Friday, October 30, 2009

Head to Head with Cancer... part 2

In case you missed it, earlier this week we had a very special and very amazing event at Rideau: Head to Head with Cancer. Our employees came together in an amazing way and raised over $35,000 towards the Canadian Cancer Society.

View a little video of the event below with special guest Jean Beliveau!
Or click here to read more about our event.

Art from the Hart

Sacré Coeur

I painted this on a trip to Paris last year with my wife Francine. It was a Sunday afternoon and the crowd on the steps were listening to an artist playing hits from the 70s in English.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Head to Head with Cancer

My Mom Phyllis, was first diagnosed with cancer in late November 1996.

She was in Florida at the time and even though she was fully insured, her long time Florida doctor recommended that she return to Canada so our family could help support her and my Dad through her coming battles. Mom was operated on two weeks later and had several really rough months but she survived her ordeal.

Sadly, the cancer returned early 2000. This time she was not so lucky. She died on October 27th in a small hospital north of Montreal surrounded by my Dad, sister, two brothers, another long time family friend and me. Her passing brought our family, which was already close, even closer together. Every year at this time we get together, raise a glass and tell Silly Philly stories.

Four years ago, on the fifth anniversary of her passing, we decided to participate in the local Shave to Save campaign that raised funds for Cancer. Our employees, suppliers and clients raised over $11,000 for this great cause and my best friend Cam Ferguson, my brother Stephen as well as my two sons Jonathan and Jordan along with me shaved our heads for the cause.

We decided to do it again this year. Again on the anniversary of my Mom’s passing. The only difference being we opened it up to all our employees. Yesterday afternoon, almost 20 of us participated in our very own event: Head to Head with Cancer.

More importantly… we have raised over $35,000!

(Click here for more pictures of the event)

I want to thank all fellow shavees for participating in this event. I want to thank all my Rideau employees, suppliers, clients and friends who contributed to the event. I also want to thank my good friend and hockey legend Jean Béliveau for coming out and supporting all of us. Jean battled cancer the same time as my Mom so his participation was especially welcome.

Together we can all beat this terrible disease that has taken away so many of our loved ones.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2010 Recognition RX: Engaging Employees for Economic Recovery

One of my proudest professional accomplishments was to found the Recognition Council, a Strategic Industry Grouping (SIG) within the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) . For the last two years I have had the privilege of serving as its President.

The Recognition Council was formed to provide an awareness of how recognition and rewards can help achieve better business performance. Our focus is to educate and promote the benefits of recognition and rewards to the worldwide business community.

Today the Recognition Council numbers 30 strong and consists of our industry's leading recognition and reward companies.

We have just released our very timely second white paper “2010 Recognition RX: Engaging Employees for Economic Recovery.” This will help your organization determine how recognition programs and budgets should be constructed for maximum impact.

I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank Susan Adams, the Recognition Council’s Chair of Education Content. While many people worked on our white papers, Susan acted as our Chief Organizer and we all owe her a big debt of gratitude.

Click here to view other Recognition Council resources.

BTW… Sue probably has the coolest business title of anyone I know… she is Dittman Incentive Marketing’s “Great Escapes Solutions Director”! And no… this doesn’t mean breaking folks out of prison! If you’d like to learn more about Dittman Incentive Marketing and Susan’s innovative Great Escape solutions check out this recent article in


Friday, October 23, 2009

HRO World Europe - November 18-19 London

On Wednesday, I spoke about a recognition conference in Paris, while you're in the area, you should hop over to London and try and catch the HRO World Europe conference.

It takes place November 18 - 19 in London.

My good friend and fellow Rideau Board member Jay Whitehead along with his colleagues are bringing together over 250 senior executives who are intent on transforming their HR operations.

Another good friend, Christophe Laval CRP will be delivering a keynote titled “The Intersection of 3 European HR Megatrends: Performance Management, HR Outsourcing, and Recognition at Work”. Christophe serves with me on Recognition Professionals International’s Board of Directors and is the President & CEO of VPHR. He recently wrote “Plaidoyer pour la reconnaissance au travail (”A Plea For Recognition in The Workplace”). His firm VPHR, is the first European firm dedicated solely to recognition in the workplace.

It should be a very informative keynote and conference!

Break a leg Christophe!

Click here to register.

My Friend Mark!

More words of wisdom from my friend Mark Twain...

One should not pay a person a compliment and straightway follow it with a criticism. It is better to kiss him now and kick him next week.
- Inscription written on fly leaf of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Reported in Kansas City Star, April 10, 1911, p. 6.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recognition in Paris

If you happen to be in Paris on November 10th, you should join me at VPHR’s conference on recognition at work!

A few of my colleagues will be speaking about the impact of recognition in the workplace.

