The Astron Road Show

Green Mountain Payroll Meeting

On September 10th, Astron team member Michael Maciekowich will be a guest speaker at the Green Mount Payroll Association one day conference in Burlington, VT! Come here him speak on designing an effective total rewards strategy. Sign up soon, there is limited spacing for this event!

CEA Survey Debrief

On September 16th, Jennifer Loftus will conduct her annual salary survey debrief to the Cement Employers Association during their annual gathering.  This year’s event, limited to CEA members, will be held in Savannah, GA.

New York State SHRM Conference

Have you wondered how you can engage your employees in a new and innovative way? One avenue organizations are exploring is Gamification.  Astronology discussed the growing popularity of gamification in a previous article. On September 28-30, 2014 Michael Maciekowich will be a guest speaker in Buffalo, NY at the New York State Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference. Michael Maciekowich will be speaking on Gamification and the use of it in Human Resources. Register today to hear him speak!

2014 Upstate NY Healthcare HR Conference

From October 8 – 10, The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Association (ASHHRA) Upstate New York Healthcare Human Resource chapter will be hosting its annual conference. The Astron team will be in attendance and look forward to seeing many of our friends in the Healthcare industry! The conference will be located at the Woodcliff Resort & Spa in Fairport, NY.

Wisconsin State SHRM Conference

Looking for a way to gain more knowledge on HR topics and policies? The Wisconsin State Society of Human Resource Management will be holding its conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference will be held October 15-17, 2014. In addition to exhibiting, Michael Maciekowich will present “Gamification in Human Resource Management: An Introduction.” He looks forward to seeing you!

As you can see Astron will be on the road several times throughout the summer and into the beginning of fall. Will you be near any of these locations? Consider stopping by and saying hello to the Astron team! For future updates on Astron’s travels, check out our Astron Roadshow page!

Rewards and Recognition: Are You Doing Enough to Acknowledge Employees ’ Hard Work?

September 2, 2014  |   General
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Forbes reported in 2012 that there is a $46 billion market for employee recognition programs. With it being such a huge market, clearly employee recognition is important for every organization to consider. Research from Bersin indicates that in “organizations where recognition occurs, employee engagement, productivity and customer service are about 14% better than in those where recognition does not occur.” With our interest piqued, Astronology will dig deeper into the topic of employee rewards and recognition, and explore best practices for these programs.

Employee recognition programs can vary, from the very simple and inexpensive to the elaborate.  No matter where your organization falls on that continuum, the stakes are high when considering the impact of a low recognition culture on an organization’s bottom line.  What are some consequences of ignoring the need to recognize employee contributions? 

  • Low productivity and low performance
  • Negative attitudes and a poor team culture
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Low employee retention rates and increased turnover rates


It’s safe to assume that no organization would like to have to address and reverse any of these issues. And yet, doing something doesn’t mean that it will be a success.  Even more unsettling is learning that you can have a rewards and recognition program and still not meet the needs of employees. How so?

Susan M. Heathfield’s article featured on points out that, for starters, many organizations believe in the “one size fits all” model when it comes to employee recognition and rewards. This results in narrow thinking when deciding when and how employees should be rewarded and recognized. As a result, employee complaints, jealousy, and dissatisfaction become prevalent.  Guidelines to consider in order to create a sharper rewards and recognition program for your organization include the following:

  • Decide what you want to achieve through your employee recognition efforts.  A program cannot solve all problems and motivate everyone to do everything.
  • Create goals and action plans for employee recognition.  Metrics focus activity towards the relevant and significant.
  • Ensure that fairness, clarity, and consistency are important to and evident in the program.
  • Avoid “employee of the month-type programs.”  These approaches are usually not clear to employees and lead to accusations of “pet employees” receiving the awards.
  • Recognize all people who contributed to a success equally.

Heathfield highlights a program to increase attendance that can spur your organization’s brainstorming in the area of employee rewards and recognition.  An organization hands out a three-part form or three-part certificate.  During the organization’s weekly staff meeting, one form is given to employees who had perfect attendance the previous week. The second form is kept in the personnel file.  The third form is entered in a monthly drawing for gift certificates. The goal and action plan for the program are clear, the raffle catches employees’ interest, and the approach avoids the angst that “employee of the month” programs can cause.

Forbes also gave the following best practices for employee recognition programs.  Consider these when developing a new or reviewing an existing employee rewards and recognition program.

  • Recognize people based on specific results and behaviors. Leave the “employee of the month” mentality and deliver awards based on specific actions.
  • Implement peer to peer recognition, rather than the traditional top down approach. According to Forbes, “peers know what you’re doing on a day to day basis, so when they ‘thank you’ for your efforts the impact is much more meaningful. Top-down recognition is often viewed as political and it rarely reaches the ‘quiet but critical high-performers’ in the company.”
  • Make recognition easy and frequent.  Make it simple and clear for everyone to participate, receive, and enjoy.
  • Tie recognition to your own organizational values or goals: “Too many CEOs and managers focus on bottom line results without thinking about how it feels to slog away and work without anyone saying thanks.”

Has your organization established a rewards and recognition program? Does your organization adhere to some of these suggestions? What works best for you?  We’d like to hear from you!  Please submit your response to Astronology and we may feature your response!

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