August 18, 2016
by Jenny Watkins

The Olympics – What Can We Apply to Employee Recognition?

by Laurie Smith

Eric Smith and Steve Botting competing in the 1984 Olympics

Eric Smith and Steve Botting competing in the 1984 Olympics

If there is a lesson to be learned from the Olympics, that lesson is that a key motivator for high performance is recognition.

I came to this realization from a unique perspective; not only do I work for the best company in the Recognition industry but I have also been married for 28 years to a two-time Olympian.

Like many people across the world right now, I have been glued the television watching as athletes from around the globe compete in the Olympics.  They are recognized by the media, their peers, and their countries for their successes, but at the end of the day athletes compete for the ultimate recognition of excellence in sport, an Olympic Gold Medal.

Olympic athletes represent the highest performers in their sports, and their performance is driven by many factors.  It has been an inspiration to watch Usain Bolt and Andre de Grasse bond on the track. Their friendship, mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s skills creating not only a desire to succeed but also fueling their individual quests for gold. The goal of receiving a gold medal is burnt in their minds and drives the will to train and perform at ever increasing levels.

If you think about it for a moment, employees are not too different from athletes.

Like Olympic athletes, high performing employees are also driven by many factors, and one of them is recognition.

They are cheered on by their co-workers and companies for their successes.  The gold medal for a high performer in sales may be very different from a gold medal for a tech support specialist, a receptionist, your machinist or your executive management team. The lesson to be remembered and learned from the Olympics is that each of us have a gold medal that we are striving to win and that drives us to excel for our organizations every day.
Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith is Terryberry’s Regional Manager serving Ontario, Canada.

Learn about Employee Recognition programs from Terryberry

August 15, 2016
by Jenny Watkins


Two family-owned employee recognition providers combine services to strengthen client offerings.

Terryberry Kelleher established(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) August 15, 2016 – 98-year-old Terryberry today announced the acquisition of Kelleher Enterprises of Ann Arbor, Mich., a national specialty recognition incentive company.  The move is designed to enhance the global recognition company’s offerings and expand its footprint throughout North America.

Terryberry and  Kelleher have been working together on various projects over the past 12 months, and as the relationship developed, it became “increasingly clear” that the two Michigan firms strongly complemented each other, explained Mike Byam, Terryberry’s managing partner.

Founded in 1918, Terryberry’s focus has largely been in the employee recognition space with strong HR relationships. Byam anticipates the addition of Kelleher will boost Terryberry’s overall revenue by 15% this year.  Founded in 1982, Kelleher’s expertise is developing, managing and fulfilling programs which drive individual and organizational performance.  Kelleher has worked with some of North America’s most respected organizations including General Motors, La-Z-Boy, Inc., Masco Corp., and the University of Michigan.

Collectively, the two firms offer 132 years of experience supporting the growing recognition needs of their clients, which now total approximately 25,500 businesses and organizations throughout North America and Europe.

 “The opportunity to combine forces and expand our customer offerings to deepen those relationships for an even greater impact is compelling for everyone involved,” said Byam.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring these two solid, family-owned Michigan businesses together to deliver even greater value and impact to our clients,” said Mike Kelleher, division director of Terryberry Kelleher.  Mike Kelleher and a team of six associates will continue to work out of their Ann Arbor, Michigan location.

The partnership has recently led to a new product in Terryberry’s lineup of employee recognition services. Called Honoring Performance, it brings additional leaderboard insights, communication tools and program development services to Terryberry’s existing performance recognition solutions.

Terryberry employs approximately 240 associates globally, with approximately 175 employees working from its main Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters.

This is Terryberry’s third acquisition in the past two years. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


About TerryberryFounded by Herbert Terryberry in 1918, the company serves more than 25,000 clients throughout North America and Europe. Terryberry has been a major player in the innovation of employee recognition, including Give a WOW, the first-of-its-kind social media style employee recognition program launched anticipating the social media/business revolution in 2009, and the 360 Recognition Platform which continues to evolve as new tools emerge and the company forecasts business needs. The majority of its employees work at its world headquarters at 2033 Oak Industrial Dr. NE. in Grand Rapids, Mich. For more information, please visit

August 1, 2016
by Kelsey Rogers

Who Doesn’t Love Cash?

cashWe all love cash, don’t we? Cash is king. It’s the lube for our lives. We support ourselves with it and cover our primary human needs with it. We use it for shelter, we feed and clothe ourselves with it, we donate it, we save it, we spend it. We raise kids with it, we have fun with it, and we save for retirement with it. We need it. No argument here.

