an expiation date.

Let me explain…

In these type of programs, when an employee is recognized by the employer the recognition provider sends the employee an award voucher. This award voucher can be exchanged for a variety of gift certificates in different countries. The recognition provider charges the client when the award voucher is sent to the employee. The catch is when the award vouchers have an expiry date on them. If they are not exchanged before they expire, the recognition provider gets to keep the revenue. This is called breakage. In essence, the recognition provider is betting AGAINST recipients exchanging the award vouchers before they expire. Often the clients are not even aware of the breakage.

Lovely! The client recognizes its employees and the recognition providers hopes they never hear from them again!

Talk about a “massive rip-off”!

Every time we come across these award voucher type of programs clients all complain about the same thing… lack of reporting. No wonder! The reality is that they are doing exactly what Goldman is alleged to have done. We are not talking about insignificant sums of money. The Consumers' Association of Canada estimates that one in every four gift cards goes unredeemed. I imagine the same breakage percentages would apply to award vouchers.

All recognition providers are entitled to make a reasonable profit, including those who provide award vouchers. But it is incumbent upon all providers to provide totally transparent pricing.

It is also important to call out those few who tarnish our industry.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Daniel Guerard - RPI's Spotlight Award Winner

Kevin Cronin, RPI President & Daniel Guerard, Rideau IT Director

I’ve worked with Daniel Guerard for over 12 years. Daniel is Director of Information Securities and Technologies here at Rideau.

I first met Daniel when he was working for a third party software provider. They were working on a website project for our IT department. Daniel was putting in incredibly long hours and working late into the night.

I happened to log onto the development site early one morning and immediately noticed a banner on the top of the site. It said “Lache Pas La Patate Daniel!" The expression makes no sense in English… literally translated it means “don’t give up the potato.” I was not amused, until I found out it was a French expression that meant "don't give up" and that Daniel’s colleagues put it up as a mark of respect to recognize all his hard work and efforts to perfect all elements of my website.

The company Daniel worked for went out of business several years later and we made a concerted effort to recruit him. I’m glad to say our efforts paid off! He is the number three man in Rideau’s IT department and manages a staff of about 10 professionals.

Daniel has also served with distinction on Recognition Professionals International’s Marketing and Communications committee for the past two years. His work merited one of three of RPl’s Spotlight Award. His citation read:

“Daniel has been a very active member of the Marketing Communications committee member and goes way above and beyond in his contribution to this committee. Daniel was recruited to come and help with some of our analytics/reporting from a search engine optimization perspective. One the key elements that Daniel helped deliver is report on understanding our website traffic patterns. His contribution went beyond his technical expertise into many value add ideas that helped us become better marketers of RPI.”

Many of Daniel’s colleagues knew he was getting this award and it was one of the best kept secrets in Rideau for the last month. As a surprise, we decided to have Daniel, his wife Evelyne and two young sons come out to the RPI conference in Las Vegas to accept the award in person.

I’m so proud of Daniel and to see him recognized by others is not surprising. Over the years he has become a key member of Rideau’s management team.

BTW… Dan’s wife Evelyne is an accomplished artist in her own right and you can see her work at

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rideau = Educational Excellence

In 2009, Recognition Professionals International (RPI) developed a new recognition program to honor achievements and excellence in education. At each annual conference, an individual or corporation is recognized for their outstanding achievement in education.

I’m pleased to announce that Rideau received the Excellence in Education Award this year!

The citation read out at the conference stated, “Rideau received the award in recognition for the overwhelming ongoing commitment to education in the field of recognition and for their outstanding support of Recognition Professionals International.”

I’m so proud of Rideau’s educational efforts in the field of recognition. Almost 40 of my teammates are RPI Certified Recognition Professionals (CRP)! This is more than any other company in the world. It represents almost 16% of Rideau’s entire staff and almost 25% of all CRP graduates!

Rideau’s latest graduate is Jayanth Narayanan CRP who hails from Bangalore, India. Jayanth literally travelled half way around the world to become certified!

Two of my colleagues, Roy Saunderson CRP and Max Brown CRP from the Recognition Management Institute just finished taking an intensive two day course titled “Proving the Value of Recognition - Measuring the Application, Impact and Return on Investment for Recognition Programs/Projects.” This course was given by Dr. Jack Phillips of the ROI Institute.

We were also very fortunate to have Arne Carlson present when I received the award on behalf of my Rideau colleagues. Arne Carlson joined Rideau’s board in 2004 and serves as Vice Chairman. Arne was a two term Governor of Minnesota. I once asked Arne what his proudest accomplishment was as Minnesota’s Governor. He told me it was in the field of education where he created the nation's first K-12 school choice program and received awards for educational reform. Arne has supported all of Rideau’s educational efforts and it was a pleasure to have him and his lovely wife Susan on the podium with all my other colleagues when we received the award.

I truly believe Rideau’s educational efforts set us apart from other providers and it shows in the quality of our solutions, products and services we provide to our clients and the millions of recipients we honor.