An interview with Cindy Ventrice to get your work week percolating with engagement.
It is my pleasure to interview Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day: Employee Recognition That Works. Cindy is from Santa Cruz California and has worked with a wide variety of organizations including Cisco, MIT, WorkSafeBC, and State Farm Insurance. She works to improve engagement through enhanced recognition efforts.
1. Cindy, what do you see as the relationship between recognition and employee engagement? How well is this being done in the current workplace?
First, David, you need to understand that when I talk about recognition, I am not talking about handing out company logo pens or t-shirts. Recognition is a behavior not an award.
With a management style that leaves employees feeling recognized the ties with engagement are extraordinary. With solid recognition practices employees are more productive, produce higher quality products, give better service, create a more safe work environment, and work to engage each other.
2. As you know, I love the title of you book, it has a Clint Eastwood, Make My Day connection for me. Briefly, if we are a manager why do we want to make employee’s days?
If you think about a manager who really made your day, hopefully more than once, you will realize that you would go the extra mile to make that manager look good. It really is a reciprocal relationship.
3. Explain to the readers why you believe employees want to love their job. Isn’t a job just a job?
Study after study shows that while employees talk about the importance of money, they will stick with a job that lets them use their skills and strengths, challenges them to grow, and allows them to help their organization achieve its goals.
4. In the book you talk about the importance of everyday recognition as opposed to giving out T-shirts and having gala once-a-year recognition ceremonies. How do I do this as a manager when I am so busy already.
You are right, everyone is challenged for time. In fact, I have had no luck getting managers to add recognition to their extraordinarily long to do lists. That’s why, a number of years ago, I started telling managers not to put recognition on their to do lists, but instead I ask them to make recognition the header of the list. I want them to look at that list from a new perspective; ask themselves where they can build recognition into what they already have to do. For instance, when they have a project to delegate they can tell each member of the team why they were selected. It might be because of stellar work on a previous project or because it provides an opportunity to build skills that will help them grow. Both offer recognition.
5. We need to identify and acknowledge the people that work with us. You write about the 4 elements of recognition that work. You give us a PORT (Praise Opportunity Respect Thanks) to anchor our recognition efforts. Can you leave the readers with one example of how we can use each of these 4 factors to both recognize employees and enhance employee engagement.
Thanks, or appreciation is pretty self-explanatory. Simply thank people for their efforts. Don’t take them for granted.
In the previous delegation example we have Praise for previous work and Opportunity in the form of a new challenge. Praise acknowledges success and accomplishments. New opportunities demonstrate that the manager really understands what the employee values.
It is important to remember that there is no recognition without the element of respect. I often ask employees to tell me about the most meaningful recognition they have received. One said it was when her manager said she couldn’t take her vacation at the same time he did! How many people would consider that recognition? He had developed such a strong respectful relationship that she interpreted his comments to mean that she was too valuable to be gone at the same time.
Thank you so much for doing this Cindy. I encourage readers to visit Cindy’s website and blog and to purchase her book so that you can Make Their Day!
Interview by David Zinger