a day focused on employee appreciation? how about a whole week

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employee appreciation

Employee Engagement Advice from FIS, the Winner of the 2011 O.C. Tanner Recognition Leadership Award

I recently had the great honor of travelling to interview employees and executives at FIS. A Fortune 500 company that counts employee engagement as one of its guiding principles, FIS focused on rebranding itself to its 32,000 employees following the biggest merger and acquisition in the company’s history. A big part of its strategy: employee appreciation— including a full week of thanks and fun each year for the people who make it all happen.

During my interviews, I was really impressed listening to employees talk about their CEO, Frank Martire, like they saw him every day. Whether he was “in the building” (a hard feat when you have locations around the world) or not, he was seen as accessible.  So it didn’t surprise me when Frank accepted the Recognition Leadership award that he had this advice for corporate and HR leaders:

  • Find out what your people are thinking, even if it’s not going to be great news, so you can improve, “Don’t hide from it but address it.”
  • In bringing companies together, it’s important to take the best out of both and make it one culture; “Concentrate on culture because if you get the culture to work as one, you’ll be successful.”
  • Be sincere. When you do surveys don’t ignore the feedback but do something about it.
  • Senior management has to be behind it every single day, so when you meet every single day and not every month, you’re asking, “How are we doing?  Are we doing the right things?  Are we making it a better company?”
  • Remember improving employee engagement is a journey and not a destination, “You need to continuously work on improving your relationship with your employees.  It’s hard work.  It’s a commitment.  It’s something you have to do every day.  Some days are better than others but you have to be focused, committed and every day wake up in the morning to say, ‘I’ll never take it for granted how important our employees are to us.'”

View Frank’s full acceptance speech and learn more about FIS and the significant results achieved (hint: In just one year, overall employee engagement increased 16%, employee well-being has increased 31%, and how employees feel appreciated and recognized has increased by 61%).

Congratulations FIS. I was inspired by the commitment to your people and a leadership that truly cares.

By heather mcarthur
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