A recent article in the Globe and Mail cited the importance of employee engagement. Organizations with programs in place to encourage, recognize and celebrate employee contributions to company success saw a positive financial impact on the bottom line. With skilled labour becoming more and more difficult for some sectors to source — coupled with an aging workforce — attracting, building and retaining a motivated well-trained team is becoming paramount in our ongoing efforts to remain competitive today.
Over the course of the last thirty years, HFS - Healthcare Food Services has grown from servicing four hospitals with high-quality menu choices to producing over 6,200,000 meals servicing 50,000 beds in over 1,500 healthcare facilities nationwide! Located on the eastern edge of Ottawa, their growth has been phenomenal! Recently, they celebrated a 10th Anniversary in their new facility with due recognition by Management that growth of this nature could not have occurred without solid support and ongoing engagement from all levels of the organization. That "momentum" if you will, has allowed the company to successfully grow and expand while remaining true to their corporate goals to "provide better food, better service and better education" for their customers at both institution and patient level and their suppliers as well.
As a new EMC Member, HFS welcomed the opportunity to host an event so area processors could learn about their organization, tour their very modern facility, and-in the spirit of true peer networking-share best practices with respect to Reward and Recognition Programs!
HFS certainly understands the significance to their bottom line from an employee engagement standpoint and right from the start our host pointed out that "it is the people and staff that make your organization successful". By weaving that core concept into their corporate culture, HFS was able to develop a number of reward and recognition programs designed to maintain and enhance the engagement of their workforce, subsequently enabling them to grow so much so that they:
- Provide product from Eastern to Western Canadian Borders and from the most Southern Provinces to the Arctic Circle;
- Produce over 600 menu items; and
- Hold annual conferences on the Future of Food in Healthcare with speakers from around the world!
What is working for HFS when it comes to specific programs? Well, some things to remember for sure - communication is key and of that, listening is paramount; treat people with respect; and celebrate with enthusiasm! With those elements in mind, monthly town hall meetings take place two weeks after every period end to determine current benchmark targets. Here are some sample activities that you may wish to adapt to suit your organizational needs:
- Celebration Days - 10th Anniversary, special Multicultural Days, Birthdays, Work Anniversary's - with recognition at monthly meetings, special notes, cards, cake etc. depending on the celebration
- Christmas Party - paid party for all employees and their spouses
- Attendance Bonus - five days of pay for no days missed for union employees and $100 per sick day not taken out of five allotted for non-union - there are also monthly draws for $25 for those with perfect attendance
- Service Awards - provided for years of service for 5-10-15-20-25-30+ years with photos and prizes presented at Christmas - gift certificates, HFS jackets, watches, soapstone carvings and cash are examples of items given to employees depending on the number of service years
- Work Anniversary - CEO visits with Supervisors and reviews candidate and personally writes congratulatory message demonstrating his interest and engagement at recognizing the staff for their contribution to the success of the company
- Suggestion Program - monetary amount of $10 per suggestion and 15% of first year of saving on any cost saving suggestion
- Safety - free lunch if no lost time for three successive months
- Spoilage - free lunch if monthly on-floor spoilage is under the set target amount
- Productivity - if staff achieves a labour savings below an agreed upon rate/kg then a special incentive amount is paid out to the employees at Christmas
- Team of the Month - takes into account quality, attendance, productivity - free lunch is provided each month to the winning team
- Team of the Year - the employees and their spouses are treated to a meal at a restaurant of their choice and HFS pays for everything - this is a real gala affair for them and they are very excited and look forward to dressing up for this very special occasion
- Special 10 Year Anniversary for HFS - a competition was put forth to guess the cumulative number of kgs of production over the past ten years
- Boat Cruise - special opportunity for employees
Consider if you will your own programs for a moment - what are your reward and recognition objectives? How did you communicate and roll-out your program? How have you measured the effectiveness of your efforts in this regard? Did it achieve the desired results? Where do you plan to take your program from here?
I am sure that you can imagine there was considerable discussion and lots of questions with respect to implementing and sustaining programs of this nature and our Hosts were very willing to share their experiences in that regard as were companies attending who had similar programs in place.
Complementing our discussion, in the Globe and Mail Article referred to above, "Employee Engagement: Committed, and Proud of It" by Susan Bourette, AON Hewitt reported that "each disengaged employee costs an organization an average of $10,000 in profit" and that "engaged employees have a lower rate of absenteeism, less turnover, and are more likely to work efficiently and with a greater customer satisfaction focus" (Published: April 4th, 2013). It makes sense, therefore, from a bottom-line standpoint that companies need to consider the opportunities an engaged staff can offer in today's rapidly changing and globally competitive environment.
A couple of other Articles of Interest were shared to supplement discussion:
1. "Five Ways to Retain Employees Forever", Harvard Business Review, David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott, November 12th, 2012, speaks to "the "5 R's" of employee relationships: Responsibility, Respect, Revenue-Sharing, Reward, and Relaxation Time."
2. "Make the Most of Your Young Employees", recently published in the Bakers Journal, by Ken Whiting, looks at what it takes to attract the younger generation suggesting that a company "Hire the Best, Incentify Performance, Recognition Equals Retention, Technology, Communication, Manager Education, and Workplace Readiness" as keys in building support, generating creative ideas and program success.
Final thoughts from our Host underlined the importance of meeting with your staff, listening to their suggestions and needs, of treating people fairly and in the importance of becoming engaged Leaders.
Thank you so much to our Host - HFS-Healthcare Food Services in Ottawa - for the warm welcome, the wonderful plant tour and for sharing their thoughts and best practices with respect to Reward and Recognition Programs!