Your CEO says employee engagement is critical to success. Your CEO asks you to put together a plan to drive engagement. Your CEO has read all the blogs (year, right) on engagement and knows recognition is key (it is but...) Your CEO gives you your marching orders, walks down the mahogany hallway, out the front door of the building to the assigned parking spots for “execs,” yells at the employees having a smoke in the parking lot before jumping in his BMW 760Li to race off to dinner and opera with the local politicos.
Don’t do it! I’m warning you right now. Take my advice. Don’t do it.
No recognition program in the world will drive engagement if the employee population isn’t connected to the leadership of the organization.
Check out this article on the new employee recognition program for the state of Wisconsin. In theory the program is probably a good idea. In practice and application – not so much.
The spokesperson is the Guv himself. And, if you’ve followed any of the political news coming out of the great state of cheese, you know that Governor Walker isn’t the most loved guy right now. I think this sums up the response to the program announcement...
"On behalf of all of us here in the state of Wisconsin," says Walker, "I want to say thank you to the thousands of men and women who work each day as public servants here in the state of Wisconsin."
To which, one wag responds: "What a clueless moron!" And another: "What a bunch of fascist propaganda." At one point, the guv's video had garnered 10 "likes" and 285 "dislikes," although I'm guessing that if they had their druthers, a lot of those dislikers might have chosen a slightly stronger word.
A reader of this column suggested the governor has "chutzpah" for launching the initiative. "
The lesson here is that any recognition program worth its weight in logo-identified mugs has to connect to “people” in the company. Specifically people in positions of authority. A recognition program based on signs and posters has zero impact.
I take that back. A program based on signs and posters has NEGATIVE impact.
Uh... Thanks, but no Thanks...
I can only imagine what the employees of the state of Wisconsin are feeling right now. I’m guessing many are embarrassed. Some may be actively doing a poor job to avoid being nominated and rewarded to keep themselves from being identified with the program figurehead. This will not end well. At least not until the person who is the “face” of the program is respected, valued, liked and most importantly – lives the values of the program.
Your management, executive management and informal leaders are the face of the program. Either they’re on board – and living the program - or it is a waste of your time and theirs.
If your CEO is asking for an employee recognition program – and doesn’t give a rip about the employees and everyone knows it - just send all the employees a sawbuck and call it a day. It’ll be cheaper and faster.