ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - October 2000


Issue Highlight — In Praise of C-SPAN
- Peter Block explains how supporting and viewing more media like C-SPAN, free of interpretation and corporate meddling, could provide an answer to the commercialized, unintellectual broadcasting that captures most of our attention.

Views For A Change

 In This Issue...
Love 'Em and Lead 'Em
Getting The Moose On The Table
Is Zen Your Cup Of Tea?
A Mariner's Tale

Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Heard on the Street

Return to NFC Index

Consultant Q&A

Farrell Responds:

I'd like to begin by addressing the four specific issues from your employee satisfaction survey:


  Equity built into the program needs to be apparent to all. Involving employees in both design and administration serves a number of objectives. Not only should it increase the perception of fairness, but it provides an excellent opportunity to communicate with employees one more time about the values the organization holds dear. Your employees' chief responsibility is to make sure that the recognition system meets their needs. You are responsible for making sure that it meets the needs of the organization.

"Whether a non-manager can meet the criteria"

  Change the makeup of the teams who review the nominees and include a cross-section of people from diverse levels of the organization, not just senior management.
Clarify the organizational values and objectives (desirable behaviors) that the plan is designed to reinforce. Then create a number of different categories of awards that recognize achievement in those behaviors. Examples include:
By level-this will insure that people at all levels know they are eligible
By location
By type of behavior or achievement:
Customer service or satisfaction (external and internal)
Innovation and risk taking
Employee development
Contribution to profitability
Improvement in work processes
Quality of work (where objectively measurable)
Individual contribution to the enhancement of teamwork

  "Deserving employees may miss out because they were not nominated"
Provide for peer and customer nominations as well as supervisory nominations. Give publicity to the nominator as well as the recipient. Broadening the categories as described above will also help.

"The standards are too high"

 This strikes me as primarily a communications issue. If the award is properly positioned, it should be clear that the standards are high, as they should be. It will raise the significance of the award if it is understood that the performance of the recipients is truly exemplary.

  Some closing thoughts: Don't have only managers poll their staffs. Rather, form a team to develop the redesign with a high degree of representation by employees, in which ideas can be fully aired and explored, without filtering by supervisory personnel. Identify the participants on this team when publicizing the improvements it implements. Balance the criteria so that no part of a job suffers when a person sets his/her sights on an award criteria.

  Consider naming the awards after employees who have in the past most demonstrated their commitment to those values. Naming the award enhances its perceived value in the organization and becomes part of its history. Consider creating a plaque or trophy on which the names of past and present recipients are memorialized. Today's "role models" become tomorrow's heroes.

David Farrell is a senior manager at Ernst and Young's Quality Improvement practice. He has assisted orgnaizations of all types and sizes in the design and implementation of improvment strategies and processes throughout the world. He is author of numerous articles ranging from "Quality Function Deployment" to "The Human Side of Quality." His current focus is on the management of change and ISO initiatives.

John Runyan Responds
Question for Consultants

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