Employee Recognition Fail (feat. Dwight Schrute on keyboard...)

Those of you all that are our regular readers know that we mainly talk about employee recognition and incentive programs. The basic idea of using recognition and incentives as a productivity and morale boost is a positive one that has potential to yield positive results.

Unless you do it badly.

Incentive programs are like any basic tool. If used properly, they are largely beneficial to the user. However, if not used properly or aren't aligned with your company goals, they can do more harm than good. In your home, a hammer is an excellent tool if there is a clear goal in place (i.e. nailing a picture frame up to a wall). However, if you give someone a hammer and tell them to use it without any real objective or goal, potentially bad and unintended results could occur.

In season two of The Office, Michael Scott takes a stab at utilizing employee recognition at his Dunder Mifflin Branch via "The Dundies." The Dundies are a very "prestigious" set of awards given out by Michael to his employees for their efforts in The Office. Typically the idea behind awards is giving your staff verbal and public recognition of a job well done, giving them encouragement for their hard work and potential motivation to keep up their current effort and even build upon it. However, this is not the case for The Dundies. What's the main problem about this employee recognition program?

It's not about the employees.

The awards ceremony held at Chili's is a chance for Dunder Mifflin's attention-hungry boss to attempt to take the spotlight while casually mentioning the hard working employees in the process (with keyboard accompaniment by Dwight, assistant TO the regional manager). Yes, it is an employee recognition program. Will it boost morale and engagement among the staff? Probably not, since the award show ultimately turns into a painfully awkward experience for everyone involved. Will accomplish company goals? Well, it's hard to accomplish goals that aren't even identified in the first place.

What are some other employee recognition fails that you have experienced or heard of?