Stop Scamming Your Staff With an Employee of the Month Award's really nothing more than a show of favoritism, right?

One of today’s typical “employee motivational ploys” is the employee of the month award. What a scam this is – at least it is for most of the business world! Here’s why…

Stop Scamming Your Staff With an Employee of the Month Award

We treat our employees like sheep; herd them in, give them slop to eat and expect the sweat off their brow (or their wool in this case) then we toss them aside when they’re no longer needed.

Add to this substandard working conditions, low wages, out-of-touch management and unrealistic expectations and we wonder why morale is at an all-time low.

Years ago someone had the bright idea to single out an employee each month in recognition of their stellar performance and bestow an award labeled the “Employee of the Month”. Sounds great, I applaud this.

But as time passed and “political correctness” reared its ugly head, the meaning behind this effort has become watered-down to say the least.

Employee of the Month SpongeBob 2In the truest sense of the word, whoever is the best employee for a specific month should win, regardless if he/she has already won the award last month or 2-3 months in a row. If the award is for performance and if the same person is repeatedly the best, he should be awarded each month – just like SpongeBob Squarepants!

But this doesn’t happen. We “must” vote a new person each month to “spread the award around”. We “can’t keep giving the award to “Johnny”, or the other employees will be upset”. Have you ever heard that said during those meetings when voting takes place? I sure have…

Well, does anybody worry about Johnny, your best employee?

If he’s upset and decides to quit, what are we left with? Just subpar employees that have only been singled out for the award because we must have “diversity” in awarding the prize. That’s not right!

The reward should go to the best, regardless of who it is or how many times he/she has won. We shouldn’t penalize stellar performance because of some unfounded mindset of equality or redistribution of recognition.

Give some incentive for employees to do better. Let them see they can, and will, be singled-out for their fine performance. They need to know there is some appreciation for their efforts.

But, and this is a BIG but, rewarding your employees must be more than just a silly plaque on the wall or a certification of appreciation. Show real, substantive appreciation.

Put a fresh coat of paint on the wall, replace those broken seats in the employee lounge, get rid of the slop you masquerade as “free lunch”, expect just as much from your management as you do your hourly employees and most importantly; involve your employees in the business.

The bosses don’t know it all – I promise. I’ve worked with far too many managers who should never should been promoted to that level in the first place. Wonder who they knew? Want to know why morale is low? Look at who your leaders are!

Your employees are the heart and soul of your business. Get them involved in decisions, put their recommendations into effect, listen to them – REALLY listen to them.

Once they feel an integral part of your business you’ll still have a difficult time deciding on who to vote for employee of the month, But, this time it will be because of the amount of true superstars that deserve the award.

Remember, we don’t give out participation awards in business…agree?

Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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7 thoughts on “Stop Scamming Your Staff With an Employee of the Month Award

  1. I agree Steve. Political correctness has gone mad in the work place today. Now a days, one is rewarded for having done their job!!! whilst the true “employee of the month” is working away diligently, without “tooting” their own horn. I feel this is here to stay. In my opinion, it is a reflection of the current generation of Managers who have been appointed to their roles, as they were in the right place at the right time and not because of their experience, knowledge or skills (either of the task at hand or in working with people), or because they knew somebody… sad state of affairs. It will probably change when the next generation take over.

    • Hi Dmr,
      I had to laugh when I read your comment, rewarded for doing their job! That is so true. Today’s employees forget that you are SUPPOSED to do your job, and for an entire 8 hours without taking a break every 15-20 minutes. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  2. First I thank you for the article. Then I’d like to raise two points, one of them is that don’t cancel the “Employee of the Month” award till you have a substitute on hand. Second, voting for this award is unfair. I tried my best with management to cancel voting and consider the nomination of line managers final. As back of the house employees are rarely known. Therefore, we had some amendments to the award to be 4 employees in large hotels, 2 front of the house and 2 back of the house. while in small hotels might be only 2.

    Thank you again,

    • Hi Kahlid,
      Far too many businesses think that by giving out this award they can stop there and cease implementing other employee motivational methods. Their thinking is far too short sighted. That award is only the beginning, as long as it is a fair practice and politics doesn’t dictate who wins.

      Thanks for your comment. Welcome to the team!