What is the correlation between business excellence and motivated employees?
They go hand in hand, according to the nominees for the 17th Annual Prism Awards, a local program which honors excellence in businesses and organizations serving the Eastern Maumee Bay communities.
Prism judges consider nine criteria before making their decision. They are: teamwork, product quality, customer service, creating opportunity, community involvement, job creation, innovation, safety and probably the most important, employee benefits.
Employee benefits goes beyond the expected competitive salary, health insurance and vacation. Other benefits can help one team capture more of the market than another team. These include profit sharing and recognition and rewards programs.
Over the past 17 years I’ve reviewed all Prism applications in my role as a volunteer for the sponsoring organization, the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce. Many of the 109 Prism winners provide the obvious employee benefits but they also have something else in common regarding their employees. They tend to foster open communication systems to generate employee input into decision-making, they tend to share success and they tend to imbue the workplace with a sense of fun. The way they do these things vary. Here are 10 such ways from this year’s nominees:
1) A.A. Boos, a general contracting firm which employs 145, sponsors a quarterly social night for all employees and their significant others. These team building activities have included attending a Toledo Mud Hens game, a Toledo Walleye game or a trip to the Toledo Zoo.
2) Bay Park Community Hospital gives employees numerous outlets to volunteer time or give donations to the less fortunate. Employees in 2009 donated more than 100 turkeys to food pantries; presented 125 books to Coy Elementary School and volunteered for the Oregon Reads Program to help struggling students improve reading skills.
3) At the Challenger Learning Center employees try to meet for lunch after major events and programs, as both a reward and as an opportunity to reflect on the task completed.
4) At Occupational Care Consultants in Oregon, employees can wear jeans on Fridays if they contribute $1 to $2 to a fund. The money is donated to a local charity.
5) Doctors Paul Eby and Thomas Lieser of Occupational Care Consultants believe in strong families so they provide staff members with four hours of paid time off each month to go along with regular vacation pay. The paid time off helps parents care for their children without losing pay.
6) Employees at Occupational Care Consultants also receive a gift card to their favorite shopping or dining establishments on their birthday and a bonus on Thanksgiving.
7) P & W Painting, an East Toledo contractor specializing in industrial and ship painting, holds weekly safety meetings to discuss any incidents or near misses that occurred the previous week. Employees then discuss better ways to maintain a safe work environment.
8) At St. Charles Mercy Hospital, senior leadership participates in a program called Patient Safety Leader WalkRounds, in which they visit each unit to talk to staff regarding identified and potential safety issues. Issues are handled immediately or delegated for follow up. Drills are conducted routinely to prepare staff for real events.
9) At Eagle’s Nest Sweet Retreat, Diane Huss Masserant hires a lot of high school students for their first job. She cross-trains them so when they need time off for a sports, school, family or social event she can accommodate the request. She also knows fun is an important part of work so her employees can test-taste new menu items and they are allowed to eat ice cream “til the cows come home.”
10) The Eastern YMCA presents a monthly MVP award to an employee whose work exemplifies the core values of the Y and goes above and beyond the call of duty. Recipients have their photo and personal summary displayed on the bulletin board in the lobby. They are also rewarded with a gift certificate to an establishment of their choice.