“In any business, 80 percent of your time goes to the 20 percent of your underperforming employees, and 20 percent of your time goes to the 80 percent doing their job well,” says Sullivan.

MahlerClean tries to flip that statistic by going out of its way to recognize those employees who come in and do everything right, every single day, to keep the company’s customers happy. Employee recognition programs are important elements of this company’s efforts to reward employees for a job well done.

Plaques don the walls of the interview room, listing all the employees who have received Employee of the Month recognition. The company keeps interest in the program high by asking every manager to nominate at least one field employee for the award every month and to provide a detailed explanation as to why the employee was nominated. It might be that they did a singular task that went above and beyond, or the customer stopped the district manager to tell them they were doing a great job. The important thing is that this information is shared.

“A lot of times it’s the underperforming employees that take up the most of your attention,” says Sullivan. “But it’s disappointing when you forget about the ones who aren’t the problem. We have 500 employees, and on any given night there are 450-plus of them following our policies and procedures and maintaining our high standards.”

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