Winning an award is an incredible experience, and for many, it can be incredibly emotional as well. At Crystal D, we celebrate our employees every year and reward them at our company appreciation event called WOW Day.
This year, Jen in our marketing department was one of two recipients of the Rising Star award. We asked Jen about her experience winning this award.
Since Jen works in marketing, she was part of helping with the set-up and tear-down of the event. “I created the criteria videos that we play before we announce the winners of the awards, so I knew what the criteria was before the awards were handed out,” Jen said. “[Chuck’s executive assistant] Becca had given me and Joe C. the task of taking additional photos of the winners on stage in case the photographer missed some moments we wanted to capture. I was just focused on taking pictures of the winners.”
The 2015 Rising Star winner, Pisenny, went on stage and her manager, Fiish, read the names of the winners since Pisenny lost her voice. Linda was announced as the first winner, and then Fiish announced Jen as the second winner. “I was shocked that I had actually won something,” Jen said. “In my time at Crystal D, I received one WOW Champ award which was already exciting for me. To win an actual physical award that we created was shocking.”
“When I got on stage, my manager Bridget started talking about why I deserved the award and that the managers all agreed,” Jen said. “I felt like she was talking about someone else. I did all this? I deserved this? There’s no way she’s talking about me. It has to be the other Jen in marketing even though she’s describing everything I did all year long. It was also a little weird for me hearing people I didn’t think knew who I was cheering for me. Since I’m the only person in the company who doesn’t live in Minnesota, I didn’t think a lot of these people even knew me.”
You received your award and walked off stage. NOW how did you feel? “I’m still very much in shock! But all the smiles of all of the managers and Chuck saying ‘it’s about time!’ when I went to get my picture taken with him helped calm me down a bit, and my shock turned more to happy,” Jen said. “It was still pretty surreal getting all of the high fives as I went back to my seat though!”
“The rest of WOW Day was a mix of a blur and being where I needed to be when I needed to be there to make sure the rest of the day went smoothly,” Jen said. “But after the day was over and clean up was done, a few of us went to happy hour. In the car on the way there in snowy conditions, I just cried. Before I started at Crystal D, I barely got a “good job” from any type of supervisor. I had the occasional supervisor who made sure we knew we were appreciated, but that was a rarity in retail. I never felt appreciated or like I did a good or even great job at anything until Crystal D. I finally felt appreciated, and when I got the chance to slow down, I just cried because I was so happy that an entire company appreciated me and my hard work.”
“Since WOW Day, my day-to-day job hasn’t changed, but I feel like people actually know who I am now,” Jen mentioned. “But I do feel myself working harder because I want more awards! I’ve finally been recognized for my hard work, so I want to keep doing my best to help Crystal D grow. Any award I can get, I’m working my tail off to get it. I’ve always been a hard worker, but seeing that shiny blue star on my desk every day is making me push harder to add more so it’s not a lonely little star! I want to leave so much of an impact on this company that maybe one day I’ll win the President’s Award. Value Champ and Grand Value Champ are awards I want, but to get the President’s Award means I will forever be associated with the history of Crystal D. I want to make THAT kind of impact.”
We asked Jen if she had anything else to add, and she has some feelings on how to recognize an employee based on this experience. “Being part of Crystal D, I’ve seen some GREAT recognition because we do it REALLY well,” Jen said. “Being human, I’ve seen some terrible recognition. If you’re going to do it, you have to do it right because you’ll end up with employees like me. I’ve only been at Crystal D for a short time, but because of how I’ve been treated not only by managers but also by coworkers, I’ve become fiercely loyal to this company. I want nothing more than this company to be the best in the world, and I will do anything and everything I can to help that cause.”