Employee of the month

Published May 16, 2015


Some HR professionals strongly believe employee of the month programs aren’t a good idea and instead they advise employers and managers to provide ongoing feedback and recognition to all employees. Rather than making monthly announcements about a single award-winning employee, they suggest implementing other meaningful measures like skills development, salary raises, courses and temporary work assignments or “stretch” opportunities.

However, the supporters of these programs argue that carefully executed “employee of the month” programs can motivate workers, boost morale, and even enhance performance and create some healthy competition between branches. It is recommended that the objective of the award be spelled out, like acknowledging achievement for highest sales, for bringing about workplace improvements that increase productivity or for reducing company overhead and costs.

The most important feature of a successful program is fairness and this can be accomplished by creating clear, objective and measurable criteria. And the criteria should be specific enough to be meaningful while also being sufficiently expansive to enable all employees in the company to work toward winning the award. The parameters of the recognition program must give everyone a legitimate chance to succeed. If this seems like an impossible challenge because the job types are too dissimilar, consider creating more than one category (e.g. sales versus corporate services). Above all, the criteria will be rock-solid and defensible if they are closely tied to business objectives, growth targets and the company’s mission, vision and values statements.

When you launch an employee of the month program, ensure that the announcement can be clearly understood by one and all. Include details on the criteria and identify what the rewards or prizes are. Naturally, time off and other awards with a monetary value will be popular and worth vying for. To avoid perceptions of bias or subjectivity, when winners are announced each month, it is important to provide the reasons and to name the criteria that were met.

Finally, you can profile the recognition program by creating a display in a prominent place in the company building, including monthly updates in any newsletters or internal communications and on the company’s website.

Whether or not your company implements an employee of the month program, staff recognition and engagement are considered crucial in today’s business world. The possibilities for recognition are endless. Team of the month, anybody?

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