Unfortunately, favoritism is human nature. We like praising, promoting and rewarding our friends. We like reaffirming our bonds. To that point, 92% percent of senior business executives have seen favoritism at play in employee promotions, according to a 2011 survey conducted by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Imagine if your recognition program was skewed to 92% favoritism!
Favoritism’s Former Reign
The command-and-control management style was its breeding ground, an empire-builder’s dream situation. When an empire-builder got into a leadership position, they would proceed to refer back to primitive means of bullying, ostracism and subversive conversation to form cliques of followers around them. Give them a budget of recognition points and guess where those points ended up? With their favorites in their clique.
Today, Autonomy Is King
Now successful management styles and workforce environments are all based around autonomy, and modern recognition programs allow for recognition of autonomous contributions. Think about it. Every day you make personal choices about how much to give or take from your company. Many times your manager does not even know you did it, but the company does. So it’s imperative for the company to identify what is important, and communicate it and reward it, regardless of the person’s manager. But even with the best recognition training, you’ll still find that 20% of your managers don’t participate—or worse, play favorites with their recognition dollars.
Put the Power in the Hands of the People
Of course you need manager-to-employee and peer-to-peer programs, but those are table stakes today. And they are receiving less funding than recognition of autonomous performance in high ROI areas—areas including:
Conversely, recognition programs that rely on managers only (read: favoritism) are mocked, ridiculed and dismissed as “unfair” or “only for the bow-tie club” (yes, I knew a leader that encouraged his favorites to dress differently to demonstrate their allegiance).
Get Results That Rule
What you’ll get when you implement recognition programs in wellness, productivity, safety and innovation—the four areas with the highest ROIs—is employees who step up. Teammates who go above and beyond for the good of the company, not to impress a sole manager. A workforce that aligns around the key performance metrics that ultimately provide a thriving work environment, void of animosity and free of favoritism. Ultimately what you’ll get is a happy and healthy workforce—a workforce that puts the “well” in employee wellbeing.
Find out more—and get details on what employee wellbeing means to ROI—in ITA Group’s new ebook, Improve Retention and Engagement by Enhancing the Employee Experience.