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…
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.
In 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?