Richard Needles

Tuesday, 23 October 2001 10:47

Worth doing well

Positive reinforcement for a job well done is a great motivator. Everyone likes to be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty and praised for doing good work.

The effectiveness of positive reinforcement is no secret, and employee recognition can be an excellent way to build unity, team spirit, leadership and a sense of return on investment among hard-working staff.

As one of Central Ohio's largest banks and a company of more than 700 employees, Fifth Third Bank thinks it's important to meet regularly as a group and recognize our staff, not only to say "thank you" but to share our leadership's perspective on key messages and business goals and our company's culture of hard work and hustle. This kind of recognition increases morale and breeds more good work by encouraging employees to contribute to the success of the company.

To be truly successful in praising deserving employees, recognition must be systematic, carefully planned and consistently implemented.

At Fifth Third, we have several recognition and incentive programs related to sales and customer service for various bank departments and individual associates. And we recently created a prestigious new initiative. Called the Gold Pin Awards, the program was designed to recognize individuals who model the values and practices that continue to bring success to Fifth Third in Central Ohio.

The Gold Pin Awards cross all departments and levels of the bank. Peers nominate each other in categories reflecting six bank values: hustle, sales achievement, efficiency, community involvement, customer service and first-year accomplishments.

Each value is aligned with company practices and awards in each category are named after a person who has a legacy with Fifth Third. We thought it was important to tie the awards to the bank's personality and history, conveying a sense of meaning and context for the way we do business.

Employees were so interested in the Gold Pin Awards that they turned in more than 200 nominations for 100 of their co-workers. The executive team narrowed the field to 32 finalists, each of whom had received multiple nominations. These people are truly the cream of the crop.

Award winners were announced during an Academy Awards-style employee meeting held on our bank's favorite day -- May 3, otherwise known as "Fifth Third Day." Winners received a 14-karat gold Fifth Third lapel pin, an etched glass award and a $1,000 travel voucher.

The lapel pin was chosen because it is an icon of our company -- one that visitors see employees wearing on a regular basis. Sometimes referred to as "the power of the pin," it is a symbol of our team, our dedication to our business and our collective goal to be "the only bank you'll ever need."

Not only did the awards serve to raise awareness of the accomplishments of our staff, but the event brought us together as a group to celebrate our achievements and enjoy each other's company. It is important for our employees to know Fifth Third recognizes that their performance is the key to our success.

Our employees are our most valuable resource, and we intend to treat them that way. Employee recognition is a simple gesture, but it certainly pays dividends for your employees, your company and your customers. Richard Needles is vice president of human resources for Fifth Third Bank, Central Ohio. Reach him at 341-2682 or richard.needles@53.com.