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July 29, 2005

Promotional products help bring out the best in employees

"Employee motivation is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today," wrote John Correll on his Web site, www. correllconcepts.com. Correll, founder of Correll Consulting, a Michigan-based company that provides strategic planning and consulting services to businesses, continued, "The fundamental question is, how exactly do we motivate employees to do their jobs the way they're supposed to be done, while enjoying it?"

In an effort to answer the question, several manufacturers provided case histories on various products that have proven effective in getting employees moving.

Audra Dahlgren, marketing director at St. Paul, Minnesota-based Crystal D, said that the company has provided products to various industries that have helped them achieve this goal. One such product is Crystal D's Superstar paperweight. It was used by a bank to increase the number of services customers used by 20 percent.

To kick off the three-month program, Dahlgren said, tellers were given the paperweight as a reminder to sell extra services. Sales increases made by each teller were monitored electronically to determine the top performers. At the end of the program, the branch employee with the highest increase in sales received the small Royal Star Award, and the top-selling teller was given the large Royal Star Award. "The tellers sold a record number of services, and the number of new accounts rose by 10 percent," Dahlgren said. "Management deemed the pilot program a success, and it is now a standard part of internal operations."

A slightly different challenge was presented to Howard Miller, a high-end clock manufacturer based in Zeeland, Mich. According to Michele Jennrich, sales representative, a leading insurance company was looking for a creative way to motivate its sales force. The theme "Time for Home Owners" was used in the campaign.

Jennrich explained that three different levels could be achieved by selling a specific number of homeowner policies. Sales representatives that qualified in each level received one of a variety of clocks. And, at the end of the campaign, the top performers were awarded a Chateau, Ashley or Jonathan grandfather clock. The total value of the promotion surpassed $90,000.

For companies that want a relatively easy but effective way to motivate employees, gift catalogs are worth considering, according to Scott Sodikoff, director of marketing and business development at Certif-A-Gift, Arlington Heights, Ill. His company was presented with the challenge of helping a bank grow incremental deposits, particularly business checking and savings deposits, by $150 million.

Teams of financial center managers, business bankers and commercial account managers participated in the campaign, titled "What's the Big Deal?" Each team was assigned a specific deposit goal, which included the normal balance growth for a similar period and their piece of the incremental growth required for the campaign. Team members who achieved their goals were awarded a gift catalog valued at either $150 or $250. Approximately 60 percent of team members received catalogs.

To further motivate its employees, Sodikoff said, the bank implemented an end-of-campaign drawing for teams that achieved their deposit goal, as well as check card penetration of 70 percent. Six teams were drawn, and each member received an additional gift catalog valued at $1,000 for the deposit goal, as well as a $250 gift catalog for check card penetration. Sodikoff said that the campaign was successful—achieving 122 percent of its goal. "The catalogs have proven to be very effective in generating the enthusiasm required for a successful campaign," he said.

The Road to Success

Correll also wrote, "Employee motivation is the vital ingredient to overcoming business problems, achieving business progress and realizing business goals."

And, to assist distributors with helping their clients do just that, Dahlgren offered a three-point selling system. "Distributors must first ask the recognition planner why the person or team is worthy of recognition," she recommended. "Understanding the purpose behind a recognition event will help distributors suggest products that will be symbolic to the recipients."

Dahlgren also encouraged distributors to ask the recognition planner for some basic information about the recipients. "Find out how recipients prefer to be recognized," she advised. "Going the extra mile to personalize the event to recipients' preferences will create lasting memories for them."

Finally, Dahlgren said that distributors should ask the recognition planner about his or her vision for the event. "Recognition planners typically have a mental image of the event or occasion, and an in-depth understanding of the organization's culture."

Whether a company wants to motivate its sales staff or its kitchen staff, incorporating the right promotional products will get the job done. "Typically, motivation programs repeat year after year," Dahlgren said, "and when they are done right, they can become a great source of income."

By Cynthia T. Graham

Posted by farfromboring at July 29, 2005 12:05 PM