Employee of the month (or the week, or the year)

Employee of the month (or the week, or the year) awards have a bad image. They are popularlyassociated with low-paid, low-status service sector jobs a dollop of worthless recognition ontop of an already low-value package. Implemented properly, they can be a valuable form ofrecognition that motivates staff, especially in todays reward constrained climate. Handledwrongly, however, they can backfire and foster distrust.John Mulenga, a team leader at Chilimba Financial Services (CFS), an insurance intermediary,was its employee of the Year 2018. It was a goal Id set myself at the start of the year, heexplains. Once he had won six employee of the month awards, he knew he was in with a goodchance. He adds: Its a great incentive and what really motivated me is the recognition you get.Its a fantastic thing to put on your CV. Mr Mulenga was presented with his award at a dinnerfor 100 of the companys top performers and their partners at Pamodzi Hotel. He also received acash prize of K20,000. It was, he says, the best night of my life.The scheme, explains Chisote Hambayi, CFS group managing director, has been running forfour years and is part of a complex structure of recognition. Each department has an employee ofthe month award, which accords privileges such as free food in the staff canteen, gymmembership and parking. From these are drawn quarterly qualifiers who could make it on to ashortlist for employee of the year. Its part of an overall strategy to identify who top performersare, says Mr Hambayi, adding that at the dinner, the 34 departmental winners of the annual titlealso receive awards and K5, 000. In a way, the recognition is the most important part though [the] reward goes beyond your pay packet.

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