September 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Incentive News

Dee Hansford Two organizations have been lauded for their employee recognition programs by the Naperville, Ill.-based National Association for Employee Recognition.

The Sacramento-based California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which manages the pension and health benefits for California state employees, and Vancouver, B.C.-based Telus Corp., one of Canada’s largest communications companies, were recipients of the association’s first annual Best Practices Awards. There were 17 entrants in the category.

CalPERS launched its low-cost, three-pronged recognition program in 1998. For day-to-day recognition, employees receive positive written or verbal feedback from their managers or peers; for the “informal” category of achievement in customer service, they’re lauded with a celebration; and for the “formal” award, they earn cash or gift certificates.

“We’ve had a 19 percent increase in employee satisfaction and reduced our turnover rate to 8 percent,” said Heidi Evans, CalPERS’ recognition program coordinator.

Canadian telecommunications giant Telus launched its own program a year ago. It offers no- or low-cost recognition with features such as e-mailed thanks and congratulations; earned points to be used toward gifts for employees achieving specific criteria; and top-honor rewards, in which winners are feted with a reception and receive glass sculptures.

The program has energized the entire Telus work force, according to Kendra Innes, who serves as the firm’s director of performance enhancement and recognition.

These companies’ programs are so outstanding, said Dee Hansford, a Sacramento-based recognition consultant and NAER board member, because they not only make employees happy, but they please top brass, too, since they are firmly tied to business objectives and ROI.

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