When Employee Recognition Goes Wrong: Get the Workplace Digital Signage Fix

Category: Digital Signage

Early in my career, I worked at a large insurance company with a great number of talented, dedicated employees. Every month the company would issue an internal newsletter announcing the ‘Employee of the Month,’ complete with a write-up of the employee’s accomplishments and congratulations on a month’s ownership of a reserved parking space. I was never selected.

To be honest, I actually didn’t care about the parking space. But I realize now that I was craving the recognition aspect of the award (or perhaps just reassurance as a recent grad that I was doing a good job). Unfortunately, when I did the quick math, I understood that my chances of winning one of the monthly awards looked slim to none… despite my efforts to excel at my job. To make matters worse, I had to walk past the winner’s parking space every day on the way to work.  Talk about deflating. It wasn’t exactly the motivator the company intended, at least not for me.

That was many years ago, long before Digital Signage was so easily incorporated into the workplace. If I had started that job today and knew my supervisors had access to Digital Signage, this is what I would suggest to them instead:

1). You don’t need awards to give recognition. You don’t even need to make the recognition solely about the employee. Try this: Weave employee recognition into regular departmental updates about projects and accomplishments. The more involved an employee is in a project that is well-publicized, the more important he or she will feel. Digital Signage gives you the publicity vehicle to do this.

2). Recognize milestones (even the small ones). To a recent grad, 6 months or a year on the job is like a lifetime. Recognize it. Post their pictures with a few sentences about their thoughts since joining the company. You may even discover some additional benefits as they offer a fresh perspective.

3). Recognize daily life challenges and the successes. This has never been easier to do. The combination of ubiquitous Internet-connected cameras (your smartphone) and robust digital signage software turns managers into late-breaking news editors. The faster you can post it, the more benefit it will provide. It’s a means of connecting employees to each other in a way that can break down silos, spurring cross-departmental understanding and cooperation. And it can be fun. In fact, it’s important to have lighter recognition pieces in your workplace Digital Signage to keep your audience engaged.

What all of these suggestions have in common is that they are meant to occur pretty frequently. They dramatically increase the odds that employees are recognized for their efforts. And it’s not just about patting people on the back. With so much more openness about challenges, projects, personnel, and successes, you’ll be increasing engagement across your organization. Digital Signage, and its ability to be more timely and eye-catching, is merely the tool that can help make this a reality.

Oh, and what about that ‘Employee of the Month’ reserved parking space? Keep it going. The other forms of recognition that I’ve outlined here will balance out the exclusivity of the monthly award. But why not tweak things a bit? Post a mid-month photo of the current winner enjoying the spot. After all, just because it’s a monthly award doesn’t mean it should be promoted but once a month. Besides, the extra publicity replenishes those lovely endorphins that start fading almost as fast as the awards are handed out.

So remember, have fun and recognize often!

Sean Donnelly
January 28, 2016

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