by Tonda Ferguson, CRP | October 21, 2013
Tonda Ferguson_Ask_the_Experts
Tonda Ferguson, CRP

Every week, we feature a piece of expert advice from a certified recognition professional (CRP) from Recognition Professionals International, an industry association dedicated solely to understanding, improving, and advancing employee recognition & rewards in the workplace.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since you began working in the area of employee rewards and recognition?

A: The most valuable lesson for me was simply accepting the fact that one size does not fit all. In order for rewards and recognition efforts to be truly effective, they must be meaningful for each individual employee. 

When we launched our new recognition platform at Southwest Airlines, one of our primary objectives was for the employees to have the freedom to choose the reward that has most meaning to them. I think this is especially important today as there are several generations in the workplace, and what is considered meaningful to one person can certainly hold no value for another. Giving your employees choices shows them that you understand and appreciate their individual desires.

About Our Expert: Tonda Ferguson, CRP, serves on the Board of Directors for Recognition Professionals International and is the senior director of employee engagement and travel at Southwest Airlines, a company known for putting its employees first. Ferguson began her Southwest career 30 years ago and launched the airline’s Employee Communications Department. She is an original member of Southwest’s Culture Committee, which Southwest Airlines President Emeritus Colleen Barrett began in 1991 to ensure that the airline’s corporate culture was enhanced, enriched, and nurtured. Southwest’s corporate culture has been studied by companies all over the world: In 1991, a business book titled NUTS! was written about it. Ferguson also serves on Southwest’s “Best Place to Work” committee and was part of the team that was named the Top Communications Department in the nation by PRWeek. She’s also an IABC Gold Quill recipient. In 2007, she received the Founder’s Award, the highest honor at Southwest Airlines.

Do you have a question for our recognition experts? If you do, please email them to [email protected]