employee of the month schemes miss the mark

Employee of the month schemes miss the mark, here’s why

Deep down an employee of the month scheme is really an employee recognition scheme, not a competition between staff to win tokens. Too many businesses fail to realise this when they’re launching their scheme and end up with an ineffective system, which doesn’t do much for their business.

Because many companies make assumptions and mistakes when setting up and managing them, employee of the month schemes fail to generate any real value for the business while soaking up time and energy.

There are five common reasons employee of the month schemes miss the mark:

The scheme is stagnant

Employee of the month schemes eventually lose their flavour and become a routine. Every now and again the scheme has to be rejuvenated and freshened to keep interest alive. This could involve changing the choice of behaviour to recognise, the type of rewards you attach to the scheme, or how you issue the recognition.

You recognise the wrong areas

When trying to find something easily measured every month, it’s easy to settle on numbers like sales numbers, leads generated or tasks completed. While it might seem sensible, it can easily lead to employees with strengths outside of the most obvious measurable metrics to be left out and feeling disengaged by the scheme.

It’s impersonal

Occasionally, a senior figure decides it’s time to have an employee of the month scheme and leaves the task in the hands of a less than enthusiastic manager. Someone who may already feel they’ve got enough on their plate. This leads to a scheme that checks boxes but doesn’t take the recognition aspect seriously, resulting in time and resources being squandered.

You literally call it employee of the month

It’s incredibly unimaginative and doesn’t do much to inspire your staff around what your company does well. Make the presentation and the function of your scheme relevant to your employees’ work to make it more tantalising and engaging to staff.

The same employees win it

Recognising and rewarding the same quantifiable activity every month means some employees can game the system. Design your scheme so it’s difficult to fiddle the system to get the same small group repeatedly recognised.

Hope isn’t lost though; you can make a big difference to your campaign by making some small changes. You can turn your scheme around with some simple, effective ideas:

Transition your focus

Change the emphasis of your scheme from competition to effective recognition. Employee recognition is one of the simplest ways you can improve morale, retention and productivity. It makes sense to use an organised monthly scheme to drive recognition over competition among teams.

Democratise your scheme

Instead of letting management set the criteria for which behaviours get recognised, open the floor to team members. Give your staff a voice in what’s important for them. Especially when it comes to the performance of their peers and who should be recognised for their efforts that month.

Push the public aspect

Make sure the communication of your monthly recognition system is public. Vocalising recognition is an overt demonstration of the company’s values and amplifies the benefits you’ll get from recognition.

Set aside the idea that employees will compete for a nominal prize every month. Think about how your employee of the month scheme will help your recognition efforts instead. Recognition can make a much bigger positive impact than pitting employees against each other in petty contests.