There is an old adage that says “it is better to give than to receive”. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. As a matter of fact, it is a desirable practice.
Based on human nature, the assumption can be made that the average person would prefer to be on the receiving end. In the workplace it is always a noble gesture to either reward or recognise the contribution of employees. This is a classic instance in which the employee is at the receiving end.
For the most part, it is reasonable to argue that those employees whose efforts are recognised would have in fact given to their organisation in a meaningful or productive way. There is an expectation on the part of every employee that their efforts should be recognised.
Some however fail to appreciate that they first ought to make a meaningful contribution or to demonstrate by way of performance and/or work ethic that they are worthy of receiving the highest accolades. The list of things for which an employee may be recognized is extensive. It may include being punctual, good or perfect attendance and for being cooperative.
The workplace is an environment where the collective efforts of each individual matters. It is therefore shortsighted if individuals were to place themselves first, by directing their efforts simply towards eligibility for the individual recognition.
On the other side of the coin, is the fact that the individual has a responsibility to him or herself to maintain the standards they set for themselves. They also have to balance this by respecting and observing those standards the organisation sets and expects each employee to follow.
The assumption is often made that employees prefer rewards over recognition from their employers. This may be true in some cases but it may be dismissed by those who do not feel comfortable in their job because of the attitude and treatment meted out by the employer.
In such cases persons would welcome to have their contribution recognized and appreciated, for monetary incentives may or may not make a difference to their performance and the commitment to what they do.
Employers should recognise that there is nothing wrong with recognising exemplary work. Instead of taking things for granted, employers should use the medium of recognition to demonstrate that they value their employees.
It is well known that value of many employees to the organisation is tied to the ideas that they contribute. The recognition of an individual as a value team member can serve to motivate others.
It is gratifying that the Ministry of Labour has taken the lead through the GIVE Awards Programme in recognising the work, contributions and efforts of public officers. Those who will be suitably recognised at the Give Awards Ceremony on March 24 at the Hilton Barbados are deserving of the congratulations extended to them.
At all levels in Barbados, it would be good if a culture of recognition is encouraged and promoted. There is nothing wrong with giving credit and recognition where it is due. It is basically an injustice not to recognise the contribution of others; as it serves to promote a defeatist, negative and uncooperative attitude.
It is not to be ruled out that a culture of selfishness underpins the behaviour of those who do not place any significance on acknowledging the contributions of others. Not only is this practice unhealthy, but it does nothing to advance the development of the society.
At a time of economic gloom and doom, where the negative impact is being felt by both employer and employee, the workforce could well be motivated to strive for excellence, to be creative, innovative and more productive; should employers take the time to recognise and compliment them on their efforts and commitment.
* Dennis De Peiza is a Labour Management Consultant with Regional Management Services Inc.
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