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Employee Recognition Without the Program, Pageantry or Points

employee_of_the_monthWe have an Employee of the Month program at The Starr Conspiracy. It’s not your average EOM program, which are known to have any one (or other) symptoms:

  • Managers select the people they “like” the best. This ain’t no popularity contest.
  • There’s as many months in a year as there are employees, so everyone gets recognized. This ain’t no participation award.
  • Peer selection means s/he who haseth the most friends winneth the award. This ain’t no you scratch my back, I scratch yours.
  • Being named employee of the month might mean you get a couple hundred (or even thousands!) of points, but you can’t spend them on things you want and, eventually, it starts to feel like that time America was printing more money than we had gold. Wait…

Seriously though, that’s me, “Employee of the Month.”

Each EOM gets to choose one of the following “prizes” (should we call them prizes? Let’s call them prizes).

  • Dinner with the five Partners
  • A “romantic” dinner with you and your partner, spouse or significant other, if applicable
  • Or, a couple rounds of drinks for you and all your coworkers

I chose dinner with the Partners.

We went to Ellerbe’s in Fort Worth (you may have heard us rave about it) for dinner and The Usual (which happens to be the official bar of The Conspiracy) for drinks.

I know it might be cheesy and I’m no sap, but I can’t think of a cooler way to feel visible, appreciated and recognized.

Because points? Well, we don’t want no stinking points.

Because certificates? They’re just not cutting it.

When a polled 65% of workers between the ages of 18 and 34 will leave their current position if they feel unrecognized, can you really afford to recognize in a way that means nothing to your employees?

A recent study by Office Team revealed a big no-brainer that the majority of employees want to be recognized monetarily. Meaning: they want that money, yo.

I can’t speak for every employee of every company, but personally, there are things I want as much as money.

For instance, in our company, any one of our three available choices would have made me freak out.

But that’s us. Maybe your employees want money? Maybe they want additional time off? Gift cards? A promotion? Who knows. Maybe nothin’ will make them happy and then you’ve got bigger problems.

We run a small-ish shop at The Conspiracy. That means everyone is recognized almost instantly in the daily huddle for great work, regularly in company-wide email chains throughout the day and publicly on our social media accounts.

I know that not every company is a medium-sized marketing agency. I know that.

But my point is: Between the available research in the glorious world of Google, companies and consultants who consider recognition “their thing,” and all of the programs and point systems you can find, make sure you are rewarding employees with things they want.

It sounds so simple, but garage sales are filled with the rejected five-year glass globes and embroidered duffel bags of your recognition and service award programs.

Maybe your employees don’t want to spend a night out with you. Maybe you’re kinda lame. That’s okay.

Just figure out what would make them feel valued and sparked. And figure it out quick before they all quit.

Or you can just get used to not being named one of the Best Places to Work. Like, ever.

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