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u s O Kd Ideas and Information for The Recognition Experience ®

V o l u m e


N u m b e r


Cooking Up a Culture of Performance and Recognition Performance recognition at Sara Lee Foods Rob Headley, a marketing manager for Sara Lee Foods, left the company’s annual Christmas party with a queasy stomach. No, the food was great; the entertainment in good taste; but there was something about the video board in the corner scrolling the images and names of Sara Lee Foods’ performance recognition recipients that made him uneasy. “As I watched a series of slides showcasing the accomplishments of the company and those who had really stepped up to contribute in the past year, I realized there were no pictures of my team or those we work with,” says Headley. “It was not only embarrassing, it became glaringly obvious —and almost painful—that we were not represented. It wasn’t that we hadn’t accomplished anything noteworthy as a team—we had. The problem was that we needed to be better Peggy Krebs, at recognizing and elevating our people.” Customer So Headley left the party with a resolution—to better Service recognize the efforts of those he works with. Manager “I’ll admit, I was skeptical going in,” says Headley. “I wondered how the company’s BRAVO! program was really going to work. But when you start getting into it—wow! You discover this is really neat, something we can use.” Since the party, Headley has recognized many of his coworkers and has been recognized himself for taking on challenging projects. Headley now knows first-hand the impact recognition has on improving focus and attitudes. As the leader of Sara Lee Foods’ BRAVO! performance recognition program Rhonda Sebastian, vice president of organizational effectiveness, (cont. on page 2)



A recent poll of 712 global HR professionals asked,

Did you know?

“What’s your manager’s biggest shortcoming?”

As reported by London’s Melcrum Publishing:

 52% said the inability to act as a leader  51% said their inability to communicate upwards  49% said their managers were inept when it came to knowing employees’ needs Strategic recognition develops leaders and enhances communication by emphasizing knowing and meeting employees’ recognition needs. Source: HR FactFinder, September 2004

Above: Rhonda Sebastian, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness Left: Rob Headley, Marketing Manager for Sara Lee Foods

INSIDE: ■ Performance recognition at Sara Lee Foods

■ DHL launches “Carrot A Day” program

■ The latest in jewelry designs featuring corporate symbolism

two COOKING UP (continued from page 1) hopes to highlight and encourage the outstanding achievements of the division headquarters’ 1,030 employees. And with the support of managers like Headley, it’s working. The company celebrated 1,460 nominations in the program’s first year. Recognition is inspiring Sara Lee Foods’ managers, coworkers and employees to honor and exemplify the extraordinary. “Our highest number of nominations is in the area of commitment – committing to treat our customers, colleagues and suppliers with dignity and respect. That is good news for me,” Sebastian says. “It makes me very happy to see the majority of our BRAVO! awards recognize those who are committed to caring for the customer. Those types of actions will generate good results for the business.” And business results are exactly what Vice President of Applications for Sara Lee Sara Lee Foods is after. The recent Foods, Chistine Gillespie merger of nine separate business units into one division brought many changes and challenges for Sebastian and her team. Aside from merging the systems and corporate structures governing the new unified business, it soon became clear that creating a unified performance and recognition strategy would be one of the keys to ultimate merger success. “Employees were very hungry for this — hungry for a lot of reasons,” says Sebastian. “Coming from nine different businesses you can imagine that there were many different forms of recognition, and some businesses that had no form of recognition at all. It was a real meshing of cultures. In many cases employees were left wondering, ‘What’s going on here?’ It was time for us to get our arms around the workplace experience of our employees.” Sebastian and her team began by researching recognition best practices and surveying employees about how they would like to be recognized. Sara Lee Foods’ BRAVO! Program Human Resource Manager and Recognition Co-Leader Monica Mehta recognizes outstanding achievement in four key areas: says focus groups were invaluable in discovering what was important to  ommitment – Committing to Sara Lee Foods’ employees. treat our customers, col“Employees were pretty open about leagues and suppliers with how they wanted to be recognized,” dignity and respect says Mehta. “Our concern was to develop a program that rewarded  ppreciation – Showing appreabove-and-beyond behaviors, but ciation for different back when it came to how those behaviors grounds, ideas, skills and should be recognized, employees knew experiences what would motivate and we listened.”  esponsibility – Showing Once Sara Lee Foods’ recognition responsibility by giving back to team understood how employees wantthe communities in which we ed to be recognized they set to work live and work with the help of O.C. Tanner Regional Manager and Recognition Consultant  xcellence – Having a Debbie Phipps defining the behaviors passion for excellence Sara Lee Foods would recognize. in everthing “Our executive committee recogwe do nized and understood the value of recognition in the workplace and they





Volume 9 Number 1

understood the importance of having core values at the heart of everything we do,” says Sebastian. “The important part here was not the BRAVO! program—it was shaping our culture. That meant defining values, rewarding and recognizing the achievement of those values and putting resources behind the program. A strong commitment to being clear about the behaviors we would recognize as an organization helped us stay focused on what we’re trying to achieve. If you lose that focus then your recognition and rewards system becomes diluted.”

