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When Company Appreciation/Reward is an Insult Part II

Giving people a reward that is disproportionate to their effort, i.e., the highest profit achieved, but rewarded by a team picture for LinkedIn where the boss comments, “I am so proud of my team”, is a slap in the face!

Here are some lame "rewards/perks" examples the members of the BuzzFeed Community have received instead of things that would actually have helped them or appreciated by them.

While you are reading them, I urge you to think about your experiences and list a few examples of your own.

- "Instead of a year-end bonus, we got certificates. And not gift certificates either, legit certificates like the kind you would get in elementary school for things like participating or being a 'super reader.' Gee thanks, this will go a long way!"

- "A refillable water bottle with the company name on it during the middle of the pandemic. As a thank you for 'working through these tough times.' Took two years to get a raise. Still doesn't cover all my bills."

- "I worked at a liquor store in Ontario when COVID-19 first happened. Instead of increasing our pay or giving us time off like other retailers were giving their employees, my work gave us a box full of Lindt chocolate eggs for all the employees to share. Not the best incentive to continue working during a pandemic."

- "Won an award at work. My reward was a corporate-branded cup."

- "I work for a (very) small company. Instead of the cost of living raises we asked for, given inflation is the worst it’s been in decades (with rent in my city rising even faster than the national average), we were given a Christmas party with two drinks and a plate of food. Our boss makes seven figures each year and owns three homes, however."

- "One year, for teacher appreciation they gave us an individual size bag of chips because 'we’re all that and a bag of chips.”

- “ The company I worked for had a mandatory, month long challenge to come up with "viral" ideas for our website. We were sorted into teams and had to meet outside work at least once a week (for no extra pay). They said they'd comp us dinners and drinks (they later claimed they never offered that). They said the winning team would get "a really amazing prize — we haven't decided yet, but like, Range Rover good" — the CEO's own words. So obviously we all worked hard outside work, ate the costs, and competed hard to win. My team gave the winning presentation, my company used the idea we came up with, which did in fact go viral, and NEVER GAVE US A PRIZE. We had to nag and nag, and finally after 4 months my team of 8 people were given 4 certificates for a one-night stay at a hotel in town. That could only be used Sunday-Wednesday night, and expired at the end of the year (we got them in October). I guess we were supposed to room together on this random Tuesday night staycation?”

As I said yesterday, don't be that guy! Rewarding is the easiest thing but requires information about what the person appreciates. Yes, it is that simple! And no, it doesn’t have to be a surprise. What it must be is something the person values. Some people prefer cash, and some may be a dinner or a stay in the hotel with their partner. Some want a day off or even a dreadful certificate. We don’t know what people want. Giving everyone the same thing, whether they value it or not, is an effortless exercise showing the exact opposite of rewarding performance.

Do you want more stories and to learn about solutions?

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