You know Derek Irvine writes some great articles at the Compensation Café regarding recognition. And 99% of it has nothing to do with money!
I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. It’s true . . . at least for me. The best recognition is not about money. It’s about feeling appreciated. It’s about feeling that you did something good, and it was noticed. It makes you feel you are not just a cog in a wheel but a person. It makes you feel that you are valued for your expertise, good judgment, decisions and recommendations. That you have the best interests of both the company and employees at heart.
I want to tell you about the best recognition I ever received in my career. The company shall remain nameless but other than that it is a true story.
I went to work for a company that had operations in 20+ countries. I was the International HR Manager. There were no HR people outside the U.S. My manager told me they weren’t sure how many employees they had at each location and that this was embarrassing. He said the CEO was upset that HR could not even answer a simple question like “How many employees do we have outside the U.S?”
My manager also told me that he didn’t know if the company was legally compliant in each country, had no idea what, if any, policies each location had, what their compensation was or what benefits they had. He told me “it’s yours --- go for it”.
I did audits in each location, participated in surveys, made sure each country was legally compliant, worked with business units to insure their employees in each location were paid competitively, and recommended supplemental benefits where needed. Each time I needed approval for something I was given the go ahead.
Toward the end of the “cleaning up” phase, I decided the company needed to implement multinational pooling. It was approved by my manager. I next made my presentation to the SVP of Administration. He asked me to come back to him and discuss it three times. At the end of the third session he finally looked at me and said ---- and I’ll never forget this:
“Jacque we hired you for your expertise. None of us here in the company know anything about international HR. I still don’t totally understand multinational pooling. I rarely approve something that I don’t fully understand. But if you think we should do it I approve it. I trust you and believe you have researched this and know what is best for the company and our employees.”
Well . . . . . . for the next week I was walking on air. I can’t tell you how much that comment meant to me. The SVP could have given me a “dinner for two coupon”, a $100 check, a plaque, etc. But the best thing he did was give me recognition that made me feel like a million dollars.
I can assure you that I worked even harder than ever from that moment on. I was determined to never make the SVP regret his words.
I have not forgotten his comment, and I never will.
Jacque Vilet, President of Vilet International, has over 20 years’ experience in Global Human Resources with major multinationals such as Intel, Texas Instruments and Seagate Technology. She has managed both local/ in-country national and expatriate programs and has been an expatriate twice during her career. Jacque has the following certifications: CCP, GPHR, HCS and SWP as well as a B.S. and M.S in Psychology plus an MBA. She belongs to SHRM, Human Capital Institute and World at Work. Jacque has been a speaker in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and is a regular contributor to various HR and talent management publications.
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