Getting Management Buy-in Once program criteria was defined, it was important to encourage executive and manager buy-in for the program. “One of the most important things we did at program launch was meet with all of the executives and upper-level leadership,” says Sebastian. “As a part of that meeting we explained what we were attempting to do with Sara Lee Foods’ culture evolution. We announced the BRAVO! recognition pro-

“The bottom line is that if you have managers who are good at recognizing their teams, you have team members who become good at recognizing each other – recognition feeds on itself and results in better performance.” Peggy Krebs, Customer Service Manger gram and went over the behaviors we were expecting to see in the organization. Two of our most senior executives helped us introduce the program. Having them involved helped to show senior management support.” Vice President of Applications for Sara Lee Foods, Christine Gillespie, says Sebastian’s approach to the launch made a big impact on program success. “The training touched everybody in the organization,” says Gillespie. “Typically you send out a bunch of e-mails saying, ‘Here’s a new program, start using it.’ Or they meet with a couple of managers and say, ‘Spread the word.’ Instead, this time they talked about how the program fit with Sara Lee Foods’ core competencies and how we needed to make sure this program was foundational to our core. The message they gave by meeting with everyone reinforced its importance and reinforced that we are doing good things to help our culture change and bring us together as a company. We all heard the same thing and understood. We committed as managers to support it, use it and drive it.”

The Power of Presentations As part of the program launch, managers were encouraged to make the most of each recognition opportunity by formally presenting awards to employees in front of coworkers. Why do presentations matter? Sara Lee Foods’ managers and employees agree that presentations contribute to an increased level of respect, awareness of roles, understanding and appreciation for the value of different people. “It’s hard not to feel good about making a contribution when you’re recognized for it,” says Human Resource Administrator and BRAVO! Coordinator Lisa Ruehrwein. “The biggest impact is made when departments get their groups together and let everyone know what the individual is being recognized for, how their contribution impacted the group and Sara Lee Foods as a whole.” (continued on next page) Peggy Krebs, Customer Service Manager and her team


‘Carrot a Day’ Program Launched at DHL There were days when those who worked in IT were happily burdened with more carrots than they could carry. Praise, perks and pay were in abundance for tech workers in the late nineties. Unfortunately, when the technology bubble burst, many a carrot crop was left to wither. Today, however, courier giant DHL is sharing a new harvest of carrots with its IT staffers to ensure it can continue to attract and retain top-notch employees. Says Computerworld magazine, “[DHL] represents the first proactive and notable IT-worker recognition effort since the technology bubble burst in 2000.” The pilot program at the DHL Americas IT facility in Scottsdale, Arizona is designed to recognize the company’s IT workers with everything from praise to prizes and perks, based on the philosophies of the best-selling “Carrot a Day” book by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. Says DHL CIO Steve Bandrowczak, “We want to remain one of the most exciting places to work, to maintain a world-class working environment that helps the company attract and retain top-notch employees. [The Carrot initiative] will help to give them tools and techniques to recognize employees and peers.” Left: After Giving a copy of “A Carrot A Day” to all employees. DHL invited recognition author Adrian Gostick to speak to managers on carrot dos and don’ts.

COOKING UP (continued) Gillespie agrees, “People enjoy presentations. They show what they’re doing and that they are appreciated. It also raises the bar because those that aren’t being recognized see the recognition and want to understand what they can do to earn recognition too.” Presentations are resulting in more than good feelings for recipients and inspiration for coworkers; in fact they are contributing to a culture of performance and recognition at Sara Lee Foods. “We have started making recognition and thank you part of daily life at Sara Lee Foods,” says Gillespie. “I like seeing more people say thank you for small things—even outside the formal recognition program. In my managers and across the organization, people are really thinking about saying thank you whereas I did not see that two years ago.”

Find a Partner Encouraged by the results of their program and shifts in culture, Sara Lee Foods’ program creators recommend partnering with a recognition expert to design and implement an effective performance program. “We began this project on our own, but we were glad to find help crafting the final product,” says Human Resource Manager and Recognition Co-Leader Sonia Villines. “When we began looking for a Human Resource Managers and Recognition Co-Leaders Monica Mehta and Sonia Villines partner, we realized the consulting, design and project management aspect of a recognition expert was very useful. We could not have done it as effectively on our own. Our partnership with O.C. Tanner has been an outstanding experience and continues to be.” Program reports are among the most helpful tools the BRAVO! program provides Villines. “We didn’t have visibility of these type of exceptional actions before the program,” says Villines. “It has been helpful for me to see nominations because when I get feedback from managers about high-potential employees or people making significant contributions I can refer to some specific behavioral examples from the BRAVO! nominations. We are getting to know our employees in new and better ways.”