However, I should warn you, my presentation will be in French. And this warning not only stands for my English participants – but my French ones as well! LOL!

So if you’re willing to bear with me, I invite you to some very Parisian recognition time!
Click here for more info!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Starting Over After 42 Years!

Recognition Professionals International’s 2nd Best Practice is to have senior management buy into your company’s recognition strategy. In fact, Recognition Professionals International deems this so important that it is an essential ingredient for a Best Practice program.

At Rideau, we are very lucky. The chief architect of our recognition strategy in Roy Saunderson. Roy is the president and founder of the Recognition Management Institute, a division of Rideau. My senior management team, many whom are CRP grads support our strategy and lead by example.

But I’m proud to say that Rideau goes even further. Our Board of Directors help management walk the talk. For example, this summer, we had our annual service award ceremony and the entire Board of Directors attended the event. Indeed, some were even recognized for their years of service to the company. Jay Whitehead and Brenna Garratt both celebrated service anniversaries. Gord Feeney and Governor Arne Carlson, our Chairman and Vice Chair both celebrated 5 year anniversaries and participated in our ceremonies as recipients.

I had a bit of fun with Gord Feeney… he worked for 42 years for RBC Financial Group, Canada’s largest company with 80,000 employees. Gord ended up in the number two spot as the Bank’s Vice Chairman. Gord always wears his 40 year RBC service pin with pride. It is a beautiful pin and features four diamonds. Of course, when Gord got his 5 year Rideau service pin he took off the RBC pin and replaced it with his 5 year Rideau pin… sadly, it only featured one lonely ruby. I told Gord no bother… in another 35 years his Rideau pin would feature 4 diamonds!

Seriously, getting management buy in is essential. But if you can, get your Board involved too. It sets a powerful example!

Weekly Art from the Hart

Memories of España

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Innovative Ways to Drive Employee Loyalty

On October 21st at 2 pm, I will be presenting with a group of very interesting panelists at Virtual Incentive World.

We will be talking about ways to drive employee loyalty. My fellow panelists are Will Ng, Incentive Magazine Managing Editor and Lerzan Aksoy, co-author of “Why Loyalty Matters,” a great book which I happen to be reading right now!

Hope to virtually see you there!

Register here!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let’s Hear it for a Recognition Bill of Rights!

I love history because it teaches us so much. Not only about the past, but about today as well as the future… who hasn’t heard the expression, “history repeats itself?”

One very interesting document I’ve read is America’s Bill of Rights. It contained the first ten amendments to the US Constitution and was introduced by James Madison. It came into effect in 1791 and became a model for many other countries that passed bills outlining individual rights.

That got me thinking… there ought to be a Recognition Bill of Rights for the workplace.

My Recognition Bill of Rights would start out with a preamble that states all employees should be treated with respect and dignity in the workplace.

It would articulate that employees should be appreciated for who they are and what they do.

It would go on to affirm that recognition should not be left to the discretionary whims of managers.

It would declare that recognition in the workplace is a “right” for everyone in the workplace!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Recognition from the Hart

Employers Web published my new article on trade shows. Click here to learn about how to get the most out of these conventions!

My Friend Mark!

More on recognition from Mark himself...

It is a talent by itself to pay compliments gracefully and have them ring true. It's an art by itself.

- "I Was Born for a Savage" speech, 1907

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recognition's Kiss of Death

Over 90% of all North American companies have recognition programs. Yet 60% of all employees do not feel recognized.

These stats speak volumes and are a powerful indictment against how we have traditionally approached recognition in the workplace.

I believe most companies are way too concerned with “what” rewards they give as opposed to “why” they give them in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong. Rewards are very important. However, they must be strategically thought out. They must complement the recognition that is being given. Many times, companies will offer rewards that are inappropriate to a recognition program’s objectives.

What drives companies to include inappropriate rewards in their programs? Often, it’s simply a case of employees pressuring senior management. Program administrators should push back on “shot gun reward” requests by explaining the strategy behind their recognition strategy. Make sure that your senior management understand that their job is to explain “why” these rewards are being given in the first place.

Don’t let inappropriate rewards become your recognition program’s kiss of death!

Monday, October 5, 2009

HRO Today – Building Moral Trumps Monetary Rewards

Every year, HRO Today magazine devotes an issue to recognition and rewards.

One of the main stories in this year’s issue is how recognition forms a crucial part in creating and improving moral.

It also explains how recognition can trump monetary rewards. Remember, for recognition to be received the way it was intended, you must make sure to connect with the recipient on an individual and emotional level: cash rewards seldom convey the personal aspect paramount to effective recognition.

Though you must register to read this story, it is free and well worth it! Register and check out the story on rewards here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New painting of the week

Zoe's Paw by Peter Hart