Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Amplify Success!

Employee Appreciation Day has come and gone. My organization gave this day very little formal attention because we appreciate our employees EVERY DAY! I'm unsure where the tradition started but the concept of saying "thank you" once a year is asinine. Employee Appreciation Day gave way to service awards. Appreciating everyone once a year gave birth to the practice of appreciating only our especially loyal employees once every five years. WTF....?
Rewarding Survival
Tenure based rewards make no sense. Are the employees who have reached 5 years of tenure at your organization more worthy of praise than a new hire? Is the employee who reached their 20 year service anniversary with your company a cultural icon or a marginalized hanger-on?

What does the scorecard indicate? Should you give greater rewards to a person who achieved their goals every year? Is the man who spent 15 years in a cubicle here because he loves the job or because he has no other options? Does he have no options because the lack of opportunity for advancement in your company has made him a prominent negative influence?

What's worse is that we give those who have dedicated decades of their lives a catalogue of discontinued gifts and a half-hearted speech. We cut the cake and get back to grinding it out for another 10 years.

What causes disengagement?
  • Unreasonable workload
  • Boredom
  • Lack of opportunity
  • Leadership uncertainty
  • Lack of transparency
  • An inability to recognize effort
If you use the "love it or leave it" approach to workforce motivation, the marginal employees will stick it out and the all-star performers will leave. Over time, your organizational culture will suck because you have retained people who hate their job and have propped them up as organizational thought leaders....based on their tenure.

Creating a High Performance Culture
Employee Recognition is an every day practice. The CEO should thank her top performers every day. Managers should recognize the members of their team that are helping the collective advance. Individual contributors should have an open invitation to stand on the soap box and recognize the effort of a single mother who stayed late on a Friday to finish an Executive's TPS reports.

It is drastically important to respect your elders but sometimes tradition is stupid! "We've always done it that way", is a sure fire indicator that your skills are eroding.

If you are allowing tenure to drive strategy the old guard of mediocrity is destroying your company's future.

I would advise organizations to change their ways but it is not the organizations choice anymore! Keep celebrating marginal talent and you will go out of business!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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