Did too much “paperwork” lead to no Staff Recognition All-Star nominations?

alstar_logoWhat came to mind when I sat down to write this article was a Dilbert cartoon. The Pointy-Haired Boss announces, “The coveted employee-of-the-year goes to . . . no one.”

That’s sort of how I feel. My intention for today was, in the lead up to National Boss Day (Monday, October 17), to announce the names of the 2016 Staff Recognition All-Stars. That’s not going to happening, because no nominations were submitted prior to the October 7 deadline, or since. This is disappointing, but there is a silver lining. This experience may be a lesson for me and anyone else who has a staff recognition program that is dependent on peer nominations.

First, let me say that I don’t interpret the lack of nominations as evidence that no one out there is doing a good job of recognizing the contributions and achievements of staff members. From conversations I have had with participants when I have spoken at conferences, conventions and other events, I know that there are managers and supervisors who do a great job of recognizing staff.

The Staff Recognition All-Star award was introduced as a way of acknowledging those in leadership roles who use high-value, low-cost staff recognition to express appreciation. There are of course, other ways to thank managers and supervisors for the leadership and support they provide on National Boss Day (Monday, October 17) or any other time during the year.

So why are there no nominations? It may be the nomination process, which appears time- consuming to potential nominators. Faced with the requirement to answer seven questions, they may put it off until later when they have more time—time which is never available.

I should be ashamed of myself for advocating the use of inexpensive, easy-to-implement staff recognition on the one hand, while creating a time-consuming nomination process on the other. People are busy with tasks associated with their jobs. Why should I expect they would be able to find the time to complete a lengthy nomination form?

If you have a nomination-dependent staff recognition program, it may be time to look at the nomination form. How long is it? How much time is required to complete it?

I believe that a converse relationship may exists between the time to complete the nomination and the number of nominations submitted. A long nomination process deters people from submitting names because the potential nominators feel that there’s just not enough time. This means that deserving individuals are not being recognized for the fine job they do.

If there is to be 2017 Staff Recognition All-Star Awards, my first step will be to simplify the process to demand far less of the nominators’ time.

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