Author Topic: Awards at work  (Read 11675 times)

Kalergie

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Awards at work
« on: April 30, 2015, 06:03:39 AM »
Hi guys,

I want to share with you the following. I work at a huge multi-national company. Every once in a while, our employees get awards for "outstanding contributions" to the company. That's great BUT I was shocked to see this year's selection criteria. In a meeting, three employees were presented and were given an award of 100$ (wohoo) and a plack. Our regional leader announced what was their contribution:

"These three outstanding employees have cancelled their vacation multiple times and came back to work when needed or worked during their vacation."

OK, what? So first of all, the fact that they cancelled their vacation cost them more money than the very "gracious" prize of 100$; let alone the psychological stress. Second of all, are you telling me that this is the new "normal" for all other employees now?

All I heard the regional leader say was: "Don't you dare take your vacation because that's not what outstanding employees do".

Thoughts?

Torran

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 06:19:44 AM »
I would be very angry about this attitude in a company. I know people can get sucked into that sort of atmosphere where they don't want to be the last one to leave at night, etc. Employees NEED to have time off. They'll just end up combusting from stress and then (if the company wants to be super-cynical and money-minded, as they clearly do) they'll end up with a big problem with high staff turnover, sick days etc, so in the long run they're only damaging their own company. IMHO.

On a side-note, one of my bosses was (jokingly) talking about having awards for our staff. He suggested 'Least Potential', 'Most Improved Male' and 'Most Improved Female'. A tiny part of my would love to see the fall-out from the Least Potential award.

Kalergie

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 06:40:16 AM »
I totally agree with you. It is very short-term minded to praise employees that don't take their vacation. It fuels paranoia and you end up losing sleep and break apart. And when you burn out and cannot perform anymore, guess what is going to happen?

I would love to have awards at work like from the show The Office. "The Dundee award for 'Don't go to the bathroom after me' goes to".  :D

Giro

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2015, 07:21:13 AM »
This is exactly how my last company operated.  We were on a billable contract.  So, the more employees worked, the more money the company made.  However, the employees were salary.  So, all hours over 40 per week, went unpaid but were billed to the client. 

I managed 64 people because they were too cheap to promote someone else to help me!  I lasted 9 months after I was promoted.  My employee count went from 23 to 64 in those 9 months.  I consistently asked for help. I received two "awards" for my efforts.  One paid a whopping $125.  The other paid with 2 extra vacation days....that I could never freakin use. 

I quit and received a $18,000 raise and now manage 3 people.  It's amazing!  I even get to take my vacation days whenever I want. 

Elderwood17

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 11:37:47 AM »
The corporate culture where I work involves bragging about how many hours you worked while on vacation, etc.  People think nothing of ignoring that your calendar says 'Vacation Day' and putting meetings and one on one calls on it.  Very frustrating. 

Sibley

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 01:31:54 PM »
I have two types of vacations. One, I'm available if really needed, but you have to contact me and I'll answer questions but am not coming back early. Two, you can call me if there was a catastrophic meltdown, but I'm going to be really pissed and you will pay for it. If it wasn't catastrophic, then I'm hanging up and will proceed to complain to the appropriate person's boss when I get back.

No problems thus far. If I have problems with this, I'd probably find a new job.

LibrarIan

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2015, 07:37:29 AM »
We joke at my company about their "Work-Life Balance" policy. Work always comes first in that policy.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2015, 07:59:31 AM »
At my former company, they decided to have an internal award for certain departments. It was deemed mandatory participation, and even if you didn't care about the award, they would pick projects and submit them in your name if you refused to do so yourself. And you were required to attend a flashy dinner at a hotel they rented for the night - after work, that took over 2 hours - and was mandatory as well. We were told you had to be in the hospital yourself or at a relative's deathbed to get an excuse to miss the event.

You were competing with your co-workers, which actually fostered quite a bit of animosity instead of building the idea of being a team (the organizers just didn't get that). We ended up with hurt feelings and anger over who "won" the grand prize because often the projects were built using collaboration and often outside resources, and the "winner" wasn't actually winning off of their own merits.




druth

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2015, 08:28:42 AM »
Wow...  My company has these but the award is more like 2.5k.  I still think that they could do more considering it's only a few dozen people out of 10k some people, but yeah 100$ would be offensive.

FatCat

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 02:03:14 PM »
My company doesn't give awards for this because it's just expected to be the norm...

