Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

The Importance of Acknowledging Your Employees

Flickr photo: akanesio

Paying tribute to the people who have made your company what it is today can pay great dividends in several ways.

This article, in an edited format, was written for the Houston Business Journal and ran in it’s “Best Places to Work” issue in July of 2008. I am sharing this as I never posted it to my blog when it originally written.”

Employee acknowledgment is one of the best tools a company can use for creating a work environment that fosters loyalty and stimulates high achievement. Put simply, people appreciate and respond to recognition. They are motivated by praise, which validates and strengthens their commitment to a team.
Rewarding your employees by paying tribute to them for a job well done also demonstrates to their co-workers that your company or organization truly does value them. It builds pride and reinforces a sense of belonging to something worth being a part of.

Traditionally, companies honor special accomplishments or milestones with newsletter articles, gifts, coupons, or custom artwork like statues and plaques. While no doubt appreciated, most of these things are quickly forgotten and few have any lasting value for the person being honored.

A more meaningful, enduring, new way to acknowledge employees is an entertaining, professionally produced, in-depth multimedia presentation on DVD. If done right, it is an impressive method of celebrating a person – one that can be shown to fellow workers, important clients, and valued associates during a formal ceremony and viewed with pride for many years to come.

Regardless of scope or budget, here are some basic guidelines to follow for creating an effective multimedia presentation to recognize, honor, and celebrate people that have made special contributions to your organization.

  1. To convey the important virtues of your company, select video footage and still images that accurately represent those virtues. Also use pictures of actual employees, not generic stock photography or clip art. After all, this is intended to be a personal tribute and the audience will relate much better to familiar faces and authentic settings.
  2. Employ professional-level standards for all aspects of the project from research, scriptwriting, and pre-production planning to video production, editing, special effects, voice-overs, music, and titles. If the content lends itself to an interactive format, create an attractive, easy-to-navigate menu and remember that people treat this type of media differently than traditional, linear or passive forms of communication. So allow them the freedom to view things in whatever order they prefer and include convenient buttons on all screens for pausing, going back, skipping forward, and returning to the main title or menu page.
  3. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Just because you are producing a formal tribute to an employee doesn’t mean that the presentation has to be dry and boring. Especially for special celebrations like retirement parties and major award ceremonies, the audience wants to be both moved and entertained. However, each recipient is different and it’s important to respect their personal style. Some people are quite comfortable being the subject of good-natured fun and others are not. So be careful to use a style that both they and their peers will appreciate.One good example of a subject that felt at ease exposing her more sensitive side is Cindy Hickok, a very talented fiber artist who was named the 2007 Texas Master by the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. We produced a comprehensive DVD presentation to celebrate her work and exhibition. In addition to a complete catalog of Cindy’s delightfully creative embroidery works on display, it included an insightful, revealing look into her artistic inspirations, her methods, and her life.

    After receiving the prestigious honor and copies of the DVD, Cindy commented, “Until the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft commissioned this wonderful multimedia presentation for my Texas Masters Exhibit, I did not have an efficient, effective way of communicating my ideas about artistic expression with the world. Now I can quickly, easily, and affordably share samples of my work with virtually anyone through the magic of digital media.”

    Mary Headrick, Communications Director of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft added, “It was a joy working with the team at Legacy Multimedia to produced a highly polished video presentation honoring Cindy Hickok as our 2007 Texas Master. It did justice to Cindy as a gifted artist with a uniquely whimsical voice.”

  4. If certain key people are not present in an existing photograph or they can not attend a scheduled group photo session, today’s digital technology can be utilized to easily add them to a shot. They can also be superimposed seamlessly against almost any background using readily available programs like Photoshop. So adding or removing important photo elements is no longer a problem.Here is just one example of how we resolved a similar situation for CenterPoint Energy.

    The company wanted to illustrate their great track record of employee loyalty by showing the same group pictured in an old photo from 1983 and a newer one taken in 1994. However, one important person was missing from the more recent image. He was still with CenterPoint Energy at the time but simply could not be there for the photo shoot. So we took a separate picture of him and integrated the image into the group shot in a way that looked perfectly natural. We also restored the older image to its original condition. Today, the two photos hang side by side in a hallway at CenterPoint Energy’s office where they have become part of the company’s legacy.

  5. It is important to properly archive pictures and video footage that preserve a record of your company’s past so that these materials are available when you need to put together a presentation for acknowledging the special accomplishments of an employee or for retirement tributes, corporate anniversaries, executive bios, company histories, and other milestones.

Given ease of access to the latest digital technology – which has dramatically lowered the cost of photo storage, retouching, video and sound editing – elegantly produced multimedia presentations are now affordable for almost any size firm, for practically any occasion. So the next time you want to pay tribute to the people who have made your company what it is today, consider this impressive new style of expressing your gratitude.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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