Oct 2, 2020

StreetSide Developments Edmonton Goes the Extra Mile in Recognizing Employees and Customers with the Above and Beyond Program

Edmonton, AB - Over the past two years, StreetSide Developments Edmonton has been finding special ways to recognize employees and customers through its Above & Beyond program. This program was created as a means to promote two pillars of Qualico’s approach of Principles for Success, including Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction.

“It all started in 2018,” said Nicholas Carels, Vice-President, StreetSide Developments Edmonton. “I was writing our 2019 business plan, and we wanted to find a way to deliver more meaningful and timely recognition of our employees. At the same time, we wanted to ensure that we were exceeding our customers’ expectations, going beyond the typical ‘bottle of champagne’ that has now become an industry standard. And so, the ‘Above & Beyond’ program was born.”

The program has two components. The first allows employees to recognize fellow team members for exceptional work, and while all employees contribute as expected in their roles each day, there are special circumstances in which someone makes the extra effort to go above and beyond. Greeting cards are made available and employees are able to choose from a selection of gift cards to include with a hand-written note for whom they want to recognize.

The employee recognition component was inspired by the Kudos program created by Richard Daley, Vice-President, and the team at StreetSide Developments Calgary. The leaders of the StreetSide Developments business units get together on an annual basis to share best practices related to customer satisfaction, operational excellence and employee engagement.

The teams felt that the Kudos program was a great program to address an opportunity for improvement at StreetSide Developments Edmonton, so they adjusted it to suit the Edmonton team and made it part of the Above & Beyond program.

The program is well-used and it is intended to be all-directional with crossover between all departments, not just for managers to recognize their direct reports.

“It is very common to leave someone’s office and say ‘thank you,’” said Nicholas. “But when someone does something extra, we try to find ways to give them recognition. I’m a bit ‘old school,’ but to me, there’s something genuine about a card and a message in your own handwriting. I think it’s a nice symbol of appreciation.”

Nicole Rueb, Project and Marketing Assistant, StreetSide Developments Edmonton is the facilitator of the Above & Beyond cards, and she has seen first-hand what a positive effect the program has had.

“It just makes me so proud to be a part of the StreetSide Developments team,” said Nicole. “It's a great morale booster. We can sometimes get so bogged down in our day-to-day tasks that we get tunnel vision and don’t notice the extra things that our peers do to make StreetSide Developments run smoothly. Having this program available to us really has changed our work environment for the better.”

The second component of the program encourages employees to give a personalized gift to a homebuyer in order to “shock and amaze them” with an authentic service tailored specifically to them. Each employee is given a budget of $125 (once per calendar year) and is encouraged to get creative and have fun with it.

The homebuyer recognition component of the program was created to respect the fact that each homeowner is very unique, and because of that, going “above and beyond” required a different approach for each customer.

Vanessa Freeman, Marketing Manager, StreetSide Developments Edmonton, took part in the program to treat her cat-loving customers.

“As the homebuyers toured different showhomes, they often described how the plans would work for their cats,” said Vanessa. “I know how deep of a bond one can make with a pet, so I knew no other gift would be better than one for their ‘fur babies.’ I found a tall tree that was made of the same colour of carpet as their great room, and I gifted it to them, along with a basket filled with toys, treats and blankets for each cat. They teared up when they saw it. I am so glad I could make their purchase one they will remember.”

Stephanie and Kent with their Cat Tree

Nicholas also remembers a stack of restaurant gift cards being given to a busy single-mom and custom room-service being delivered to homebuyers who were celebrating their anniversary in Mexico.

“It’s like giving flowers on an unexpected day,” said Nicholas. “We spend a lot of time trying to make unhappy people, happy. It’s nice to also spend the same amount of energy making happy people even happier.”

Nicholas plans on continuing the Above & Beyond program well into the future.

“The only thing I would change is to increase the frequency of use with folks who wouldn’t normally use it,” said Nicholas. “It’s doing what it’s supposed to. Now I just want to do more of it.”

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