The every-two-yearly employee survey around here always shares a few of the same themes. Work-life balance is always the biggest concern, followed usually by career development. And somewhere in there is always “employee recognition”. These are always tricky, because it’s tough to be clear what each person means when they list any of those. For the work-life thing, one person may mean that they need to work from home more, another may want more flexible hours, and I simply ask the basic human dignity of not being called at 1am.
But Employee Recognition has caused plenty of confusion too. There have been several attempts to try to quell the issue at different levels of the organization. One of those that I no longer have to deal with anymore was a somewhat silly ‘formal’ thank you given between employees including a certificate etc. Since that was departmental only, and I generally worked with teams outside my department, I never made use of it (though I did receive several such thanks for this or that).
But now the IT department is taking it to the next level. They’ve fired up an outsourced solution to let all of us log in, find another user, send them ‘thanks’ along with points they can accrue and eventually spend on unnecessary junk, all in the name of making it easier for us to recognize one another’s hard achievements and also team building plus plus.
Before I continue with this rant, let’s take a moment to assert that I’m a highly anti-social, probably borderline autism spectrum individual. I hate people in general, I hate social contact if it can be avoided, and I very often use digital means… email, text, whatever… to communicate rather than phone calls or in person because that’s just where my comfort level is. Ok? Understood? Good.
I don’t understand why we’ve gone so far as to implement this design. Even as a demi-autist I know that when I want to say ‘thanks’ to someone who’s helped me out, the best possible way to do so is to walk over to their desk / pick up the phone and call to say thank you. I have no problems with doing so. In fact, I am eager to do so to show my sincere appreciation. To my knowledge, nobody else in the office has that problem either. But now we have this system that’s been built to let me click a few buttons to thank them so that I don’t need to go to the trouble of interacting with peers. It also conveniently removes any accidental in-person team building that may have occurred during the process.
What in the actual fuck?
Ultimately I guess it needs to be chalked up to yet another misfire of the ‘well maybe this is what they mean’ gun. And perhaps I’m the odd man out here, you know? The times that I’ve made references to wishing Employee Recognition was more effective what I’ve generally actually meant was how about i get some appreciation for saving management asses when they call me at 1am?
Maybe this all needs to get noted under the other regular problem area, manager effectiveness.