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 02:57:37 PM »
I had a company that knew what they were doing when it came to "special awards". If you kicked ass at something, and someone noticed, your boss would come it to your office discreetly and let you know that you were going to receive an extra $500 or $750 or $1250 on your paycheck for that pay period. He'd give you a pat on the back and a printed-out certificate, and no one else knew a damn thing about it. There was no big production intended to show other employees, "See, this is how it's done!" and no jealousy if someone got recognized for their achievement and someone else didn't, because your manager was the only one who knew about it.

The awards were decent money. I think I racked up over $2000 in my last year with the company, in addition to our annual bonus. Of course, my co-workers may have been getting twice as much, but I didn't care because I didn't know.

JLee

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2015, 03:51:16 PM »
My company doesn't give awards for this because it's just expected to be the norm...
Yup.

30% annual growth in the last two consecutive years - and then 2% annual raises because "it's not in the budget."

halfshellmeijin

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2015, 08:03:58 AM »
I feel like the mistake by the managers is not in giving the award, but in asking the employee to return from their vacation to work. Personally, if for some reason I were to do that, I would expect some kind of recognition for my sacrifice (if I didn't quit.) So the managers had to do something for them, it just doesn't reflect well to the masses. In the end, the managers have said that the idea of a vacation is a ruse, which puts a damper on the morale. But it all started when the managers asked them to cancel vacations and set themselves up for a lose lose situation.

SnackDog

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2015, 08:45:11 AM »
If people do a great job, exceed expectations, and make extra discretionary effort, I see no harm in recognizing that publicly.  The emphasis should be on the extraordinary result from the extra effort, not on the fact the vacation was sacrificed, although that is worth mentioning to illustrate the point.  If I had an employee who was so behind on their duties that they were unable to take their vacation, I would probably need to find out what was wrong.

Many people seem to treat vacation days and their timing as a right. I see it as a privilege since there are no US labor laws governing it.  The timing should be balanced with business needs and is subject to revocation in a true business emergency.  I have only seen vacations canceled on one occasion and it was a true emergency (our office was on the tv news every night) and staff were reimbursed for the costs of cancellation.

dcheesi

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2015, 10:34:10 AM »
It really depends. In my job, we had one big “crunch time" push to release a new flagship product; everyone was asked to work long hours and/or weekends, including (voluntarily) cutting short our usual two-week break for the holidays. Management was of course careful to thank everyone, and reward those of us who put in extra effort.

I was seriously concerned that this would become the "new normal" (especially when I was caught up in another weekend "emergency" on what should have been my first guilt-free weekend off after the release). But it hasn't turned out that way at all. Everything's gone back to standard 40hr workweeks, even when projects are behind schedule. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2015, 10:38:16 AM by dcheesi »

dividendman

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2015, 12:42:47 PM »
That is terrible - rant below.

I manage a decently sized group at MegaCorp and I continually think that company awards are bogus and political.

1) They don't give awards to the same individual or teams multiple times even if they deserve it because they want to "spread it out" (see 4) )
2) They give more awards to people who fucked a situation up and recovered instead of people who had no drama projects (aka they performed well throughout so didn't have to "catch up")
3) Obviously they (the award pickers) pick favorites regardless of overall contribution to the company
4) The awards are always mislabeled. They will give "excellent performance" awards for retention, towing the company line (like in the OP) or other BS that has nothing to do with actual project performance
5) The awards do more harm than good because everyone knows 1-4, the inside joke now is nobody wants the awards.

We already have a bonus program and issue stock and have merit pay increases. These should be the awards. Fuck the rest, IMO.

Rural

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2015, 02:02:55 PM »
Our recently gave out awards for 25 years of service: check for $200. No, I didn't leave off a digit.

MsPeacock

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2015, 02:28:20 PM »
No monetary awards at my work (fed gov). Obviously a very large organization and so individuals experiences vary widely. My department says "makes sure you use your leave!"  Unheard of for someone to cancel vacation or let leave go unused. I supervise about 12 people and never say no if someone wants to take leave. We will work out the conflicts if multiple people need leave at the sMe time.

Awards for not taking vacation set a terrible atmosphere for work. That would make me really unhappy. One of the best perks of my job is the generous leave policy. Pay and hiring often frozen, and of course furlough in the not too distant past, so you gotta maximize the benefits you do have.

