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Focus and Flexibility Prudential’s Rewards and Recognition Program in Action

Prudential Insurance Company of America has a healthy mix of formal recognition and flexible on-the-spot rewards.

July 1, 1998
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Under Deborah Gingher, vice president, HR policy & strategy, the Prudential Insurance Company of America has a healthy mix of formal recognition and flexible on-the-spot rewards. The Newark, New Jersey-based company tailors its formal recognition by department so that managers can avoid what Gingher calls the vague "you’re doing a hell of a job" approach. The tighter focus ensures employees know exactly what the company expects of them, she says.

Customer-nominated awards are given out quarterly, and Gingher promotes both the nomination and reward process in company newsletters and e-mails. Typically, Gingher spells out what the award recognizes. For instance, in HR’s case, the ACES award celebrates HR professionals who excel in "the four roles an excellent HR function must fulfill in support of the company’s objectives: Administrative expert, change agent, employee champion and strategic partner." [For more information on each of these four HR roles, please visit www. workforceonline.com/win/index.html] Gingher follows the explanation with a description of each winner and his or her exact efforts. "Using the winners as examples gives everyone a true-life idea of what we’re looking for," she says.

A new Customer Focus Award recognizes employees who "take the initiative, [go] beyond their job requirements and act as motivators, leaders and innovators on behalf of our customers." A cross-section of operations and systems employees make up the quarterly selection committee. Winners receive a $300 "night on the town," recognition [at] events, a crystal award memento and eligibility for a "Best of the Best" award—$1,000 in Prudential mutual funds.

Just as important as the formal recognition, says Gingher, is allowing managers the flexibility to offer informal goodies. Teams who’ve completed a project early or under budget, for instance, may find themselves treated to a Broadway show, spot cash or dinners. One division head, who’s active in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, gives donations to the group in the name of excellent employees, and gives out a special Make-A-Wish teddy bear in recognition. "I like the idea of tying recognition to a non-profit," says Gingher. "People go crazy to get these teddy bears. Employees not only know they’re appreciated, but that they’re making a little boy or girl happy."

Workforce, July 1998, Vol. 77, No. 7, p. 34.

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