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Sometimes, a pat on the back is all an employee needs to push him or her to go that extra mile for the company. Being recognized for a job well done can be just as powerful a motivator as a paycheck or other benefits, and TharpeRobbins has been helping companies reward and honor their employees above and beyond their regular compensation since 2007. As one of the leaders in creating employee recognition products, Senior Vice President Anthony Luciano says TharpeRobbins has been at the forefront of some of the biggest changes in the industry and stands poised to continue leading it into the future.

TharpeRobbins is the result of a merger between The Robbins Co., a jewelry manufacturer established in 1892, and The Tharpe Co., which was founded in 1981 to serve the employee recognition needs of corporate America. Since the two companies joined forces in 2007, TharpeRobbins has provided incentive and recognition programs to a variety of customers. “We focus on all industries; it’s extremely diverse,” Luciano says. “We support over 12 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies.”

To further illustrate the diversity of TharpeRobbins’ customer base, Luciano says the industry that makes up the largest percentage of the company’s business is healthcare, which accounts for 16 percent of its customers. Luciano says employee recognition is a universal concern for all business. “Everybody needs to recognize one another, and we do our best to try and help them do that,” he says.

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The incentive and recognition programs offered by TharpeRobbins run the gamut from onboarding to length of service recognition to safety rewards. “It begins with onboarding,” Luciano says. “We honor them with retirement and we also do everything in-between.”

That depth of service has made TharpeRobbins ideally suited to deal with one of the biggest changes to happen in the recognition industry in the last few years. Luciano says that in the past, the industry was much more fragmented, with individual companies focusing on different aspects of the market. Today, however, the trend has been for companies to offer multiple types of recognition and incentive programs under one roof. “The whole industry has changed dramatically over the past decade,” Luciano says.

Luciano says that beyond the number of recognition solutions it offers, the other aspect of the company that sets it apart is how it works with customers to develop programs that meet their specific needs. TharpeRobbins concentrates on the strategic side of recognition, he says, with outcome-based designs that can handle and integrate practically any kind of incentive program.

The company takes a creative approach to working with customers, helping them communicate their internal values to their employees and communicating the customers’ brands within the organization. Luciano says TharpeRobbins knows that, ultimately, it has to gear all of its efforts to appeal to rank-and-file employees. “The people who receive the recognition – those are our real customers,” he says.

Making Things Easier

Also helping to make life easier for TharpeRobbins’ customers is the fact that the company utilizes a streamlined and integrated technology platform to monitor and administer recognition and incentives. Luciano says many of the company’s competitors try to operate multiple platforms for multiple programs, which creates redundancies and confusion.

The other side of the company’s technological edge is its 24/7 live support for all customers. No matter where TharpeRobbins’ customers may be, they have access to the company’s full support for their recognition programs any time of day or night, Luciano says.

Into the Future

The move toward consolidation of recognition and incentive programs under one roof is the biggest change in the industry. Although TharpeRobbins already has been at the forefront of this trend, Luciano says the company is not resting on its laurels. It continues to gain experience in new areas of the industry, and one of the ways it is doing that is through the hiring of experts to handle specific areas.

Luciano says TharpeRobbins is hiring these experts to help guide the company’s development of new offerings in areas such as safety and wellness so that customers can enjoy a greater level of customization for their recognition programs.

Giving customers greater choice and flexibility is more important than ever, now that the recession has changed the way many of TharpeRobbins’ customers administer their programs. Luciano says many of its customers are spending much more on such programs today. By using loyalty and employee incentive programs, he says, many of the company’s customers are improving their retention rates and employee satisfaction scores.

TharpeRobbins was recently named one of Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies, and Luciano says he doesn’t see any reason for that trend to reverse. “I’m very proud to say that we’ve been doing very well,” he says.

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