It also serves as the primary tender for our working contracts: I (the employee) will do some things for you, and in exchange for doing those things for you, you (the employer) will tender payment to me, typically in the form of cash. That’s our agreement with each other – it’s the result of fulfilling that contract – even if the fulfillment meets the requirements of the contract at a minimal level. For this agreement, cash is the appropriate, and desired, form of payment.

Cash, however, is not as meaningful as symbolic recognition when recognizing an employee’s efforts and contributions.

There was a great Seinfeld episode (Season 2, Episode 9 – am I dating myself?), where Jerry is trying to come up with a meaningful gift for Elaine’s birthday. View the clip:

After much deliberation, he arrives at his decision – $182 in cash. Based on Elaine’s flat reaction to the cash (Elaine to Jerry: “Who are you, my uncle?”), and her subsequent excited reaction to Kramer’s thoughtful gift (Elaine to Kramer: “The bench!!! You got me the bench!!!”), you’ll get the picture. A thoughtful, symbolic award will beat cash – every time.

When it comes to recognition, a cash award just doesn’t cut it. It’s impersonal. It doesn’t reflect the value you place on that employee’s contributions. For increased impact, employee recognition should be in the form of something tangible, meaningful, and symbolic. The award should be symbolic of the impact that employee has had on your organization, and serve as a reminder of the impact your organization has had on that employee.

Everybody loves cash. But tangible, symbolic employee recognition lasts longer.

It doesn’t take a big investment of time, effort, or money to recognize employee contributions in an effective and meaningful way. Terryberry can help any step of the way with developing, implementing, and managing your employee recognition program, service award program and providing meaningful and motivating awards. Learn how to get started today. 

Scott VanderLeek

Scott VanderLeek is the National Sales Manager for Terryberry, a global provider of employee recognition solutions. Other claims to fame include surviving a train crash and his budding career as a movie extra.

July 12, 2016
by Kelsey Rogers

3 Ways to use Recognition to Boost Performance and Engagement


3waysCo-authored by:
Irv Rubin Ph.D., CEO
Matt Stone, J.D., COO
Temenos, Inc.


Recognition is one of the most powerful development and morale-building tools. Most people will likely nod in agreement with this statement, yet the truth is that far too few managers are using recognition as effectively as they could to lead their teams. The reasons are many. Recognition is a form of feedback, and feedback is feared. For many, delivering any kind of feedback, whether critical or positive, can invoke fear and anxiety. It feels personal, so it can trigger a sense of vulnerability, or be perceived as threatening or too “soft” for some. And of course there is the problem of everyone being so busy. It takes energy and effort to praise well, so it is often a fleeting thought not acted upon, or done in an drive-by, ineffective way.

Great leaders and managers, though, become very mindful of and skilled at exchanging feedback because they know that feedback, including regular recognition, is the most fundamental and essential learning, development, and relationship-building tool.

Temenos has worked in the field of behavioral feedback for over 30 years. Based on our experience working with leaders all over the world, there are three critical points to using recognition feedback to develop high-performing engaged teams: (1) Do it, and do it regularly, (2) be sincere and specific, and (3) make it the main point of the discussion, not a softener or lead-in for criticism.

1. Do it…regularly.

Neuroscience is proving what we all know intuitively from our childhood: We learn and develop best when we are encouraged along the way. If all we hear is criticism, our brains are wired to defend and protect from the threat. Although better at hiding their true thoughts and feelings, adults in the workplace have brains with fundamentally the same learning and defense mechanisms as children.

In addition to remembering to recognize and praise, it is important to do it regularly. Don’t miss an opportunity to give praise contemporaneous with or soon after the praise-worthy conduct. This will help embed the good behavior and hard-wire it in the mind of the recipient. One highly successful CEO we worked with used to discipline her managers if their direct reports received feedback about a matter for the first time during an annual performance review. Her point was that waiting until a once-a-year appointment to give feedback is highly inefficient and ineffective as a method of performance management and employee retention. Waiting too long can diminish the positive impact of the praise, and even cause resentment.

