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The ISS Blog provides a series of insightful, industry-relevant posts to help readers keep abreast of the latest trends in the marketplace as well as premium content and educational offerings. Read the thoughts of the ISS content team and other industry experts on issues related to self-storage challenges, news, operation, development, marketing and much more.

Teri L. Lanza,
Vice President

Tony Jones,
Contributing Editor/Store Manager

Amy Campbell,

Praising Your Self-Storage Staff: Building an Employee-Recognition Program

By Amy Campbell Comments
Posted in Blogs, Staffing

By Amy Campbell

Everyone likes to be recognized. If we didn’t, there would be no Super Bowl, Olympic games, Oscars or even trophies and ribbons for spelling bees and science fairs. Just as there many things to be recognized for—talent, beauty, hard work—there are just as many ways to be rewarded—money, promotions, awards. There is no right or wrong when it comes to recognizing a person’s contributions or actions, except by not acknowledging them. 

I came across a great article on about ways business owners can create a powerful employee-recognition program. Let’s face it. A terrific employee likely won’t stick around if he’s feeling underappreciated. Like I said, we all like recognition, so a self-storage manager who works hard but  rarely receives a “nice job!” from the boss may look elsewhere. Plus, recognition shouldn’t be an afterthought on a self-storage owner’s part, or only handed out after  the completion of a big project or end-of-year review. It should be ongoing. Employees need to know you appreciate their efforts and are aware of their hard work. Creating an employee-recognition program is one way to keep the good ones from perusing the online employment websites and show your appreciation.

So how do you build an employee-recognition program that’s fair to all your employees and easy to implement? First, the article suggests you define performance targets and qualifying criteria. This means you must first decide when you’ll show recognition. Will it be when your self-storage manager reaches a certain goal, such as increasing the facility’s occupancy by 10 percent, or generating 20 percent more in retail sales?

Next, determine what kind of recognition you’d like to offer. The article suggests you ensure it’s meaningful, but it doesn’t have to be monetary in nature. Although everyone loves cash, there are other rewards that can make a self-storage manager feel his hard work has been appreciated. If you know your manager well, you’ll also know what type of reward will be most meaningful.

The article also reminds business owners to “keep it real.” No one wants to be patronized, so if you don’t mean it, don’t say it or do it. While self-storage managers deserve and want acknowledgement, offering recognition for everything they do cheapens the sentiment. Finally, the author suggests employers ask staff for input. This gives them buy in and encourages them to strive for their best.

With the new year just around the corner, now’s the time to put a new—or even revised—employee-recognition program in place. If you’re considering a new bonus program, read about types and other considerations in this ISS article. Keep in mind, your employee-recognition program doesn’t have to be pay-based to be effective. Talk to your staff. Find out how they’d like to be recognized. Their answers might surprise you. You can also ask the self-storage managers and owners on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest forum. Do you have an employee-appreciation program? Tell us about it by posting a comment below.


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