Recognition in Action The program is also helping employees come to know and respect each other in new ways. “I know now that recognition can build relationships,” says Headley. “The recognition I received put me on a different plane with the nominator. Now we are friends and when we get a chance to work together we look forward to it. To be recognized formally meant a lot; it gave me extra motivation and made me wonder what I could do to keep the momentum going.” Headley says he now looks at the list of BRAVO! recipients the company publishes as a resource of people he can go to and ask, “What was your project, what did you do to be successful?”

Exec Customer Service Manager Peggy utive Krebs has also seen the positive Summ  Sara Lee us effects of strategic recognition on ary es promo te beh strategic rec her team. aviors line r that yi ognition to “Teamwork is the only way we  Man esults eld bot agers a tomget things done in customer sernd emp relatio l oye ns vice,” says Krebs. “BRAVO! riences hips throug es build stro h nger recogn helps us reach out to the people  Sara L i t i o n expee we work with and depend progra e Human Res m o u on—recognition is helping us paperl visibility th rces enjoys ro ess pro f break down silos of informagram ugh a compl ull e t ely tion and attitudes in different parts of the company.” Krebs shares her experience managing the supply of one of Sara Lee Foods’ most popular products—hot dogs, during its busiest season—summer. “The first two summers after the consolidation, we had our challenges,” says Krebs. “But the summer of 2004 it clicked—we executed so well as a supply chain that it didn’t seem like the busy season it was. In those instances, customer service usually gets a lot of the credit, but I felt that the load planners and warehouse staff needed some of that recognition.” Krebs made sure they received it by nominating 25 people for BRAVO! awards to thank them for their efforts. Many of those she nominated were individuals she worked with daily over the phone, but had never met. “When they received their awards, it was amazing,” says Krebs. “They couldn’t believe someone had thought of them. It meant a lot. The bottom line is that if you have managers who are good at recognizing their teams, you have team members who become good at recognizing each other – recognition feeds on itself and results in better performance.” For Sara Lee Foods, recognition is quickly becoming a way of doing business. For managers and employees the question is not whether or not to recognize, but when and how. “You have to find time to recognize,” says Gillespie. “People certainly appreciate the dollars. But I see people stay and thrive as a group when they understand the vision, they understand the challenges, they get diversity in what they learn, and they are appreciated. Lisa Ruehrwein, HR Administrator and Appreciation BRAVO! Coordinator is a critical part of the work experience.”

Volume 9 Number 1

four O.C.




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ku-dos - It may sound a bit exotic to your ear, but it’s a great word. It’s of Greek origin, and means to acclaim or praise someone for their achievements. Kudos to Alice on her 15 years of service.

O.C. Tanner presents The Statements Collection Subtle, Stylish Symbolism Whether hanging elegantly ®

Kudos Volume 9 Number 1 Publisher

O. C. Tanner Recognition Co. Editor Adrian Gostick Managing Editors Mindi Cox Sarah Orellana Amy Skylling Design/Layout Janice Takagi Graphic Supervisor Shauna Raso Award Photographer: Rick Hayward

from a custom pendant or embedded in a fine writing instrument or watch, these beautiful pieces stylishly integrate your company mark. Employees enjoy unique designs that provide a continual reminder of company appreciation. Select from a wide variety of watches, jewelry, pens and accessories.

KUDOS is published by O.C. Tanner Recognition Company, 1930 S. State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84115. Copyright 2005 by O.C. Tanner. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission is prohibited. Not responsible for unsolicted materials. Second-class US postage paid at Salt Lake City, UT 84101 and additional offices. Postmaster send address changes to above address.



ON THE COVER: Hartmann Travel Bag, Waterman Rollerball Pen, Sony Mini-disc/MP3 Recorder


“Employee absenteeism is one of the most significant employer issues that companies face today. Not only are the costs staggering – up to $1.17 million annually for companies with 1,000 to 2,499 employees – the effect of unscheduled absenteeism on employee morale and productivity is prohibitive to the success of many companies.” —Michelle Stewart of MedCan, Canada’s leading healthcare management company

“If businesses are to grow their way out of the current economic malaise, they will have to get more productivity out of their people—not by cutting and slashing, but by nurturing, engaging and recognizing.”

“I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”


—Charles Schwab, chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation

—John A. Byrne, editor-in-chief, Fast Company magazine


1930 South State Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84115 4200 Fairview Street Burlington, Ontario L7L4Y8

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Sara Lee Foods feeds performance with recognition.

Salt Lake City. UT


Volume 9 Number 1