PROs and CONs of Employee Of the Month Programs

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

PROs and CONs of Employee Of the Month Programs

A common recommended and used form to increase employees’ motivation and performance is Employee-Of-the-Month (EOM). Such a strategy would boost morale through employee rewards and giving credits to excellent employees.
However, the EOM-strategy has negative sides as well; many criticize this strategy as a result. So, what are the disadvantages of an EOM-strategy? Johnson and Dickinson (2010) mention the following disadvantages of Employee-Of-the-Month programs:
1. EOM-rewards are only based on results: By only considering the final results, EOM-incentives neglect the ways in which the results are achieved. As a result, employees will be encouraged to get engaged in unethical and unacceptable behavior so as to achieve the best results.
2. Unclear conditions: Another criticism is the lack of clarity of the conditions needed to become EOM. Employees do barely know what specific actions they need to take to become EOM and are therefore unable and unmotivated to take the right actions and make the right decisions.
3. The winner takes it all: EOM has a typical winner-takes-all construction. So, even if there is only a small performance difference between the best employee and the other employees, only the best employee will be rewarded. This is likely to lead to decreased motivation to become EOM, at least in the long run.
4. Non-referenced evaluation: Evaluations of EOM are often norm-referenced, which means that EOM is chosen by comparing the employees with each other without having a set of pre-defined criteria. This type of evaluation can lead to unhealthy competition that may turn out to have negative outcomes for the organization.

⇒ What are your experiences with EOM programs?

Source: Douglas A. Johnson and Alyce M. Dickinson (2010) “ Employee-of-the-Month Programs: Do They Really Work? “ Journal of Organizational Behavior Management Vol. 30 Iss. 4 pp. 308-324

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