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Recognizing Excellent Work

April 2014 – Vol: 37 No. 4
by Stephanie Schwenn Sebring

ESL FCU's staff recognition program includes five ways to thank employees for a job well done

April 18, 2014

TrophyEditor's Note: This is Web-only bonus coverage from "The Empty Desk" in the May 2014 issue of CU Management.

$4.8 billion/319,000-member ESL Federal Credit Union, with more than 650 employees in Rochester, N.Y., has a recognition program that’s used to thank, motivate, inspire, and show appreciation to employees for their contributions.

"The four primary reasons to recognize employees are to salute a job well done, for going above and beyond to deliver a superior experience to internal or external customers, for living our core values in an extraordinary way, and for accomplishing key business objectives linked to our corporate strategy and/or scorecard," says Maureen Wolfe, SVP/director/human resources and community relations.

Here are some examples of ESL FCU’s recognition program, which managers and/or employees can use to show their appreciation to their employees and colleagues, respectively:

On-the-Spot Recognition: This program enables managers to recognize employees for a variety of reasons, usually shortly after the activity has taken place (same day, or within 24-48 hours). It allows managers to provide “personalized recognition” based on the employees’ interests and activities.

Departmental Honors: Department Honors recognizes an employee within a department or unit for a specific work accomplishment or contribution. The employees’ achievements must exceed “On the Spot” recognition. Department managers, in conjunction with the vice president, nominate the employee and agree to the nomination based on a specific set of criteria. Employees, who merit the honor, may choose between a cash award and a day off.

ESL Honors: ESL Honors are the ultimate form of recognition at the credit union. These highly selective awards are given to no more than 12-15 employees each year. Those nominated must excel in their position; have made a significant contribution to the organization in a “most compelling” way; satisfy three or more reasons for recognition; and demonstrate excellence, service and/or leadership, explains Wolfe. Recipients are nominated and selected by the senior management team and are recognized at the company’s Employee Forum, which is held twice a year. Once awarded, the nominated employee receives a cash award and a keepsake trophy.

Values in Practice (VIP) Awards: This program celebrates and elevates ESL FCU’s core values by recognizing employees who have lived one or more of them in an extraordinary way. An employee may nominate any other employee for this award. Recipients receive a written notification of their award, an invitation to a VIP quarterly breakfast with senior managers and a cash award, as determined by the Recognition Ambassadors Team.

Kudos to You!: This program was established to encourage and promote peer-to-peer recognition at the credit union. This simple, no-cost recognition provides an easy way for employees to offer public “kudos” to other employees for posting on the company’s intranet.

With 25 years of marketing and communications experience, Stephanie Schwenn Sebring established and managed the marketing departments for three CUs. As owner of Fab Prose & Professional Writing, her new focus is on assisting CUs and industry suppliers with their communications needs.

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