Thinking about new ways to recognize your team for their hard work? There’s always the classic Employee of the Month award. But before you go passing out a supersweet laminated certificate to your best worker at the end of each month, consider the following pros and cons of the award.
Pro #1: It makes the recognized employee feel valued
When a worker earns the Employee of the Month award, they feel valued. This is important, because according to our research, not even one in three workers feel as though their bosses consider them vital members of the team.
Con #1: It makes the unrecognized employee feel unvalued
Since there’s only one award to give out each month, there will always be a lot more employees who don’t get recognized. Refer back to that stat about workers feeling valued. Workers who bust their tails consistently only to never receive an award probably won’t feel that important at work.
Pro #2: Employees are motivated to reach their full potential
Who wouldn’t want the Employee of the Month recognition? Giving out such an award motivates most people to work as hard as they can. They have their sights set on earning the award. As a result, their productivity increases, and the quality of their work improves. Added bonus: your customers will be happier too.
Con #2: Employees are motivated to suck up to their bosses
Employees who are desirous of the Employee of the Month award might want it so badly that instead of becoming a productive worker, they figure out how best to game the system. Instead of burying themselves in their work, these folks might suck up to their bosses, doing tasks if and only when they believe their superiors will notice. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior isn’t helpful or productive — and could very well damage your organization.
Pro #3: In theory, everyone has a chance to receive the award
All workers believe they have a chance to win the Employee of the Month award, and in theory, they do. This should encourage employees from all departments to work hard in the hopes that they’ll be recognized for their efforts at the end of the month. In this light, it’s not so hard to see why managers would choose to utilize such an award: Productivity increases across the entire organization as workers vie for the prize.
Con #3: In practice, many bosses will choose their favorites
In reality, managers become familiar with individual employees they work with more regularly than other team members. Thanks to that familiarity, they’re more likely to notice the work those folks do. So while the entire team might be convinced that they have a shot at winning the award, in many instances bosses pick the same couple of people — the ones they work closely with, and the ones they like the most.
Do the benefits of giving out an Employee of the Month award outweigh the drawbacks? Not sure if this kind of award makes sense for your business? Think about how you would like to be recognized first. Don't wait until the end of the month to recognize just one employee. Instead, do it frequently and on the spot. That's the most effective way to foster a culture of employee recognition.