In summary, make it a priority to stop and give praise and recognition, and do it as regularly as is warranted. And remember that the best way to ensure continued quality behavior is to recognize it.

2. Be sincere and specific.

Most people we encounter can spot a phony compliment a mile away. Perhaps that is because we have all been on both ends of it. Can you remember ever saying “Great Job!” to someone when your sense of obligation trumped the truth? We all know about toxic environments, but many organizational cultures suffer from being overly-cordial environments where people feel obligated to pretend to be respectful and happy. The thing that toxic and overly-cordial cultures share in common is that people do not feel psychologically safe enough to exchange honest feedback. And that stifles healthy relationships and development, which is the lifeblood of performance and engagement.

It is absolutely critical to be sincere about the praise so that a person feels safe to accept it as truth rather than simply dismiss it. The more specific the praise, the more sincere it feels and the more likely the recipient is to continue to exhibit the behavior that earned the praise. A vague statement like “nice work” is akin to junk food. It feels good in the moment, but lacks the nutrients needed for healthy development. So next time, try something like:

Nice work! I really appreciate how organized your presentation was. By putting the financial summary first, it put the strategic plan you covered in better context. Can you share this with the executive team so they can prepare better for next month’s Board meeting?

Finally, the more honest and specific the praise, the more trust is built. That trust level will come in handy when it is time to deliver constructive criticism.

3. Make it the main dish, not an appetizer.

One of the most commonly used and insidious feedback techniques is bookending constructive criticism with praise. This should be avoided at all costs. Once a criticism entrée is served up with a gratuitous appetizer of praise, the ability to effectively and earnestly deliver praise in the future will be seriously hampered if not destroyed. If the praise recipient learns to expect criticism after praise, they will forever associate praise with criticism. However sincere or substantive the praise point, most people will simply be waiting to hear the criticism and won’t likely even remember the praise. But they sure will remember the criticism. That is how our brains work. So the better way is to separate praise exchanges from constructive criticism conversations. And if the praise must be discussed in the same conversation with criticism, provide advanced notice that there will be specific points of praise and criticism. Start with the criticism so that there is a chance the person is feeling relieved and relaxed when hearing the praise.

While praise and recognition definitely feel good and can increase personal goodwill, leaders would be wise to remember that the primary reason for using praise is to encourage winning behavior that will result in better individual and team performance. And if most of the team members are developing, feeling encouraged, and performing well, there is a very good chance that the engagement survey will reflect the same.

Oh, and did we mention that giving praise and recognition will also make you happier?

Temenos, Inc. is the maker of The Behavior Minder®, the world’s most effective behavioral assessment tool. For more information about using behavioral feedback to develop great leaders and high-performing teams visit us at


Irwin M. Rubin, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Rubin is considered one of the founders of modern organizational development. He earned his B.S.E.E. from Tufts University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from M.I.T. Dr. Rubin established Temenos, Inc. in 1985. Temenos’ legacy program ABCs of Win-Win Relationships and its groundbreaking assessment tool, The Behavior Minder®, have been used to develop leaders and improve team performance at organizations both public and private around the globe.


Matt Stone, J.D.
Chief Operating Officer

Consultant, business development specialist, and attorney, Matt Stone had a fortuitous encounter with Dr. Rubin over five years ago that changed the trajectory of his life and eventually led to his leadership role with Temenos. As Temenos COO, Mr. Stone has been responsible for all aspects of strategic development and execution related to redeveloping and launching an all-new online version of Temenos’ flagship assessment tool The Behavior Minder®.

June 8, 2016
by Kelsey Rogers

Quick Immediate Recognition

immediate recognitionIt’s WOW Wednesday! HR leaders, execs, and managers: How do you WOW the people who go above and beyond for you in your business? Or, how have you been WOWed?

Today’s WOW Wednesday comes from Synovia
She says: “We recently added spot bonuses and it is working so far. Quick immediate recognition is very rewarding and retention tool for Gen Y’s and employees overall.”

Share your own “WOW Wednesday” tip or story. Leave a comment here or post on Terryberry’s Facebook Page or Twitter using hashtag #WOWWED. Make it a WOW day!

Join hundreds of organizations that use Give a WOW to ignite a dynamic culture of recognition in the workplace.  It’s employee recognition, social-media style! Get the Free Trial!