How do you recognize and reward outstanding employees?


A. “We recognize and reward our employees with year-end bonuses, based on a scoring system, with attendance and punctuality being from 1-10 points. We have the occasional company lunch for all workers — 20 or so a year — and a company Christmas party. Other than that, we try to be a fun place to work. We make sure our customers know our employees and give them the deserved credit for doing a good job. A company is no better than the people they hire.”

— Allen Berry, ACM Body and Frame, San Marcos, Texas

A. “What I find works better than anything is to give them $200 or $300 when they’re going on holiday and say, ‘Make sure you and your wife have dinner on us.’ Also, we sometimes let an employee use a demonstrator machine at their place. If they are taking the week off and hanging around home, I let them take a golf cart home for the week. It’s the little things they appreciate. In August, we also invite them all out to my house for a barbecue.”

— Bob Kittmer, REK Equipment, Uniondale, Ontario

A. “We have a ‘Gung Ho’ program where individual employees thank other individual employees when they do something special, plus they give them a $2 bill. We recognize them in our company newsletter in a variety of ways and we send out emails when there is a good satisfaction report. I also look at all service satisfaction cards that come back in and make a positive comment when they score a 9 or 10.”

— Don Van Houweling, Van Wall Equipment, Perry, Iowa

A. “To keep our most valuable employees with us, we have offered stock options so that they are part of the company and its success. We also offer bonuses throughout the year for those employees who go above and beyond. Insurance, uniforms, paid holidays and vacations are all part of our employee package as well. At least once a month, the guys in the sales department will cook for the parts and service departments to show their appreciation for the help they receive.”

— Jason Wilkes, Louisburg Tractor, Wake Forest, N.C.

A. “I usually look my employees in the eye, shake their hands and thank them — always in front of their peers. I will also recognize them in our periodic newsletter. Sometimes I’ll even recognize their performance with a gift certificate to a local restaurant. As a manager, we have to recognize the obvious levels of performance by employees. A counter person who sells 10 handhelds in a day is just as accomplished as a salesperson who may sell 10 tractors and must also be recognized.”

— Harry Wells, American Equipment, Farmington, N.Y.

A. “My idea for rewarding outstanding employees is a long-term reward system. I have chosen to give the best pay for the long term and to the best employees. I have 3 employees that have been with me for 10 years and another employee that has been with me for 7 years. This is my core group. During the drought of 2012, no pay or benefits were affected with this group. Other employees were let go and others still had their hours cut. You keep your best for better days. Rewards for outstanding employees at Smitty’s mean the top pay and job security.”

— David Wood, Smitty’s Lawn & Garden Equipment, Olathe, Kan.

A. “We have a communication center in our dealership that is located between the service and parts departments that every employee walks by on a regular basis. We have a gold star on the board that allows us to put an employee’s name with their achievement posted.”

— Mitch Merz, Merz Farm Equipment, Falls City, Neb.

A. “Our main way to recognize employees is at our annual awards banquet. There, we honor the years of service for employees starting at 10 years, then move to 20 years and then for every 5 years after that. We also have several awards for our parts and service teams who have achieved outstanding results during the year, with the focus being on a team award. In addition, several of the top salesmen for the year are recognized. Our company also uses our own newsletters and social media to promote our employees to the community and to our customers.”

— Mark Foster, Birkey’s Farm Store, Lafayette, Ind.

A. “We do many different things. For no workplace accidents, we have a store lunch. Our parts people have growth incentives with a bonus check. Salesmen are paid by commission, so their productivity comes in automatically.”

— Arthur White, White’s Farm Supply, Waterville, N.Y.