Stars In A Sea Of Sameness

The training administration team at Glasburg Associates perform miracles on a daily basis. Not only are they preparing for next week’s batch of training courses, they are assisting in courses running each day and they are covering the phones to sell training to new clients. Their job is never boring but it rarely changes from one day to the next. Oliver Hollins and Philippa Ibbitson are both on the team and, although Oliver considers himself to be better at the sales aspects of the job, Philippa has phenomenal accuracy and speed in producing course material. Neither seems to receive appropriate recognition of this.


Unlike project teams, office teams do not necessarily have a beginning, middle and end to their main activity that you can easily gauge. Week-in and week-out they will plough through an unending landscape of sameness that they are well adapted to. For these teams recognition must be tied into efficiency, improvement and customer service measures.


There is a 3-point guide to building a recognition and reward framework for office teams:


Communicate and agree the reward and recognition scheme clearly and unambiguously


Design the rewards to be tied into behaviors that are business critical


Have a reliable measurement system that demonstrates progress


Agreement is the key to formal team recognition. Clear guidelines about what is expected and sympathetic handling of questions about what happens at the boundaries will motivate teams to drive for results.


The trainers at Glasburg Associates use “Delegate evaluation forms” to gauge how well they have been received by their audiences. Trainers receive a bonus if the forms demonstrate an average score of 8 or better out of a possible total of 10. So many questions were raised about “How many evaluation forms should be counted?”, “What if the average score is 7.9?”, “Can we exclude really low scores caused by trouble-makers?”, “Can we take the average of all of the courses held that month?” that a decision was made to change the focus of the recognition scheme. It became clear that experienced trainers found the target easy to meet but inexperienced trainers became disillusioned because they were starting from a lower baseline.


The 8 out of 10 figure is still retained as the standard to be worked towards and experienced trainers are recognized for maintaining high scores that exceed this figure. However the others are now rewarded for making more than a 0.3 improvement month on month. The system is not perfect but they now have a method of motivating everyone in the company to improve their performance.


Teams exist to offset the weaknesses of individuals and to benefit from the strengths of each member. A recognition scheme can bring a greater awareness of this by highlighting the different skills necessary to achieve success.


Glasburg Associates now use the same approach with their Admin team as with their training team allowing Oliver Hollins to be rewarded for his superior sales skills and for Philippa Ibbitson to receive acclaim for her efficiency.


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