James Kuzilla, General Manager at Griswold Home Care in Houston, TX, became a believer in the power of employee recognition for his caregivers, and now can’t imagine running his business without it.
In a recent conversation with a member of our team, James shares his thoughts on getting to the truth about what really motivates employees, and what they value in the form of recognition and appreciation. He also goes in depth on how they pick and choose their winners, and the results they see from the “Outstanding Caregiver of the Month” program.
Pay special attention to how James and the leadership team overcome the challenge of recognizing a team of remote workers. They came up with a creative way of making the celebration a very big deal, and getting their clients in the fun, too!
Listen to it in James’ own words
(See below if you prefer to read a printed transcript)
Genevive Otuka Okafor “Outstanding Caregiver of the Month” – pictured with Jim Vonderhaar, Owner of Griswold Home Care in Houston, TX.
“It has an unintended result, as well, in that it gets me a little closer to the employees.“
What’s your story?
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Here’s the transcript from James’ audio
I think it’s a great way of acknowledging people. If you’ve read the list, I’m sure you have, money is never the number one driver of job satisfaction. It’s usually number three. The number one driver is typically recognition.
Creative presentation idea!
I have caregivers who have literally cried… We send caregivers into people’s homes, or living communities, or hospitals, or wherever they are. We announce it to everybody via mass message, and then I’ll personally go out and present the plaque to the caregiver while they’re working their shift, when they’re with their client. It creates a special kind of environment.
It has an unintended result, as well, in that it gets me a little closer to the employees. In the nature of this business, I’ve got an office staff who I see everyday; but the majority of my caregivers I don’t see that often. So, it’s a nice way of getting to know them better, having a light-hearted “atta boys.” It’s just awesome. I’ve enjoyed partnering with you guys and I think it’s a great product.
Recipient love the awards
At first we were really tinkering around, you know… Do we want to include a $50 gift card? Do we want to include a $25 gift card? The response that just the award itself is so significant that it really just kind of enforces all those lists that we read. People want ongoing training and support, people want to be acknowledged, and money is third. This program really embodies those analytics that you see.
How do you decide who wins?
We use a software that basically runs our business; it’s called Clear Care. I think the majority of all Griswolds use this system. It’s how we communicate with the caregivers. It’s how we compile our analytics. Our whole business is run on this system. We have different tags that we look for in there.
For example, the management team decides… Everybody throws their name into a hat as to who this month has stood out. I, then, as the general manager, take all of those… if there is a consensus, then that’s who wins. Often times, because we have so many caregivers… often times there are 5 different people who are voted for, so in that case what I do is go into Clear Care and I start looking for criteria and key performance indicators. like missed clock ins, call off a shift, HR incidences; all of these things are things that will omit you from winning employee of the month.
If we have 5 different votes, i go to the person who #1 gets the most compliments, requests to have a caregiver come back… I go back and I look through the different criteria online and that’s essentially how we choose.
So, if there is a consensus among the team, that’s who wins. If there is not consensus, then I go in and I look at the analytics and say: “This person was late twice, and this person was late zero times, ergo this person wins.”So not arbitrary… it’s arbitrary in the sense that if everyone votes for them there doesn’t need to be analytics to support it. But if there is a tie, that’s how we break the tie.
To us, this is a necessary and nominal expense. To some agencies… it’s a lot of money. My message to them would be, and I wouldn’t say it to them like this, but you got to spend money to make money. A happy staff will make for a happy office and a happy office makes for a profitable office. It’s something that I wouldn’t even consider NOT using.
The impact.. I think a lot of people, particularly.. I don’t want to say Old skool… I’m in the middle, I’m 40… the one generation before me, they weren’t really into this whole accolades thing, “atta boys.” You come in and you do your job because that’s the expectation; I don’t need to congratulate you for doing your job. But the new generation are very much about that type of recognition. And so keeping with the times…
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen these list, and I always thought they were bull. The number one reason somebody leaves is that they didn’t get the recognition, and number two was they didn’t get the support, and number three is the money. And I always thought that was bull; money is always number one. That’s just not the case. Everybody thinks it is, and it just isn’t. Until you become an employer yourself, its just something you don’t grasp.
I’m happy… if you want to mention the Houston office and how happy we are, I’m happy to support you in that effort. Because we are, we genuinely are. We’re thrilled.
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