Star Gazing

One of my favorite places to shop in town reserves a parking space closest to the door for its employee of the month.

That retailer, like many businesses, knows the importance of small, regular gestures that publicly recognize employees. Such kudos build employee loyalty, inspire excellence and motivate workers to perform at a high level month after month.

A recent article by Charles Christian entitled “Motivate With An Employee Incentive Program,” summed up the value of such efforts. “Employee recognition programs go a long way to creating a happy and productive work environment. They create an environment that fosters the development of both individuals and the company in a way that is mutually beneficial,” it said.

While a choice parking space may seem somewhat unconventional, especially measured against other more traditional approaches like financial rewards, trips, and other tangibles, it does provide a concrete illustration of what makes employee recognition and rewards so powerful: namely, they’re public.

Writing in the Portland Business Journal, author and president of San Diego-based Nelson Motivation Bob Nelson advised employers to: “Present rewards in a public forum. Rewards are not meant to be presented in the privacy of an employee’s office. Schedule a special meeting for the occasion, and don’t camouflage the rewards. They must stand out and be highlighted; don’t squeeze praise among a dozen other topics of conversation.”

Traditionally, company newsletters and paper notices posted on bulletin boards have provided a degree of public awareness about employees who’ve achieved excellence. However, some employers are using a far higher-profile means to recognize company stars publicly.

Honoring employees on an in-house digital signage system elevates the visibility and effectiveness of employee programs. If executed properly, the digital sign-based recognition can enlist some of the intangible power and attraction broadcast television often imparts to an event or person.

What makes digital signage so well suited for employee recognition is the fact that by its very nature it is public. Scattered strategically around a corporation — in the lobby, the cafeteria, the corporate recreation center or on the factory floor– digital signs sew a thread of community awareness throughout an organization, uniting it in its endeavors and providing a public forum to recognize employees.

Recognizing employees on a digital signage network can be as simple as displaying a picture and text or as sophisticated as a video of the recognition ceremony complete with a few words from the award presenter and the recipient.

Equally important is the fact that digital signage taps into our culture’s obsession with and attraction to television. The very fact that the employee is recognized publicly on large plasma or LCD screens throughout the company carries a bit of the status the public ascribes to being on television. Thus, in the minds of those who are honored the perceived value of the public recognition on a corporate digital signage network is likely to be higher than similar recognition in a company newsletter or notice posted on a bulletin board.

To be sure, corporate managers are unlikely to decide to install a digital signage network solely to recognize outstanding employees. However, for those companies with digital signs, publicly recognizing the achievements of employees in living color for everyone to see makes good sense.

Doing so can amplify employee recognition programs intended to validate the contribution of an employee or group of workers in an organization. That in turn can motivate workers to turn in stellar performances, which is a critical ingredient to the success of any enterprise.

David Little is a digital signage authority with 20 years of experience helping professionals use technology to expand their marketing messages with alternative media . Visit and find how you can expand your marketing horizons.