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  June 5, 2013
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How Some Optical Retailers Honor and Encourage Their Staff

By dba Staff

Providing incentives to encourage staff performance is one way many mid-size regional and local optical retailing groups help achieve success. Some present trophies or plaques or recognize top performers with notices in company publications, while others distribute gift cards or monetary awards to staff members who excel. However they do it, these leading optical retailers realize the value of staff recognition.

The following companies told dba how they honor top-performing employees and communicate that recognition to all employees across all locations: Robert Rich, president/CEO, Spex; Alan Ulsifer, OD, CEO and president, FYidoctors; Bob Brodney, president, Eye Care Associates; Jonathan Rosin, M.D., co-president, Rosin Eyecare; Gordon A. Bishop, FNAO, ABOC, RO, CEO and president, Sunland Optical; Debbie Bacon, director of optical services, Barnet-Dulaney-Perkins; and David H. Hettler, OD, Drs. May & Hettler.


In what ways do you recognize and honor top-performing employees, and how do you communicate that recognition to all of your employees across all of your locations?

Robert Rich, president/CEO, Spex, Chicago.

We have a program where we give a monthly trophy, recognition and a gift card to a person who is deemed to have gone above and beyond an already high standard of customer service expectations. The nominees every month are nominated by their peers, and there is a five-person panel of peers who ultimately choose the winner for a given month. The award is called the GAS award. It's a six-inch tall replica of an old style gas pump. GAS is an acronym for Give A Sh**. The trophy is affectionately known as the GASSY. The program is a bit hokey, but we get participation and appreciation for the program by our staff.


Alan Ulsifer, OD, CEO and president, FYidoctors, Alberta, Canada

The most effective recognition comes when you can award the performance of the team. We use a program called "You Made a Difference," where employees formally recognize each other for great service and performance. When somebody does something "special," a card is filled out that talks about this. It is posted for all to see, and each card is entered into a monthly drawing for various prizes as well as a big one for an annual trip. This has been an extremely effective way of improving team and individual performance.


Bob Brodney, president, Eye Care Associates, Raleigh, N.C.

We recognize two employees each business quarter and present them with plaques. This is typically done at a sales meeting or special event so they are being celebrated very publicly with their peers. We also started doing monthly recognition dinners for top performers where our management team takes ten high performers by position out to dinner. There doesn't need to be any effort to communicate the dinners as they tell everyone the next day at the office.


Jonathan Rosin, M.D., co-president, Rosin Eyecare, Chicago

At Rosin Eyecare we honor top performing employees for activities that grow our top line sales. Aside from sales incentives, we host an annual awards event (dinner and entertainment) where we identify top sales associates in product areas such as top percentage antireflective coat, top multiple pair sales, best percentage of high index sales, and so on. We also recognize the office that demonstrated the highest increase in sales growth. Rewards are monetary at this event. Contests are a fun way that we recognize outstanding associates. As an example, we currently have a month-long contest for top sunglasses sales. The winning associate will join the owners and directors, all expenses paid, at Vision Expo West.


Gordon A. Bishop, FNAO, ABOC, RO, CEO and president, Sunland Optical, El Paso, Texas

We mention any employee who has received positive customer comments and post those comments in our monthly staff newsletter so all may view. We also honor our locations that exceed specific goals each month by giving each of those employees gift cards to thank them for helping Sunland achieve its goals.




Debbie Bacon, director of optical services, Barnet-Dulaney-Perkins, Phoenix, Ariz.

We hold a yearly awards banquet in which we reward our opticians in a variety of categories. These awards are both individual and location based. Awards are trophy and monetary based. Some examples are Optician of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Office of the Year and Best Sales Growth, just to name a few. Winners are announced at the yearly banquet and are acknowledged on our company's intranet page.




David H. Hettler, OD, Drs. May & Hettler, Alexandria, Va.

At our annual awards picnic we give an award to the Rookie of the Year to reward an employee with the best growth and leadership in their first year working with us.



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