Employee Recognition 2: We've got the Power!

By Ko de Ruyter and Debbie Keeling

Having just witnessed the summer of sports (from the comfort of our couch), we like to keep an eye on the bigger picture when it comes to the concept of performance. While munching away at some lovely Cote d’Or bars, we were very pleased to read in a New York Times article that adding (dark) chocolate to one’s training diet will improve athletic potency. In the same paper, we read about high potent marihuana now grown in Colorado and we even spotted an ad for those little blue pills that now enhance …. well, you know what. Potency seems to be the new buzz word, and as we are in the performance enhancing business, we know how to make this work for your company. 

Now, most loyalty marketers focus on rewarding customer or business partner behaviour. Yet, there is another important side to the loyalty coin and that is recognizing the performance of employees. There is a so-called profit chain that links employee motivation and behaviour with customer loyalty. We have witnessed an important shift when it comes to employee recognition programs; the focus is no longer on incentivizing individual employees, but on rewarding the performance of teams. We have moved away from the old HR mantra ‘high potentials’. This refers to employees who have yet to live up to their promise. Instead, we are putting the notion of ‘team potency’ or the power to actually realize results in the spotlight. 

Initial research findings are beguiling. In a study among 60 client-facing financial advice teams we find workgroups that score high on team potency (by rating, among others, their ability to solve any customer problem they encounter) have more loyal customers. So, what are the drivers of team potency that should be recognized? The answer is very clear: a little help from their friends. Support from supervisors, members within the team and assistance from other teams are key in making a team feel they have the power to do a great job in securing loyal customers. You don’t need to hand out chocolate or even blue pills, but you need to make sure you reward these helping behaviours... the long term payoff is potent!