“Management” has finally realized that engaged and thinking employees are a good thing and they’ve shuffled off the coil of the industrial revolution mindset. If my google reader is any judge of the corporate zeitgeist, many companies are instituting strategic recognition and taking the time to invest in engagement initiatives.
But that shouldn’t stop us from asking more questions and testing new ideas.
One that I’ve been noodling the past few days is about the whole idea of “manager to employee” recognition.
From the Castle
In many programs there is a subset of recognition – typically driven by nominations – whereby “management” reviews submitted nominations and chooses a worthy recipient. I like the idea of nominations. What I’m wondering about is the selection process.
When I see that process I think of royalty, surveying their domain and picking a worthy serf to hold up to the masses...
“See, I am magnanimous. I am aware and connected to your strife and your lot in life. I will show the world I am good and generous by bestowing this award upon you. Now, take a knee and I’ll tap first your left, then your right shoulder with this crystal trophy somewhat resembling a flame or a claret jug (or both.)"
Here’s what I’m thinking now…
Studies show that managers are the real drivers of engagement. Sure, you can have Congress-worthy benefits and haute cuisine in the company café, but if your manager is a dolt – no amount of “manager to employee” recognition is going to create engagement. Bad bosses and bad management trump employee recognition and engagement initiatives every time.
What if we started nominating “bosses” and had their performance reviewed. What if the employees vetted the nominations? Also, what if a portion (a sizeable portion) of a “managers” performance review was based on nominations from the “rank & file.” And what if the impact of these nominations increased based on the manager’s level in the organization (meaning the CEO could have 90% of his compensation based on how well people in the org thought s/he was doing – the Sr. VP of Product Alignment would have 70% of s/he comp tied to it somehow – and so on.)
That would change a few things wouldn’t it.
But let’s just take away the comp discussion for a minute.
Why not just do the recognition program? Why not? Permission is much harder than forgiveness.
Hey – brilliant gal or guy in IT – set up a website untraceable to you – load up the managers in the org – allow for anonymous profiles (include some way of vetting that everyone really is an employee – I’m sure you could figure out a way) – and then allow those folks to start rating managers (kind of a “hot or not” thing maybe). Let it loose on the organization.
At first it will probably be abused – but once a couple of managers see that they are getting good marks for transparency and authenticity it will start to carry some weight. Once a few Sr. VPs get their comeuppances – some of the C-Level might take note.
Bottom line – everyone wins.
Unless of course it becomes a real cluster – which would also indicate you’ve got a real culture and management issue anyway.
Before the haters jump in – I know the first thing you’ll hear...
"What makes employees think they know what good management is? Why should they rate me? I’ve been to school and I’ve got the annual training on diversity and sexual harassment. I’m a ‘Manager’ with a capital ‘M.’”
Yeah… I get that.
And if you really were a manager worthy of the title – you would think this is the greatest idea since my[_______].
Whaddaya think – is this great or what?