Rural

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2015, 02:40:32 PM »
Should have pointed out our awards are funded by our connected charitable foundation, since we're government, too and it can't be done directly.

bzzzt

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2015, 02:56:52 PM »
Yesterday, we had a problem on a "critical project that management, up to the VP level, is watching" and it had to be resolved. My partner and I ended up staying 16 hours but our end is done. It should've been totally complete, but backend people didn't stay and I'm sure they're "going to get a talking to" on Monday, but they probably don't care. We didn't have to stay, but it's easier to look like the "all-in" superstar than have people start wondering why you weren't there in a "crisis".

The only awards we have are for "safety". Bascially, as long as your project doesn't have someone get hurt, you get the quarterly money. The company, however, is really bad at "remembering" to pay them out. I think I'm due 3 quarters at this point. I'm pretty sure they wait until a lot of the big projects are over and only pay out to whoever is left after layoffs (construction).

Laura

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2015, 03:16:41 PM »
Whoa, that's garbage. They should at least give more than $100 if they're going to award somebody for that. It's a shame when companies don't see the importance of a good work-life balance.

My employer gives out an "outstanding" award like that to two people each quarter and you get a plaque and $750 Net. I've won it twice over the past 7 years. My employer also gives you a generous amount of vacation days compared to other US companies. You start with 19 vacation days and move up to 24 vacation days when you hit the 5 year mark and then you get 29 vacation days when you reach the 10 year mark.

Kalergie

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2015, 03:45:44 PM »
The story actually gets even stranger. So the guys who received the 100$ bonus are now asked to select a co-worker of their choice who would also get 100$ for outstanding achievements. Again, this is a Mega-Cap corporation!

Basically this tells me to suck up to the guy with the most face-time at the office and never question him. 

gimp

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2015, 05:38:01 PM »
Your managers are idiots. Short-term having people skip a vacation is good (over maybe a few months). Longer term, it just causes people to leave. That vacation may have cost a few grand; turnover costs ten times as much.

Elderwood17

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2015, 06:37:22 PM »
Your managers are idiots. Short-term having people skip a vacation is good (over maybe a few months). Longer term, it just causes people to leave. That vacation may have cost a few grand; turnover costs ten times as much.
True, but in my field anyway with a lot of industry consolidation they also know that if a senior leader doesn't like it they need to relocate to find a comparable job.  That keeps people pretty stable on the leadership side.  Staff members never have to put in an extra hour if they don't want to.

steveo

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2015, 07:21:58 PM »
I find it funny that the reward is $100. I mean do they realize how badly they are screwing themselves over.

Hey It's Me

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2015, 05:25:24 AM »
Funny thing is that someone in leadership probably mentioned this in a meeting and no one spoke up to say how horrible a $100 reward sounds. Fuck that's a shitty group of people.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2015, 05:39:17 AM »
I guess we have it good.....

Half of our team made club for the past fiscal year. All expenses paid trip to Europe for 7 days in July for each of them and a +1.

Next year's club is Bora Bora, talk about motivation to kill it this year!

Hey It's Me

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2015, 06:21:59 AM »
DAMN - that's the way to reward great performance. Nice 2Birds1Stone!

Sibley

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2015, 11:32:57 AM »
I had a company that knew what they were doing when it came to "special awards". If you kicked ass at something, and someone noticed, your boss would come it to your office discreetly and let you know that you were going to receive an extra $500 or $750 or $1250 on your paycheck for that pay period. He'd give you a pat on the back and a printed-out certificate, and no one else knew a damn thing about it. There was no big production intended to show other employees, "See, this is how it's done!" and no jealousy if someone got recognized for their achievement and someone else didn't, because your manager was the only one who knew about it.

The awards were decent money. I think I racked up over $2000 in my last year with the company, in addition to our annual bonus. Of course, my co-workers may have been getting twice as much, but I didn't care because I didn't know.

I think you must have worked where I work. That's exactly what my current employer does. I've gotten a couple awards, and it's really nice to decide how open about it you want to be with coworkers, but it's still in your file so mgmt knows you're awesome.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2015, 04:23:54 PM »
DAMN - that's the way to reward great performance. Nice 2Birds1Stone!

It is truly nice, my good friend and coworker just spent the past 3 days at Jazz Fest in New Orleans for winning a % over quota contest for last quarter. I think business to business software/technology sales is a budding industry with fairly high margins, so they try to keep us happy and working hard. The culture at my employer is pretty amazing, but that doesn't change my drive to FIRE asap haha!

jorjor

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2015, 04:45:39 PM »
I guess we have it good.....

