Looking for a Great Partner For Your Employee Recognition Program or to Start One? #SHRM19


Consider Terryberry - visit booth #924 at #SHRM19.

#SHRM19 Bloggers Paula Harvey and Mary Williams interviewed Jake Endresen, Houston area sales manager, about his thoughts on his employer, Terryberry.

At Terryberry they are proud of their heritage, committed to recognition solutions for businesses today, and leading the future of employee recognition. The company had its humble beginnings 101 years ago by Mr. Terryberry as a lapel pin manufacturing company.

Over the years Terryberry has been helping organizations develop, implement and manage employee recognition programs. With 30 plus locations, over 300 employees, and 25,000 plus clients worldwide, Terryberry is an industry leader in employee recognition innovation. Terryberry remains a family-owned company, led by fourth Generation Managing Partner Mike Byam, and still manufactures jewelry awards in Grand Rapids, MI USA.  

Jake, what types of clients do you have?

What I love about Terryberry is that our sweet spot is to service the small to mid-sized organization. We can take care of companies with 10 employees on up to companies with thousands of employees. We are able to customize our offerings to meet the needs of the client depending on where they are in the recognition journey. A multi-tiered platform is not for everyone, and not every organization is ready for that robust program. Terryberry has a more individualized and personal approach for our clients. 

What do you love about working for Terryberry?

What my company offers are services that can change lives. Recognition items make people feel good. I am passionate about helping companies recognize their employees for the hard work they give to their companies. Recognition feeds retention and flows into performance management. Recognizing employees will make them want to stay and give their best. There is 31 percent less employee turnover in organizations that give regular recognition.  Plus - an added bonus - it will attract top talent which is very important in a tight labor market.

What are some ways that you have seen recognition programs not be successful?

During my time in the industry, I heard a story about a company that gave a Rolex watch to their employees for 25 years of service. Their employee knew he had his 25th anniversary when he went to work that morning and he was filled with anticipation and excitement about receiving his special recognition. During the day, he went to the restroom on break.  When he came back to his desk, he found the expensive watch sitting on his desk.  That’s all.  Just sitting on his desk:  no note, no announcement, no presentation, not any words of recognition. He was very unhappy and wrote the CEO of his displeasure and refused to wear the watch.

The learning opportunity here and message is that “How” the recognition is delivered is more important than what is given to them. Failing to focus on “HOW” to recognize can be a missed opportunity for tenured employees.  This example of the expensive gift, delivered with no note, no presentation, no handshake, is a missed opportunity.   People may think it’s about the value of the reward, but it’s NOT… it’s HOW it’s delivered.  More impact is made if the recognition is acknowledged and presented in front of peers, in an internal newsletter, or a personalized handwritten note from the supervisor or senior executive or even a personally delivered “thank you” and a handshake. 

One of my favorite quotes is: “A rising tide raises all ships”. To me this signifies that by recognizing great work, it creates an environment of friendly competition and engagement scores increase.  When that happens, profitability increases. This is a true ROI for a recognition program. Studies show that profits are 44 percent higher in companies with higher levels of employee engagement than companies that measured in the bottom 25 percent of employee engagement.

Tell us about something interesting with your company.

We are very innovative. We have a really cool website with lots of free information. Check out www.terryberry.com and click on the resources tab. We have free resources on how to give recognition to employees (For example:  what to say in a recognition speech). It is very important to train your management team on the “why” and the “how” behind employee recognition programs. We can provide an online platform for our clients. Every company should be able to do this for their employees!

It’s great to spread recognition to our clients’ companies – what we provide through Terryberry changes lives – it makes people feel like they’re part of something bigger than just a job. 

Something that is really interesting to me personally is how my company recognizes their own employees. When we do something good, our leader, Mr. Byam, will send a handwritten yellow sticky note as a thank you. I have kept all of them on my office wall over my short tenure (nine months) with the company and call it my “Byam Love Note Wall”.  The personalization makes the recognition more meaningful and creates more of a keepsake. 

With your last comment, what made you decide to leave a competitor to go work at Terryberry?

I’ve been in the recognition industry for three and a half years. I left my former employer for two reasons: 1. Terryberry’s culture seemed right for me - genuine and authentic. Secondly,  I left a manager who was not the best.

When I was going through the interview process they included my spouse in the process. Family is very important to my company and they are generally concerned about me and my family’s well-being. This came from top management and all levels of the company.

Although I am a remote employee, I feel very connected to my coworkers. We have an internal workplace social media platform which allows us to stay connected with each other. I feel like my coworkers are my web-based friends. Working remotely can feel isolating and some telecommuters don’t feel a part of their teams, but with these tools I feel very engaged and a part of my team.

By the way if you go on our website, a chat box will pop up and will ask you if they can help you. This is a real live person in Grand Rapids, MI, not a call center someplace. I love that we give truly personalized service to our clients.

We had a great time interviewing Jake and cannot wait for Paula and Mary’s visit to Terryberry (Booth #924)

Written by:


Vice President of Human Resources & Safety, Schulte Building Systems, Inc.

Twitter: @Paula4Harvey



Mary K. Williams, SPHR

Regional Manager Business Operations and HR, Harbor Light Hospice

Twitter: @conmkw



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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