It is totally amazing the different job roles that exist in our world.
As I interview leaders and employees to learn more about their work, I reflect on positions I never knew existed before. Learning about these skills, trades, and professions makes me realize how sheltered our worldview can be.
Recognition practices and programs should look very different according to where people work.
Let’s look at the following job situations.
Consider the following job roles and how they experience recognition.
- Plant Floor Location: Welder/Related Machine Operator
If you have ever visited a factory plant floor, you know it is a noisy and busy place to be. There is a huge focus on safety and protection, from eyes, to hearing, your hands, to wearing steel capped shoes. People need to work independently mostly with their working orders to march to.
There is no personal space—just a workstation with all the equipment and materials at easy access.
Job responsibilities entail.
- Operating manual or semi-automatic welding equipment to join metal parts.
- Shaping metal parts.
- Repairing worn metal products by welding on extra layers.
- Reading and interpreting blueprints.
It’s a loud and noisy environment. Their work requires a lot of precision and concentration. Not a good idea to interrupt them and attempt giving one-on-one feedback during their workday. Expressing recognition will have to be off the plant floor.
Give recognition and feedback during pre-shift meetings or at the end of the day. Acknowledge amazing work in your staff meetings. Use bulletin boards in staff rooms and cafeterias to display notes, commendation, and other public types of recognition.
Not all plant employees have a work email. They limit accessibility to computers to a kiosk set up for all employee benefits and other HR purposes. Use an LCD screen in the main entrance lobby, staff entrances, and in staff rooms to acknowledge career milestone awards and other achievements. Supervisors and managers can give spot award cards. Employees can redeem points received on kiosk computers or on their smartphones
2. In Office Position: Merchandise Associate
Chances are high that office workers have an office or their own divided cubicle and a desk. While certainly a work efficient set up, their office areas also allow personalization for pictures and personal affects. Phone and computers are the primary tools for office positions.
Job responsibilities might include:
- Administer efficient work of all vendors and complete onboarding process for same.
- Coordinate with third-party partners and supervise production process.
- Monitor market trends and analyze market to develop various business strategies.
- Collaborate with colleagues and employees and ensure effective transition of all products to the website.
- Work with distributors and ensure exceptional customer services and design ways to minimize out of stock situations.
- Analyze market trends and recommend enhancement to various products and services and develop marketing plans for same.
- Monitor all sale trends and prepare forecasts for merchandise.
- Collaborate with vendors and resolve all issues in invoices.
- Ensure adherence to company best policies in maintaining stock and packaging of merchandise.
- Monitor inventory of all supplies.
- Assist various departments, maintain records of receipts and prepare presentations for projects.
A supervisor or leader might not interact with a staff member to know all that is going on. Some job functions are fairly routine, and the position might not generate above and beyond performance. But supervisors and managers can manage by walking around and recognize people.
Their work is very independent, but everyone needs a helping hand at one time or another. Saying thanks and expressing praise are probably constant among peers. It is supervisors and leaders who need to reach out more.
All online programs fit well here. Social recognition programs along with performance awards and nomination programs will work well.
3. Field Work Location: Fibre and Copper Splicer
Field workers like splicers leave the depot in the morning and travel to sites on their orders. They work individually without support to do the job they’ve trained to do. They may only see their supervisor at the beginning and end of their shifts back at the office centre.
Their job responsibilities entail:
- Performs “live” aerial, buried, and underground splicing work.
- Able to plan and execute fibre and/or copper cable splicing projects in such a manner that insures proper handling and installation without damage to the customer’s network.
- Reads and comprehends complex communications and design blueprints for accurate splicing and analysis of copper and fibre cables.
- Conducts complex rearrangements and testing without close supervision.
- Able to identify and diagnose problems and correct as necessary.
- Assumes full responsibility for completed work.
Their work is to complete what is on the order form and comply with the checklist of safety and professional requirements. Rarely do people see their work performance. Not a lot of face-to-face recognition happens for folks in this role.
You can give recognition for quality work and following all safety procedures to the letter. And you can give group recognition for the number of accident-free days as a team.
