The “Non-Employee of the Month”.

by Deborah on July 15, 2013

What drives someone to wear a t-shirt like this to a shuttle launch? Just lost his job? Wishes he could retire and play video games all day? Is he a rebel at work and proud of it? Or is it some inside joke and I’ll never know the answer. Who knows – and I wasn’t going to ask him that question at 4am while waiting to get on a bus.

In a past life, (and early in my career), I was part of a management team that got together each month to nominate and select an “Employee of the Month”. Our senior leader would sit in on these meetings and he would snicker or make snide comments about the nominees. Well, that is until he made a snide comment about one of MY employees. By then I was fed up and proceeded to say “If you’re going to make fun of everyone that we nominate, why the (insert an “F-bomb” here) do we keep doing this”??? Clearly this was unprofessional so I went back into his office afterwards and apologized – for the “F-bomb” and for doing it in front of everyone else – but NOT for what I said! He didn’t do it again, mission accomplished.

So do we really need an “Employee of the Month”? Does it really accomplish anything? Or should we perhaps consider looking at the little things that we can do to show our appreciation every day. For instance; as I begin to work with folks who have been transitioned out of their organizations, I’ll confirm the information I’ve been given; spelling of their name, address, e-mail etc. and very often I have incorrect information. When the person tells me that they tried for months (or years) to get the spelling of their name or their home address corrected, it saddens me to think that the outplacement rep is the one that FINALLY got their information right.

For every “Employee of the Month”, I guarantee that you have folks who feel like the guy in the picture. “Employee engagement” isn’t about plaques, awards and other dust collectors – it’s about appreciating employees for who they are and treating them as you expect to be treated. Give folks the opportunity to have their say without fear of retaliation (and not just the rock stars). Find ways to encourage the introverts in your organization to give feedback. Care about what they have to say, implement their ideas, get them involved in the process; help them grow! Who knows, you just might find out that you‘ve been misspelling their name for the last 3 years too.

Share it:


Paul Hebert April 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

If you have more than one child would you do a “child of the month?”

Think about why you wouldn’t then substitute employee for the word “child” in your rationale. Same thing…

Deborah April 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Great point Paul! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: