Employee recognition programs motivate employees to deliver quality service--which leads to satisfied customers. With 100 employees to motivate, the J& S Construction Co., located in Cookeville, Tenn., created Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) awards. This program recognizes workers praised in customer thank-you letters or employees who go the extra mile to save customers money, increase productivity, and make the workplace safer. "Recognizing employees for their extra efforts keeps them happy, and in turn they keep customers happy," says Adam Bernhardt, total quality management coordinator.

ABCD award stickers are placed on winners' hardhats, making the awards visible to customers. When a customer asks about the colorful stickers, the resulting discussion reinforces the company's service values and prompts customers to mention their own service needs. Accumulated stickers can be traded for a gift, and the winner is highlighted in the company newsletter, Constructively Speaking, which is sent to every employee, customer, and potential lead.

"Recognizing employees who work smarter, not just harder, is vital to success in this industry," says Bernhardt. The ABCD award program has paid off for J& S: In 1997, 100% of customers responding to a survey said they would use the company again, and 79% of jobs came from repeat customers--an increase of 11% over the previous year.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing