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Employee Recognition Issues

Employee Recognition Issues

Employee Recognition Issues

Forgive me if you feel this is an inappropriate forum for this question. My reasons for choosing this forum are 3 fold

1) I'm primarily looking for terminology or phrases to convey my message. I know what I want to say but I need help on framing the message
2) I trust the members of this forum more than other forums that might be more applicable
3) The activity on this forum, although light of late, is higher than other forums.

At my work place, we have a process to submit "Shout-Outs" for colleagues who deserve praise. We are split into 3 fairly distinct teams of Sales, Admin and Technical Staff. As you might imagine, some teams are more inclined to submit praise for colleagues than others. Additionally, some staff seem to be exempt from receiving praise. Most recently, a Large project that could simply have been a thank you to all involved instead thanked specific members of the team that only played a minor but more visible role.

Suffice it to say, the program of praise has become a deluge of divisiveness.

I want to convey the message that the program is not serving the purpose for which it is intended and is in fact creating an environment of hostility.

I am not the only one that feels this way and can confidently say that members from every team feel the program is inherently flawed.

Can anyone help me to formulate a message that is positive that simultaneously points out the flaws in the system?

What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

I read your post earlier this morning, but didn't reply because I wanted to ponder on it first. Well, it's my lunch break so I'll toss out some thoughts.

My first thought was that what you said, and how you said it looked good to me. True, it isn't softened up for management to digest, but it was clear and to the point. I believe I understood what you were saying about a complex and subtle situation in very few words. It may be a bit raw for some, but I like things that are not couched in biz-speak or euphemisms. I've seen complaints about issues softened up to be more "positive", and end up getting completely misunderstood. In other words, I would just do some minor wordsmithing on what you posted above. Very minor (drop all the "inappropriate forum" stuff).

As for this kind of program, I understand completely. I immediately thought of the little purple stars we can be awarded here. I do like getting a star or two for a well done post. It's a tiny reward, but it is appreciated. But these stars have the same downside as your "Shout-Outs". There have been a couple times where I've posted what, to me, is an awesome post. The OP may even mention how great my solution was, but some someone else gets the star. Yeah, it's a small thing, and it's petty, but it does bother me. And I'm not the type to point it out and "beg" for my star.

One thought I had about your "Shout-Out" program is not to kill it, but to make changes. I can think of a number of changes that could fix it. Maybe have an ability to give an award to a "Project", and not just an individual. That way it would be more of an umbrella award. Or, maybe allow people to amend the original award and add people that were involved, but missed on the initial award. I have some other ideas, but I'm kind of designing changes without ever seeing the product.

Just for context, we have an award here called "High Five". Similar thing. Similar issues. Just from observing that system, people tend to recognize people they interface with directly, and usually miss others, mostly because they don't always have the bigger picture and may not know all of the contributors. It's not from malice, it's just that some people only see their piece of the puzzle and a few pieces they connect to. And they sometimes only recognize people when someone saves their bacon some how.

Anyway, just some thoughts.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

Thanks SamBones, This is exactly the type of feedback I'm looking for.

not to discourage other from weighing in, I like to have options

What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

The problem with "shout out" progams isn't the program. Its the users.


Additionally, some staff seem to be exempt from receiving praise

They aren't exempt from receiving praise - they are not praised. This is where you need to concentrate your changes; in making the people responsible for generating the "shout out" be more inclusive.

if you have the "power" and notice someone praiseworthy not getting praised - raise it yourself

Take Care

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

The CIO of our company started giving time for shout-outs/high-fives in our weekly IT Standup meetings. Just a few minutes to say thanks for a couple of people who went above and beyond for the week and truly made a difference.

Unfortunately, it only took about four weeks and it turned into a way for the directors (mostly) to give "praise" to their team members for doing their jobs. Mostly we hear about how so and so implemented a new feature of a product or deployed x new devices to our end users. But these were the tasks directly assigned to the employee as part of their daily work, nothing above and beyond what they were expected to do.

I feel the directors have used it to try to make their team "appear" the most active/hardest working/etc. It's now more of a popularity/acceptance type of activity and has lost a lot of its meaning. It could have a made a much better impact with a bit more planning and thought process into some sort of criteria for recognition.

I'm probably pretty biased in this area...My personal experience working on databases and heavily back-end code tends to not put me in the spot light for features/work that is seen by anyone other than the junior developers/database engineers. And I personally don't care about that type of accolade anyway so I am sure that affects my bias as well. But I have discussed it briefly with a couple of senior team members and we all think it is not an effective tool for anything from the employee's standpoint at my company.

Not to be all negative, I do support the idea of this type of activity. Especially for junior/younger team members, being able to provide this level of feedback can go a long way to helping develop someone into a strong, committed team member. It fosters the type of environment that displays a well integrated group of individuals who are all working to better outcomes.

Robert "Wizard" Johnson III
U.S. Military Vets MC
Data Integration Engineer

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

SgtJarrow, here's how mundane accomplishments end up getting called out in situations like that. Your CIO probably put an innocent request to the directors to give a shout out to people doing something above and beyond the call of duty. Something he read recently in a management book or on a web site. The directors hear, "show me you've got a team worth keeping during the next round of lay-offs". The directors contact all of the managers under them saying, "I want to know all of your team's accomplishments for this quarter." The managers all crap their pants worried that layoffs are coming and provide a list of everything that everyone in their team has done, whether big, little, or just BAU. The director gets the list and looks for "sound bites", things that sound impressive. He doesn't know what most of them mean, but if it sounds impressive, it goes up to the CIO. The CIO gets his filler material for the meeting and is happy. Backs are slapped, bonuses are paid, and life goes on.

All while some of us down in the trenches perform minor miracles day after day to keep the business in business. bigsmile

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

Thanks SgtJarrow

The negatives that you speak about have already been noticed here. It's turning into popularity contest.

In my field, when a tech like myself does an exceptionally good job, no one notices because everything works as it should.

When a tech f**** up, but scrambles after hours, sometimes going to site to fix something that shouldn't have been broken in the first place, he gets accolades. banghead

In a meeting this morning for the tech team I think I managed to put my viewpoint into a sound byte.

With respect to people getting praise for simply doing their job

Quote (Syndrome - from the Incredibles)

If everyone is Super, then no one is...

What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

@ Sambones

There is some truth to your latest but where I work there is not so much hierarchy. < 20 Staff including ownership

Here is a redacted example of this weeks drivel.

To Owner1, Owner2, PM, CustomerRep1, HR1: for helping out with the last push for the Major Project RFP. It was a great example of a team effort.
Note: This Project did not land and was far more of a failure than a success

To Sales2: for picking up the slack in sales while Sales1 focused on the RFP response and for going out of his way to help with [a customer]
Note: Sales1 was not mentioned above and Sales2 did what exactly?

To Admin1: for taking Admin2's calls, answering her questions and always willing to help! A true team player.
Note:Really, we're getting praise for taking calls from colleagues now, just how low is the bar?

To CustomerRep1: for doing an amazing job with the training for [A Customer].
Note: Primary job description of CustomerRep1 is to train customers. I sat in on the training, it was ok

and last but not least,

To Owner3, Owner1 and Owner3: for Owner3 for his incredible job programming the new system for The [Customer]; and for Owner1 and Owner2 - lacing up their work boots once again and running over 6,000 feet of cross-connect wire in just 20 hours. They are the dream team!
Note: The Contribution of the Owners was very much secondary to the techs involved. Omitting the people that did the actual work was more than a snub, it was insulting

Also of Note: Without exception, everyone that works in Sales, Admin or is an Owner was mentioned. The techs - not one, crickets.

What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

Update for those that are interested.

The person responsible for the communication has been removed from the position and new rules are being implemented for criteria to qualify.

Based upon those that I've spoken to, the outrage was pretty unanimous

What's most important is that you realise ... There is no spoon.

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

I think you have seen already that a problem with these type of schemes is that when people just keep their head down & get on with there job all the time it soon becomes unnoticed (until they make a rare mistake then all hell lets loose).

perhaps acknowledging the nominator as well as the nominee (when nominated for good reason) would encourage people to use the system more.
also it should be stressed that long term consistent performance deserves as much praise if not more that a one-off indecent.

Do things on the cheap & it will cost you dear

RE: Employee Recognition Issues

The problem was, your work started giving out "participation trophies". So everyone is a winner!

I Love your sound bite (Syndrome quote)!

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