Half of our team made club for the past fiscal year. All expenses paid trip to Europe for 7 days in July for each of them and a +1.

Next year's club is Bora Bora, talk about motivation to kill it this year!

Very nice! We do something similar. We go on a trip for a week to one of four places based on our financial performance as a group. This year the potential locations are: Crested Butte, Lake Tahoe, Riviera Maya, or Ireland. It will most likely be Riviera Maya. Last year was Maui. It was Costa Rica and Peru a couple times back before I started. No family though. Just team members.

I can't decide if I'd rather just have them take the money they spend and pay me that portion instead. My general feeling on awards for good performance is "You think I did a good job? Then pay me for it."

JLee

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2015, 09:27:58 AM »
Funny thing is that someone in leadership probably mentioned this in a meeting and no one spoke up to say how horrible a $100 reward sounds. Fuck that's a shitty group of people.

Hah we used to get $10 gift cards.

Yes, $10.00...

10dollarsatatime

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2015, 07:58:19 PM »
I get yelled at if I don't use my vacation hours.  And I have to justify going over 40 because then I accumulate comp time.

Supposedly, we can submit projects to be considered for a bonus of sorts.  However, it's a vague system with low payouts so I haven't pursued it.  This is money that used to be our Christmas bonus.  Now it has to be earned by doing more work in the 40 hour work week, which I can't do, seeing as I've gone over my 40 hours for 3 of the past 4 weeks.

But I do get an $80 gift certificate to home depot once a year as a safety incentive...

tofuchampion

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2015, 08:10:07 PM »
Funny thing is that someone in leadership probably mentioned this in a meeting and no one spoke up to say how horrible a $100 reward sounds. Fuck that's a shitty group of people.

Hah we used to get $10 gift cards.

Yes, $10.00...

I once got a $15 WalMart gift card and a can of mixed nuts at Xmas. I thought the nuts were appropriate, since this was a job at a nursing home. ;)

electriceagle

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2015, 08:28:36 PM »
Funny thing is that someone in leadership probably mentioned this in a meeting and no one spoke up to say how horrible a $100 reward sounds. Fuck that's a shitty group of people.

Hah we used to get $10 gift cards.

Yes, $10.00...

Sometimes, we would get a $25 gift certificate for starbucks. Other times, we would get a certificate for free lunch (up to $6.50) at the company cafeteria.

Hey It's Me

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2015, 09:02:48 PM »
Can I ask you guys an honest question: how did you respond to the low-ticket awards, and if they made you feel unappreciated, did you ever bring that up to management?

Rural

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2015, 03:28:25 AM »
Can I ask you guys an honest question: how did you respond to the low-ticket awards, and if they made you feel unappreciated, did you ever bring that up to management?


I can tell you my perspective from government work. I won a $15 gift card to a grocery store at the holidays this year. But the thing is, government money can't be spent on things like that by law; our dean bought those cards from her own pocket (and drew names from a hat at our faculty meeting). There were enough of them to represent a significant gesture on her part - she doesn't make that much more than I do.


So. Government can't do it by statute. She did out of grace and genuine caring. I can't possibly object.


I do think our foundation ought to do more than $200 for twenty-five years of service, that or do a certificate only. And they could afford more. So that I object to on the grounds that it's tacky, though I don't expect to be there anywhere near long enough to be affected.

ms

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2015, 06:07:20 AM »
We got a single packet of hot chocolate every Christmas.

I'm no longer with that company; the commute was not worth it.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #38 on: May 06, 2015, 06:24:47 AM »
We got a single packet of hot chocolate every Christmas.

I'm no longer with that company; the commute was not worth it.

You win the award for worst bonus/award. PM your address and I'll send you your congratulatory packet of hot chocolate.

kyanamerinas

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2015, 06:28:52 AM »
At my husbands work, sales got a new ipad as their Christmas bonus. His department of 12+ got two half-dozen box of mince pies between them. They felt really appreciated after that!

madgeylou

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Re: Awards at work
« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2015, 06:35:57 AM »
Our company gives a $1000 award to one outstanding team member per year and $500 to a few people each quarter.

The "big prize" is going on the sales team's annual reward trip, which is usually in a nice place .... But  vacation with sales guys sounds more like a punishment to me.