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Ban Employee of the Month Recognition

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Employee of the Month Awards Often Create Mixed Emotions

Employee of the Month Awards Often Create Mixed Emotions

iStockphoto / Jodi Matthews

The designation, Employee of the Month, is an organization’s positive effort to recognize an employee’s achievements and contributions. It's an organizational recognition that companies have used - both successfully - and unsuccessfully - for years.

In some organizations, Employee of the Month recognition is a joke, a popularity or take-turns contest for management-fawning employees. In others, it is a cherished form of recognition.

My most important concern with Employee of the Month recognition is that employers will believe their job of creating a motivating, rewarding work environment for employees is complete with this award. But, this form of recognition is not a substitute for day-to-day positive recognition, reasonable pay and benefits, company sponsored activities and events, and an environment of appreciation.

With so many opportunities available to provide employee recognition, what employees want from work, why offer an Employee of the Month award with its inherent problems?

Problems With Employee of the Month Recognition

The problems with designating an Employee of the Month rest with the usual implementation. But, even if the implementation process is improved, the award is employee unfriendly and fails to accomplish the goals of employee recognition. Ban Employee of the Month awards because, as a form of employee recognition, it is not recommended for these reasons.

  • Publicized criteria for selection is most frequently non-existent. The employee who is recognized rarely knows why he or she was selected. Lacking criteria, other employees find the selection process an unmotivating fog. In any selection process, stated criteria, most often measurable, is key to employee understanding of the award.


  • For an employee to become Employee of the Month, he or she should have accomplished or exhibited the stated criteria so all employees are clear about why this individual was selected. Most organizations fail to establish measurable and recognizable criteria. The selection is not transparent, so it fails in its goals for employee motivation and retention.

    In these organizations, jokes about brown nosing and must be your turn are commonplace. They diminish the recognition power of the designation.


  • The second reason is even more powerful. If a number of employees accomplish or exhibit the stated criteria, each of the employees deserves the award. Selecting one employee turns the recognition into management’s opinion, once again. This defeats the purpose of the criteria. Provide the award for each employee who accomplishes what it takes to achieve Employee of the Month recognition. Anything else defeats your purpose.

Combat accusations about a lack of transparency and fairness; avoid claims of favoritism, one of the top ten employee complaints about workplaces. Find more motivational forms of recognition. Ban Employee of the Month recognition.

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