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I am a firm believer of formal recognition at work, and i believe that recognition in front of peers and across departments is the best way to
motivate people. In addition to the little words of praise at much more frequent levels, in private.
Of course i have been told many a times to be conservative with my praise, for two reasons – one, it goes into people’s head and two, if i do it so
frequently, it loses its sheen. I would rather err on the side of over doing it rather than under. I believe, we dont appreciate people enough and
end up criticising or correcting more often than not.
Way back in 2005, after we launched our first hospital in Hubli, the very next month we had a Employee of the month. With about 12 employees, it was
rigged from day one. In hindsight, only i didnt realise it. So technically, we had 12 outstanding individuals who were selected by turns by our team
by polling between themselves. This went on till we increased the staff strength to about 30.
The next obvious thing was to get the hospital head to nominate someone based on performance and we carried on with it for about 12 months. And then
the futility of this entire exercise dawned on us. Favourtism, last minute nominations, repeatedly the same person getting recognised and whole range
of bad things.
So we dropped the whole Employee of the month program for good.
For about 8 months.
Till someone told me about a ambulance driver in VZM who had been a employee of the month some time ago. We used to give a cash reward of Rs.500 and
a “Employee of the Month” Certificate. Now this gentleman, had spent Rs 800 to frame his certificate and put it up at home with pride. He put 300
bucks out of his own pocket.
Rs. 800 would be roughly 15% of his salary. But this certificate was worth a lot more to him.
Wow.
The certificate of recognition, is clearly not a small thing for many of our teammates, Who go unrecognised for years. Particularly in hospitals
where doctors get all the credit, while the nurses, support staff, housekeeping staff, drivers, technicians, pharmacists and countless other folks go
about their lives and work, without a word of appreciation, forget formal recognition.
So we revived the Employee of the Month Program. And our HR team did a fantastic job i think while relaunching. This is how our program works.
All managers are allowed to nominate one of their reportees to the employee of the month award. About 6-7 managers in the hospitals(and corporate
office) get to nominate a reportee along with a couple of lines which highlight the contribution of the reportee and all the nominations are made
public to all the team members in the location. Every team member then gets to vote on the nominees. In one small twist, all kinds of favouritism is
ruled out and people only win if they have built relationships across teams or departments. On the last day of the month, the reasons for individual
nominations are read out and the winners announced.
I am proud that we have run this program for good three years now. Month after month, every hospital and the corporate office selects one of their
own and we recognise them. We then put the employee of the month pictures in our newsletter which gets circulated to 10,000+ customers and
supporters. I am sure we have slipped, here or there. And made some mistakes. But everytime i hand over a certificate to someone, i am thankful to
the ambulance driver who took pride in his work and taught us the true value of recognition. Its much more than the certificate. Or the cash prize.
Its about some one saying – You are valued here. And i dont see that as a waste of time.

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I am a firm believer of formal recognition at work, and i believe that recognition in front of peers and across departments is the best way to
motivate people. In addition to the little words of praise at much more frequent levels, in private.
Of course i have been told many a times to be conservative with my praise, for two reasons – one, it goes into people’s head and two, if i do it so
frequently, it loses its sheen. I would rather err on the side of over doing it rather than under. I believe, we dont appreciate people enough and
end up criticising or correcting more often than not.
Way back in 2005, after we launched our first hospital in Hubli, the very next month we had a Employee of the month. With about 12 employees, it was
rigged from day one. In hindsight, only i didnt realise it. So technically, we had 12 outstanding individuals who were selected by turns by our team
by polling between themselves. This went on till we increased the staff strength to about 30.
The next obvious thing was to get the hospital head to nominate someone based on performance and we carried on with it for about 12 months. And then
the futility of this entire exercise dawned on us. Favourtism, last minute nominations, repeatedly the same person getting recognised and whole range
of bad things.
So we dropped the whole Employee of the month program for good.
For about 8 months.
Till someone told me about a ambulance driver in VZM who had been a employee of the month some time ago. We used to give a cash reward of Rs.500 and
a “Employee of the Month” Certificate. Now this gentleman, had spent Rs 800 to frame his certificate and put it up at home with pride. He put 300
bucks out of his own pocket.
Rs. 800 would be roughly 15% of his salary. But this certificate was worth a lot more to him.
Wow.
The certificate of recognition, is clearly not a small thing for many of our teammates, Who go unrecognised for years. Particularly in hospitals
where doctors get all the credit, while the nurses, support staff, housekeeping staff, drivers, technicians, pharmacists and countless other folks go
about their lives and work, without a word of appreciation, forget formal recognition.
So we revived the Employee of the Month Program. And our HR team did a fantastic job i think while relaunching. This is how our program works.
All managers are allowed to nominate one of their reportees to the employee of the month award. About 6-7 managers in the hospitals(and corporate
office) get to nominate a reportee along with a couple of lines which highlight the contribution of the reportee and all the nominations are made
public to all the team members in the location. Every team member then gets to vote on the nominees. In one small twist, all kinds of favouritism is
ruled out and people only win if they have built relationships across teams or departments. On the last day of the month, the reasons for individual
nominations are read out and the winners announced.
I am proud that we have run this program for good three years now. Month after month, every hospital and the corporate office selects one of their
own and we recognise them. We then put the employee of the month pictures in our newsletter which gets circulated to 10,000+ customers and
supporters. I am sure we have slipped, here or there. And made some mistakes. But everytime i hand over a certificate to someone, i am thankful to
the ambulance driver who took pride in his work and taught us the true value of recognition. Its much more than the certificate. Or the cash prize.
Its about some one saying – You are valued here. And i dont see that as a waste of time.

Comments(4)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.