Topic: Employee Recognition


Roto Rooter: Celebrating Career Anniversaries

Roto Rooter
US & Canada
City in North America that uses drain services by Roto Rooter, a client of O.C. Tanner

Roto Rooter is the largest provider of plumbing repair, sewer, and drain cleaning services throughout the United States and Canada. The company’s 80-year legacy of taking care of North America’s drains has also made it one of the fastest growing companies. Headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa Roto Rooter continues to manufacture their patented Roto Rooter machine, and many other products, keeping the company’s customers happy and employees busy.

The challenge

With over 2,900 employees, Roto Rooter wanted to implement a way to recognize the hard work and years of service their employees gave to the company. In 2000 they started a service award program with O.C. Tanner that celebrated their employees’ career anniversaries. After 15 years with O.C. Tanner Roto Rooter wanted to go a different direction and try a new vendor and program. They started using a new vendor for their service awards, but after the first year felt their needs weren’t being met.

“The experience was horrible. There was nothing admirable about this program,” says Chana Morris, the HR Director at Roto Rooter. “We ended up having to ship the packages to headquarters so we could inspect them to ensure the right gifts were being sent because they had messed up so many times. They charged us for the tissue paper, they charged us for the boxes, they told us how we had to pay, there was no room for negotiation.”

“I feel these awards show the overall appreciation for the longterm services of their employees. I wouldn’t change anything. I worked for a construction company for 13 years before I found my career at Roto Rooter and all I ever got was a pat on the back.”

A return to true partnership

Morris and her team tracked the mounting costs the program was accumulating and presented these numbers to their executive team to make the case to return to O.C. Tanner and their service award program.

“Spending money on something that wasn’t working was really a waste of money,” says Morris, “if I was going to be responsible for this program I wanted a Class A program, and that’s exactly what O.C. Tanner offers.”

With the help of her team they were able to convince the company to return to O.C. Tanner. Morris wanted to use this transition time to gain valuable insights into what the employees across North America ultimately wanted from a service anniversary program.

“Our rep from O.C. Tanner really went above and beyond not only building a relationship with the entire HR team, but a friendship with myself,” said Morris, “the move back to O.C. Tanner was smoother and better than the previous relationship with our previous vendor.”

“I was very surprised that I was even noticed. I enjoy my job & everyone I work with. Plan to stay here as long as I possibly can. Thank you Roto Rooter!”

O.C. Tanner gave Morris and her team the ability to customize the entire program to work with Roto Rooter’s culture and needs.

“Our service techs aren’t interested in jewelry, so O.C. Tanner changed our entire gift selection. I told our rep how we needed to pay the bill and they customized the billing process to work around us,” said Morris. “We have also had overwhelming positive feedback on the customized numerals O.C. Tanner provided. They put the Roto Rooter truck in the numeral and the skyline of the city to make it more personal to the employee.”

The new program also allowed each location to set up a formal structure that matched their local culture. From sending email blasts, to bringing in doughnuts and coffee, to holding a brief presentation at the beginning of weekly meetings, the new service award program allowed Roto Rooter to embrace the unique culture within each location.

“O.C. Tanner made it possible to implement a program that allowed management to pass down congratulatory messages to employees who were located outside of headquarters,” said Morris. “We truly feel our focus is on our employees now and what they will enjoy. It was a lot of work, but O.C. Tanner made it easy.”

Deliverable results

  • There was a 90% increase in presentations and accomplishments celebrated
  • 66% of employees plan on keeping their yearbook and displaying it
  • 75% of employees say they “love” their awards
  • 95% of employees say they “love” the customized Roto Rooter logo on their awards

Outcomes are everything
We'd love to share what we've helped Roto Rooter and thousands of other clients achieve. Reach out to us to start your employee recognition journey.

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