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How To Earn Positive Recognition
by Howard Freedman
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced mechanically, electronically, by photocopying or by any other means without expressed written permission of the author.
Note: This is a case study of ways to implement process improvements within your organization. Regardless of what you do, this model is interchangeable with different careers and companies.
Do your ongoing services earn your department respect and recognition or are they taken for granted? If so, now is the time to do something about it. One sure way to attract positive recognition is to exceed expectations and then do more. In other words, stop whining and start winning.
Gaining positive recognition can be a great motivator in terms of stimulating creative thinking and ideas to benefit the organization as a whole, improve employee morale and demonstrate potential beyond rigid job descriptions. Most importantly, it should not be an option but a requirement to bring new vitality and value to sustain your organization especially during these challenging economic times.
Gaining positive recognition should not be based on personal or short-term gains. It is about sharing, teamwork and winning for the common good. Sports teams provide a great example of how this works. In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays emerged as one of the top baseball teams despite having one of the smallest payrolls and lesser-known talent. They had a great manager and a young team with a positive attitude and determination to win the American League pennant. On the hand, the Boston Red Sox had one of the largest payrolls and talent yet were victimized by an egocentric Manny Ramirez who demanded more money or be traded attitude. Because of all of the negative publicity and loss of focus on the game, the Red Sox came close but never won the pennant. Once he was traded, the team regrouped and realized that it takes more than one superstar to be a winner.
You don’t need permission to be more proactive and innovative especially when every penny counts towards your organization's or team’s need to do more with less. The challenge to earn positive recognition means your staff must become more creative and productive so their contributions are implemented within and outside of your department. It starts with your positive attitude and a winning spirit to set examples for your colleagues to follow.
First and foremost, don’t expect thanks for doing your job. Manny Ramirez was a great player, but it took more than his home runs to win the game. What’s most important is a belief in yourself and your unselfish ability to do inspire others and do the job for which you were hired. For some, that may be good enough for now, but adding value and contributing to the bottom line are even more important when companies are cutting costs to survive.
5 Ways to Add to the Bottom Line
Evaluate and streamline process flow
Consolidate to eliminate duplication
Negotiate with, and service payees
Improve internal controls
Monitor ongoing performance
Common Sense Pays
If you want to earn recognition, focus on ways to benefit your organization and the recognition will follow. Saving money does not have to be expensive. Common sense business practices can lead to improved data flow, stronger vendor relations, the minimization of losses and asset protection.
These practices may include the following specific actions, leading to better performance, and more recognition for your contributions.
Process flow diagramming
Process flow diagramming or transactional analysis is a way of identifying a paper flow, bottlenecks, and areas for improvements. Begin by forming a team from other departments. Create a flowchart identifying when each transaction is touched, the approval and review process and the types of frequent errors that can be fixed. This involves many departments but shows your leadership skills when looking at the big picture to improve productivity. Compare data and network with fellow professionals.
Reduce billing cycles or payment frequencies by consolidating payments, improving cash flow, and realizing vendor discounts. Work with your finance department to determine when it is most economically advantageous to pay bills while maintaining a positive credit history.
Several outside firms make handsome profits when they identify duplicate payments that are undetected. Some are due to timing, inadequate internal controls and just not enough time or resources to thoroughly audit procedures. Items that are paid but not posted within the accounts payable system can be duplicated. Items that are posted and not paid can run the risk of late charges that can threaten future negotiations. That is why internal audits, account reconciliations and proof of receipt or delivery are so important. A bunch of undetected errors is all it takes to cost your organization millions in profits.
Legal orders such as those associated with payroll deductions for employees or vendor garnishments or tax liens are paid to a diverse population of courts, lawyers divorced spouses and so on. Timely payments are a way of reducing risk, legal exposure, and defaults that can be both costly and embarrassing. Take an inventory of legal orders or high-risk payments that must adhere to a rigid payment calendar. Consider repeat payments for fixed amount child support orders or ongoing orders that remain the same until stopped. Evaluate whether weekly checks can be combined in one monthly check or be advanced and adjusted later. Determine if one check can be used to pay multiple payees that are sent to one account. Of course, you may only be able to suggest options but must rely on the initiator to negotiate these changes.
Internal control--employee deductions and benefits
Payments for employee deductions and benefit costs links payroll and payables. Payroll takes the deduction and creates the credit entry on the general ledger that accounts payable debts when the payments are made. This is when the value of general ledger reconciliations is so critical. A large credit balance shows that the bills have not been paid while a large debt means a potential overpayment and loss to the company. This internal control saves money by identifying action items and reducing potential loss for overpayments or late payments. This should be performed by another department not associated with these payments
Establish metrics for customer service
Develop your own metrics to identify and log the source, reason, and resolution of incoming phone calls. Look for patterns that may identify training needs, communications, or focus on something that is breaking down in the system. Assign at least one person who can be your external point of contact. Do not be defensive but listen to the reason for the call and the actions needed. Encourage customer feedback and surveys to gain positive recognition through ongoing evaluations.
Take control of your audits
Take the offensive without being offensive during audits. One way of doing this is to create your own internal audit team that can do its own policing before an internal audit that may seem so threatening. The main thing is to identify your strengths and weaknesses and do something about them.
Your Next Steps
Now that you’ve got the idea, roll up your sleeves, rally your staff to step out of your comfort zones and make a real difference.
* Start by throwing down a challenge to come up with ideas that will contribute to the bottom line.
* Set up teams and make this a friendly competition
* Have fun, earn certificates and
* Share success stories with company management
* Make this an ongoing process
* Value this as an enriching experience to recognize everyone’s value
Making value-added improvements will always be in demand and may be one of the sure remedies to keep your organization competitive and more resilient to economic downturns. The recognition may not be in the form of money or an object. It could be a simple thank you from your boss, article in the company newspaper or website or just by realizing that others are more aware of your value beyond the primary services for which you are known.
By the way, I congratulate you for taking the time to read this article and encourage you to spread the word to others to make more valuable contributions.