You can give points-based, spot recognition cards on those impromptu site visits and when you see safety behaviors practiced. You can have these cards associated with your organizational values and other compliance behaviors you want to target. Points are banked and redeemed back at the depot computer or via a smartphone. Depending on the organization, the setting up of a social recognition program might work for peers to recognize one another.
4. In A Clothing Store: Retail Sales Worker
I am sure all of us are grateful for those excellent retail store associates who help us find exactly what we want to wear. Time can go slow or quick depending on the store location. Customers can be a joy to serve or a frustration one smiles at until they leave.
Their job duties can include:
- Serving customers.
- Dealing with customer queries and complaints.
- Handling payments.
- Displaying products.
- Helping with special promotions.
- Ordering stock.
- Overseeing deliveries.
There are a lot of part-time staff and you may not issue them company email addresses needed for online programs. Not having computers available beyond the payment terminal limits online programs. In person, recognition and feedback is the best way to acknowledge contributions made.
Individuals can certainly shine with outstanding customer service that causes customers to return to specific associates. Top performers are readily clear through highest sales and upselling opportunities.
On the spot recognition with cards that show points or level-based award levels. Individuals can also be nominated by their supervisor or manager for higher-level performance rewards given regionally on a monthly or quarterly frequency. There might also be the annual best-of-the-best in sales performance, teamwork, living customer service principles, etc. Most are offline recognition programs.
5. Fast-Food Restaurant: Fast Food Workers
This is a fast-paced job for young and old. There is very little downtime for fast food workers. Computers are non-existent and break space is small.
These folks perform the following job functions:
- Meeting, greeting, and serving customers.
- Taking food and drink orders.
- Preparing and cooking food.
- Operating cash registers and receiving payment from customers in cash or by credit card.
- Washing and cleaning the restaurant tables, floors, and washrooms.
Supervisors are right there in the throes of customer service madness with the peaks and valleys of serving customers. It can be hard enough to keep the food orders running, let alone stop to recognize people. Where possible give quick immediate feedback to motivate the troops.
There are a lot of hard-working staff making the fast-food business happen. Head office sets up competition campaigns between stores. Leaderboards can be great for showing sales, speed of order fulfillment, time through the pickup window, etc. Spot awards and gift cards lend themselves to this mostly offline group of employees.
Use your meetings wisely to thank, recognize, and motivate your staff. This is mostly an offline delivery of point-based spot award cards or gift cards for amazing work. You can give team-based awards when they achieve or exceed performance milestones. Nomination programs can work for monthly or quarterly award programs for top performers across marketplace regions.
6. Previous Office Employee Now Working From Home
For any office related function that is now being done from home because of the pandemic. The same work expectations remain as in the office. However, it doesn’t mean the home environment is fully conducive to working there.
- Not everyone has the luxury of a home office to work from.
- Most people have to set up a table or desk in the bedroom or living room as their office.
- The goal is to find a quiet workspace with privacy and removal of distractions.
- Ergonomic issues may be present for seating and height of keyboard and computer screens.
- The show must go on!
You might not be aware of the amazing work they are doing without the face-to-face interactions or frequent encounters when physically present. Staff meetings, while often done through videoconferences, may not be as personal nor do you see everyone’s body-language. Make time to connect more often than you think.
By arranging weekly 10 to 15-minute touch base meetings, you can learn of staff’s successes and challenges. Connect regularly by email, text, and phone to find out personal needs. Note and commend them for overcoming the challenges of working remotely. Acknowledge outstanding performance and contributions in your virtual meetings along the way.
Social recognition programs allow everyone to thank and recognize their colleagues for help and accomplishments. Supervisors and leaders can use point-based and level-based reward programs to acknowledge above and beyond performance success. The social newsfeed shows those having birthdays and career milestone anniversaries. Everyone can join in with celebrating their peers. Of course, supervisors and leaders can nominate staff for living the values and excelling in their work performance. Most programs are smartphone accessible.
This gives you the implications behind what work people do and where they work on the type of recognition they may receive.
Recognition Reflection: Do your recognition practices and programs best serve where your employees work?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.