April 21, 2020

Our Recognition Program Needed a Revamp

Brei Wagner
April 21, 2020

Our Recognition Program Needed a Revamp

Brei Wagner

Company recognition programs are always a hot topic – how does a company properly recognize the team members that strive to impact the business beyond their defined role? In 2020, Spreetail took a step back to analyze if we were recognizing our team the way we felt really displayed the level of appreciation for those impacting the business and our people on another level.  

For the past five years, we’ve had a company-wide Employee of the Month program. Any team member could nominate another team member on an internal site, providing exposure to the nominee and what they’ve done to make a difference. Winners were selected monthly by our leadership team and we’d announce winners in our weekly company meeting. To celebrate, winners received a monetary bonus and chose where to have lunch catered in for the office. This recognition method was effective but after five years, we understood it felt saturated and the intent was no longer prominent to the company.

Spreetail LNK Team in 2015
Spreetail LNK, OMA, ATX Teams in 2020

When we began to assess our current program, we set out to answer three questions:

  1. Does the current recognition method provide the experience and feelings deserving of this recognition?
  1. Does the current program motivate team members to recognize the work of their peers?
  1. Is the program scalable at 500 team members, 1000, 2000, and beyond?

In assessing these three key pieces, we were able to determine that changes needed to be made to ensure our team was being recognized in a way that truly highlighted their achievements and dedication. So, what did we do about it?

We created a three-tiered rollout of a new program to highlight what we felt our original program was lacking.

First – we developed our recently implemented Spreetail Spotlight Awards. This is our quarterly company-wide recognition program. Nominations are structured the same as our former program, allowing all team members the opportunity to highlight the great work being done by their peers. However, instead of selecting winners on a monthly basis, we have seven quarterly winners – representing our six mantras and our commitment to bettering the communities we serve. Aligning our recognition program with our mantra made perfect sense as we use these six pillars as a guiding light to our team culture. When nominating their peers, Spreetailers review these mantras to evaluate who is embodying each pillar and deserving of the quarterly award:

Community Leader of the Quarter – Highlights an individual who shows up for their community outside of the programming offered by Spreetail’s Community Impact Team.

Be Relentless – Never give up on the pursuit of greatness. Sweat the details. No matter how big the tasks, success rewards perseverance.

Pursue Challenges – Think big to solve problems and tackle new ideas. Accept there may be setbacks, learn from them and move forward.

Act Like an Owner – Take responsibility and spend wisely. Treat this company as your own, because it’s all of ours.

Raise Your Bar – Set high expectations for yourself. Don’t get comfortable, seek new ways to stretch your potential.

Practice Humility – Ask questions and encourage open dialogue. Recognize that feedback is essential to growth.

Make Spreetail Better – Commit to our team. Support, collaborate, celebrate, and grow with everyone at Spreetail.

With the change from monthly to quarterly winners, we wanted to not only up the ante on how we celebrated the winners but also what they earned for winning. For our mantra winners, we increased the monetary bonus they receive for winning and for our new Community Leader of the Quarter, we provide a $1,500 donation to the non-profit(s) of their choice in their name. We determined the proper place to announce these winners was on the big stage at our quarterly company-wide All Hands Meeting.

Second – As a small startup, a company-wide recognition program was all we needed, but as we’ve grown the opportunity to recognize team members within individual teams is more evident and necessary. We partnered with leaders from each team within Spreetail to craft a sustainable and impactful Employee of the Month program specific to their team. Seeing the creativity that brewed when presenting teams the opportunity to create something all their own was incredible – from Vendor Management’s “The Builder” & “Crushing It” awards to the custom socks the Finance & Accounting team winners are now sporting. We’re confident building in this team layer of recognition will strengthen our team's relationships and ability to recognize those making a difference.

The Vendor Management teams February winners: Jake Riha (left) and Alex Mizerski (right).

Third – while not yet implemented, we’re working to identify how we can recognize our team members for their accomplishments outside of Spreetail as well. A few of our current benefits celebrate these accomplishments, i.e. a home purchasing bonus and extra time off around your wedding, but we know there’s more we can do here. Our third phase is developing a scalable and impactful program to celebrate more of these moments.

Our first Spreetail Spotlight Award Celebration looked a little different than originally planned when we launched the program in January. With COVID work from home restrictions in place, we adapted and hosted a virtual celebration complete with video interviews to announce each winner. We opened a thread in our Everyone@Spreetail chat and gave everyone the opportunity to leave messages of congrats and praise for each winner. While it may not have been what we originally planned, seeing our team come together virtually to celebrate the accomplishments of our peers and friends was a really cool experience and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to recognize the winners.

Q1 Spreetail Spotlight winners were announced via video interviews in a
virtual celebration due to COVID-19.

Relaunching Spreetail’s company-wide recognition and developing our team recognition programs were great first steps in enhancing the way we showcase our appreciation for our team members and the work they do, but the efforts can’t stop there. We’ll continue to evaluate, adapt, and grow our recognition efforts to ensure Spreetailers feel heard and appreciated as they continue to impact our team, our company, and our communities. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing the winners of the Inaugural Spreetail Spotlight Awards – follow along on our @wearespreetail social channels to learn more about each winner!

Brei Wagner

Employee Experience Manager

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