“Organizations recognising employee Excellence; A key towards building a better economy” WEEK OF EXCELLENCE 2013 – John Williams, Chairman, BPSA

Recognizing employee excellence is not a new concept but taking the time to consider its importance as a key towards building a better economy is certainly commendable as it comes at a time when we are so heavily focused on retooling and transforming Barbados during this period of economic challenge.

Williams added - "At this stage of our national development, there should be no argument that as employers and employees we are all aware that appreciation is a fundamental human need. Indeed, there are few persons in the work place who do not want to be respected and valued for their contribution. This is as applicable to the most junior employee as it is to the most senior executive."

Williams added – “At this stage of our national development, there should be no argument that as employers and employees we are all aware that appreciation is a fundamental human need. Indeed, there are few persons in the work place who do not want to be respected and valued for their contribution. This is as applicable to the most junior employee as it is to the most senior executive.”

We believe that when employees and their work are valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises and they are motivated to maintain and indeed improve upon their good work.

However, I must confess that when the CEO of BPSA, and I discussed this topic of recognising employee excellence in the workplace, she reminded me of a statement I made at our meeting to conduct staff appraisals. I said, an assessment of working “beyond expectation” cannot be awarded for simply carrying out a normal job function well, as we are all expected to work well our job.

This view will probably lead you to the question, what is working “beyond expectation” or in keeping with your theme, what then is “employee excellence”? I challenge you to come up with your own answer but, I am sure that in doing so will lead you on an interesting journey during this week.

Of equal importance is that we have adequate and consistent measures of what constitutes employee excellence. In November 2011 NISE released the findings of the NISE Employee Engagement Index (NEEX) and this presented some interesting findings which may be helpful in your deliberations. While there was no direct focus on the role of employee recognition the NEEX causes us to consider concepts such as employee satisfaction and motivation in the workplace and consequently in our economic development. Employee engagement being “the degree to which employees are satisfied with their jobs, feel valued and experience collaboration and trust.”

Consider this statement made in the NISE presentation;-

“An employee that is not engaged at work might indicate a high level of satisfaction with the organisation. This employee is getting everything they wish, a steady pay check, benefits, sick leave, and paid vacation. Their actual contribution to the well-being of the organisation in terms of the innovation, creativity and productivity is negligible but they are satisfied.”

While we speak of employee recognition let us not just restrict our thinking to the feel good factor. There are indeed benefits to be derived in the workplace and in the economy by recognising employee excellence. Some may argue that employee recognition remains an undervalued management technique, for example, the NEEX shows that the aim should not be merely to have satisfied employees but engaged employees.

The BPSA head also noted - "As we therefore consider the role of recognition of employee excellence as a key towards building a strong economy I’ll dare to ask should we not also consider a mechanism for dealing with those persons who consistently fail to deliver what is a normal expectation? This is a challenge which I throw out for your consideration."

The BPSA head also noted – “As we therefore consider the role of recognition of employee excellence as a key towards building a strong economy I’ll dare to ask should we not also consider a mechanism for dealing with those persons who consistently fail to deliver what is a normal expectation? This is a challenge which I throw out for your consideration.”

Let us use the deliberations during this Week of Excellence to be creative in this approach to building a better economy. We must also understand that while the onus is on the employer to recognise and award employee excellence there is also the responsibility on the part of the employee to bring about excellence such that there is something to be recognised.

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